Mercedes to Charge $1,200 Per Year for EV ‘Acceleration Increase’

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(Photo: Mercedes-Benz)
Remember when luxury automakers—or, ahem, one in particular—began charging customers extra to enjoy features their vehicles already had? Well, Mercedes-Benz is joining the club. The company has begun offering an “acceleration increase” subscription to electric vehicle owners for the cool price of $1,200 per year.

The subscription package applies only to the Mercedes-EQ EQE and EQS all-electric models. The EQE, which will be available both as a sedan and an SUV come 2023, will receive a maximum motor output boost of 45 kW for a total of 260 kW. The EQE 350 sedan will go from zero to 60 in 5.1 seconds (up from 6.0) while the EQE 350 SUV will take about 5.2 seconds (up from 6.2). The EQS, which will also come as a sedan and an SUV next year, will get an output increase of 65 kW for a total of 330 kW. The EQS 450 and EQS 450 SUV will reach 60 miles per hour in 4.5 and 4.9 seconds respectively (up from 5.3 and 5.8).

The Acceleration Increase package represents Mercedes’ step into a controversial practice: charging customers on a subscription basis for features their cars already possess. BMW kicked off the trend earlier this year when it added heated steering wheels, high beam assistant, and other features to its South Korea, Germany, New Zealand, South Africa, and UK subscription sales pages. Tesla announced shortly after that it would begin requiring customers to pay for navigation following the first eight years of ownership.

(Image: Mercedes-Benz)

Outside of automakers’ corporate offices, few people appear to actually like this model. Following Tesla’s announcement, two New Jersey legislators introduced a bill that would make it illegal for manufacturers to offer subscriptions on pre-installed hardware. We’re also not the only news outlet that immediately scorned BMW for charging drivers $18 per month to use their own heated seats. People, it seems, would like to have free access to the technology they’ve already spent thousands of dollars on.

In Mercedes’ case (and likely in others we’ve mentioned) it doesn’t appear as though dealers or mechanics have to actually get their hands on a car to provide a subscription-based add-on. Instead, extra torque is unlocked via over-the-air updates, which magically make it possible for someone’s $70,000-plus vehicle to accelerate as fast as it technically already could.

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