In November, we reported Mercedes-Benz was offering over-the-air performance subscription upgrades for its EQ electric car models that could add up to 80 hp for $1,200 per year. Now, Mercedes-Benz says the upgrades are available to owners in North America but apparently at a lower cost than we saw in November with other terms available.
Mercedes announced Wednesday that its EQE sedan and SUV, and its EQS sedan and SUV could receive the update for a yearly fee of $600 or $900, respectively. That's lower than the $1,200 per year it initially offered the upgrade for. Additionally, owners could pay $60 or $90 monthly for the EQE or EQS, or pay a lifetime upgrade fee of $1,950 or $2,950.
A Mercedes spokesperson told us that despite the availability of the acceleration increase appearing in November, no one was allowed to purchase the upgrade. We asked if the initial availability and price appearing in November were an error. We'll update this story if we hear back.
Subscription fees for already-installed hardware have been a hot-button issue for some automakers like BMW, which announced it would offer in-car subscriptions for features such as heated seats. Those upgrades are available in other markets, but BMW said for North American buyers, features installed on the car at the time of purchase would remain active throughout the life of the car, and owners interested in trying out heated seats or additional camera functions could do so via subscriptions. In Mercedes’ case, it appears the electric motors can produce more power from the factory but require unlocking to enable those functions. Mercedes also said turning up the wick on the motors wouldn’t impact the driving range.
Though in-car subscriptions are still relatively rare, it’s a trend that’s likely to continue in more cars—especially electric cars. Revenue lost on aftersales and service for internal combustion cars won't be taken sitting down by automakers and may be recouped by these subscriptions or other means. Just please don’t microtransact me into the sun, please.
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