Mercedes-Benz has become the latest auto manufacturer to start minimizing the sale of gas- and diesel-powered vehicles. Mercedes said on Thursday that it expects plug-in hybrid and battery-electric vehicles to account for 50% of its global volume by 2025, double the target they originally announced two years ago.
Mercedes-Benz is also taking subscription fees to a new level; they are asking their EV vehicle customers to pay $1200 (plus tax) yearly to unlock the full potential of their cars. If you head to Mercedes’ online store, you will find an “Acceleration Increase” subscription service for all EQ models. According to Mercedes, the yearly fee increases the maximum horsepower and torque of the car while also increasing overall performance. Acceleration from 0 to 60 mph is said to improve by 0.8–1.0 seconds, and the overall characteristics of the electric motors are supposed to change as well.
This news came a few months before BMW faced backlash for offering subscriptions for certain options, like heated seats. BMW North America faced so much public criticism that it even released a statement defending the subscription option.
Subscription fees make sense for certain cloud-based options, but the EVs are already capable of extra power and performance. It’s unclear how popular these sorts of subscription options will be. Will customers really pay the equivalent of an extra monthly payment every year just to shave one second off their 0-60 time? Who knows, maybe Mercedes proves doubters wrong and EQ customers gladly pay up for the extra performance, but these sorts of subscription services just feel like gross and dishonest ways for brands to squeeze even more money out of their customers.
According to Mercedes, the $1200 yearly subscription will give their customers enhanced performance, a noticeable improvement in the acceleration of 0.8 to 1.0 seconds (0–60 MPH), adjustment of the motor characteristic curve, torque, and maximum output, and increased acceleration available irrespective of the Dynamic Select drive program.