Paying a subscription fee to unlock certain items of equipment is something that, despite the damage it does to the consumer, is becoming increasingly popular. Just a few days ago, Mercedes announced that in its most modern electric cars, the EQS and EQE, it will be possible to unlock extra power in exchange for a monthly or annual subscription. It will begin to offer it in the United States but in Europe, it seems that it has encountered legal problems.
Imagine that your car leaves the factory with all the necessary pieces of equipment but some of them are useless unless you pay a subscription. In the price of your car you have paid for the heated seat resistors, but they can only be activated if you pay a subscription; you have implicitly paid for very advanced headlights but they will only be adaptive if you pay a separate fee. You can even take all the cameras, radars, and sensors available on the model, but autonomous driving will only work if you pay again, or only during road trips (as Volkswagen wants to do).
Mercedes itself already offers subscription equipment such as the EQS rear steering wheels, which only turn to the maximum (10º) if you pay an annual subscription of 489 euros. The hardware comes standard, but a few lines of code limit its operation. And now it wants to do something similar with the power of its electric cars, but in Europe, it has run into a legal obstacle.
As a spokesman for Mercedes Netherlands has declared to the Dutch edition of TopGear, Mercedes-Benz will not offer subscriptions in Europe to add more power to its electric cars due to “legal issues”. Since Mercedes they have not added more details but adding more power (and better features) in exchange for a subscription poses legal obstacles in Europe.
In the United States, for $100 a month or $1,200 a year, Mercedes offers the possibility of increasing the power of the EQE 350 4Matic from 290 to 350 CV, and from 355 to 445 CV in the case of the EQS 450 4Matic. This power gain also entails, logically, better acceleration. Mercedes ensures that the maximum torque is also increased “notably”, although it does not specify how much.
Historically, German brands such as Mercedes, BMW, or Audi have offered performance packages with which, for example, the maximum speed limit was increased from 250 km/h to 280 or 300 km/h. However, it was a benefit for life and after a single payment.
Polestar also offers a performance upgrade for the Polestar 2 via the Performance Software Update. This upgrade is available as part of the Performance package (which also includes specific equipment such as Brembo brakes, 20″ forged wheels, and Öhlins Dual Flow Valve shocks) or as an OTA upgrade for any Polestar 2 Long range Dual engine. Increases power by 300 kW (408 PS) to 350 kW (476 PS) and torque from 660 to 680 Nm, and also improves throttle response. However, this Polestar upgrade does not require a subscription but a single payment that makes it available forever in the car.