Mercedes-Benz Gives Older Cars a Chance to Feel Newer with Add-On Tech

The Mercedes Me Adapter lets drivers check fuel levels and other data from their smartphones.

Mercedes-Benz

Many new cars allow owners to check maintenance schedules or simply find their cars in a crowded parking lot using smartphone apps. Mercedes-Benz thinks drivers of some of its older models may want these features as well, so it's launching a device called the Me Adapter to add connected features to those cars.

The Me Adapter works with certain Mercedes models going as far back as 2002. Once installed, it can connect to a smartphone and allow owners to monitor things like fuel level and range, battery voltage, and how long a car has been parked. It also records where a car is parked, so owners don't lose track of it, and sends reminders when scheduled maintenance is needed.

The companion smartphone app can also record the distance driven and route taken on previous trips. Users can schedule servicing at Mercedes dealers through the app, and call roadside assistance. Overall, the Me Adapter is similar in concept to the FordPass SmartLink device, which adds connected features to the Blue Oval's older models. The Ford device also enables onboard Wi-Fi, which isn't available from Mercedes.

Mercedes will offer the Me Adapter free of charge initially, including installation. The automaker will begin charging for it at some point, but will not discuss pricing at this time. 

For reference, Ford charges $16.99 per month for the features enabled by its FordPass SmartLink, plus installation costs for the device itself. While the Mercedes Me Adapter is already available in Europe, the automaker hasn't specifically mentioned plans to offer it in the United States.