Mercedes’ new EV innovation is a paywall for your car’s performance

Tesla isn’t the only car brand asking you to pay extra to unlock your car’s existing capabilities. As The edge observeshas Mercedes introduced a $1,200 per year “Acceleration Enhance” subscription that improves the performance of the EQE and EQS in their standard sedan and SUV variants. Pay the annual fee and your 0-100 km/h time will improve by 0.8 to 1 second thanks to increased engine peak power and torque.

Mercedes is quick to explain that this is strictly a software change. In other words, you pay to get performance that your car can already handle. While you still get more value than BMW’s $18-a-month heated seats, it’s an odd move when these cars are already expensive and have faster models that only require a one-time outlay. Why buy an EQS 450 with the acceleration add-on when an EQS 580 is faster and offers more comfort?

The German car manufacturer is not the first to charge extra for extra performance. Tesla has long asked customers to pay for the most advanced driver assistance systems. For a while, it also charged first-time Model S buyers a premium to unlock battery capacity. And if you’re more inclined towards motorcycles, Zero charges nearly $1,800 to max out the 2022 SR’s power output. The difference, of course, is that those are still one-off purchases where Mercedes wants you to continue paying for the life of the car.

The business strategy is clear. As with the tech world’s general shift to subscription services, Mercedes is hoping for a steady stream of revenue from customers who might otherwise spend little after the initial purchase. Acceleration boost is definitely more lucrative than periodic navigation updates and maintenance. However, unlike those, there are no recurring costs to justify the existence of the power boost.

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