Mercedes-Benz has locked the full performance of some electric vehicles behind a paywall that costs $1,200 a year. The company claims that the “Acceleration Increase” will “unleash enhanced performance” of its Mercedes-EQ EQE and Mercedes-EQ EQS vehicles, but it has also been criticized by many.
The cars in question go for between £74,350 and £161,860 ($89,817 to $195,929). The Acceleration Increase subscription, which the company says is “COMING SOON”, will allow the vehicles to go from 0 to 60 miles per hour slightly faster, by around 1 second.
This is reportedly going to be available in the US, with Mercedes telling the BBC it will not be introduced in the UK.
The company claims that “Acceleration Increase boosts this performance even further: electronically increasing the motor’s output also increases the torque significantly,” and “Fine tuning of the electric motors increases the maximum motor output [kilowatts] of your Mercedes-EQ by 20 to 24 percent, depending on the original output from factory. The torque is also increased, enabling your vehicle to accelerate noticeably faster and more powerfully.”
However, many people have pointed out that as this is a software rather than a hardware upgrade, the cars already have the physical capability to achieve their full potential, so it appears that they are essentially being intentionally weakened to encourage consumers to pay more.
This move follows a similar one by Tesla, who implemented a $2,000 “Acceleration Boost” upgrade in-app that shaved time off the 0 to 60 of some vehicles that was eventually bypassed by hackers and reportedly scrapped for some vehicles.