There’s been some controversy in the automotive industry over subscriptions. Normally, a car’s equipment and capabilities is fixed from the factory. Want an upgrade? That historically has involved getting a physical part or parts installed, for a fee. You can go to a stereo shop and get some decent speakers and a head unit. You can go to a performance shop and get better engine, transmission, or suspension parts. But, the better things weren’t there to begin with, and you only pay for what you get added to the car.
But, some automakers have decided to do something a little sneaky. Instead of keeping the better bells and whistles out of the car unless you pay more at the time of sale, they decided to start giving everybody the good stuff. BMW, for example, includes things like heated seats and Android Auto capability, but created a public uproar when it decided to try to charge people a monthly fee to actually use them. Most recently, BMW decided to pull this stunt in South Korea.
In some ways, this idea isn’t too far out in left field. Automakers have long charged an extra monthly fee for things like OnStar and other connectivity/infotainment services. They’ve even charged crazy amounts for updates to navigation software every year so you could have the latest maps.
But, the key difference here is that the automaker and their partners have been offering a service that costs something to keep providing. OnStar uses cellular networks that didn’t sprout into being spontaneously, as well as call centers for people to help you. Mapping updates requires collecting and curating that map data every year. So, even if the prices can be a little out of hand, there’s a reasonable justification and not just naked greed.
But, Mercedes-Benz saw all this and recently said, “Hold muh beer!”
Instead of charging a small monthly fee for luxury features in its electric vehicles, Mercedes has decided that it was a good idea to restrict the capabilities of a core automotive feature and only unlock it for a fee.
Mercedes-Benz says the electric motors in Mercedes-EQs can be fine-tuned by a software update for increased power (kW) output by 20% to 24%, depending on the original factory output. This also increases torque, so that your vehicle accelerates noticeably faster and with more power. 0 to 60 MPH acceleration times are shortened by around 0.8 to 0.9 seconds in all DYNAMIC SELECT drive programs.
Do you need to get an upgraded battery, cooling system, or anything else? Nope. Just pay Mercedes-Benz $1,200 and you can go a little faster than your golfing buddies. Oh, and don’t forget to save your pocket change up because you’ll need to pay the $1,200 again this time next year if you want to keep the extra power.
The extra power and reduced 0-60 times vary depending on what model and variant of Mercedes-Benz EV you bought, but if you’re curious about paying an extra $12,000 for a decade of better acceleration, you can find all of the details here.
Featured image: “The Village Politicians” by John L. Krimmel, 1819 painting that’s commonly used as an internet meme these days. (Fair Use)
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