Meet the Acceleration Increase...service.
BMW caused an outcry by introducing a subscription plan for heated seats earlier this year. Mercedes appears to be planning to raise that by an order of magnitude or two. The Drive uncovered an “Acceleration Increase” service on Mercedes’s website that is coming soon for its EQ electric vehicles.
As the name suggests, Acceleration Increase is a performance enhancer to increase the vehicle’s acceleration. Mercedes says it improves the major characteristic curve and torque while improving the maximum output from the motors by 20-24%. Those tweaks cut the acceleration time from 0-60 mph by about 0.8 or 0.9 seconds.
The Acceleration Increase is a $1,200/year subscription plan. It will be available for the Mercedes EQE 350 4Matic, EQE SUV 350 4Matic, EQS 450 4Matic and EQS SUV 450 4Matic models.
Mercedes’s move is part of a broader trend of car companies selling hardware re-positioning themselves as tech companies selling software. In that framing, the buyer becomes the user paying for services and generating a continuous revenue stream.
In theory, the Acceleration Increase service could benefit the Mercedes owner. Getting a 20-24% more powerful Mercedes would typically cost more than $1,200. And buyers could realize they seldom, if ever, perform 0-60 mph runs in real life and cancel the service. But the counterpoint is that the value obtained by paying for the Acceleration Increase would not be transferrable when you sell the car.
Will these subscription plans be an inevitable part of a dystopian automotive future? Maybe not. What car companies are attempting is a bit different than tech companies.
When you buy an iPhone, you pay your cellular provider to use the data network they maintain. Apple may charge a monthly fee to store your photos on their iCloud network. But Apple doesn’t charge a monthly fee to unlock the full processing power and speed of the hardware it just sold you, which is what Mercedes and BMW, to a lesser extent with the heated seats, are trying to do. That distinction could leave car subscriptions vulnerable to future legislation.
Keyword: Mercedes Wants to Charge Buyers Subscription Fees to Go Fast