It seems like the subscription model — something we're are far more used to when it comes to software, as opposed to hardware — is becoming more and more popular in the automotive space in recent years. Adding an extra feature like heated seats, or improving the performance of your vehicle, meant configuring it as such at the dealership or going to a service center after the fact. Nowadays, things are done differently.
Between Tesla offering a $2,000 Acceleration Boost or a Full Self Driving software subscription, and KTM and BMW taking it one step further with a subscription service that merely unlocks pre-installed hardware that would otherwise be locked behind a paywall, the subscription and pay-to-use model is becoming alarmingly ubiquitous. At least Toyota's Remote Connect and Chevrolet's Remote Access have multiple-year trial periods before you have to start paying to use the features.
With Acceleration Increase, Mercedes-Benz is the latest in a long line of vehicle manufacturers to ask customers to pay to access performance and features that the hardware is already capable of.
Increased acceleration, but at what cost?
In this case, Mercedes-Benz is selling owners of its all-electric EQ lineup a subscription to increase the maximum power output of the on-board electric motors. According to the Acceleration Increase store page, the models in the EQ lineup that are eligible for the upgrade are the EQE 350 4MATIC, EQS SUV 350 4MATIC, EQS 450 4MATIC, and EQS SUV 450 4MATIC, and it will come in at a cost of $1,200 per year, excluding tax. The automaker claims that the upgrade increases performance by applying performance tuning to the motors that increases both the power and torque output the motors are capable of.
According to Mercedes-Benz, claimed performance increases range from an additional 35 kW in the EQE 350 and EQE SUV 350 (from 215 kW to 260 kW), to an additional 65 kW in the EQS 450 and EQS SUV 450 (from 265 kW to 330 kW). The increased power and torque result in a fairly substantial increase in off-the-line performance, with Mercedes-Benz claiming that the 0-60 mph times will decrease by anything from 0.8 seconds to 1 second, with the EQS 450 4MATIC's 0-60 time coming down to just 4.5 seconds.
Since the news broke, internet users have not reacted kindly, with many users on Reddit expressing a mixture of disappointment and outrage at the decision.