author_name|Jon Fingas Autos language|en-US provider_name|Engadget region|US site|engadget Transportation

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

Tesla isn’t the only car brand that asks you to pay extra to unlock your car’s current capabilities. Aspect Boundary observationsowned by Mercedes introduced an annual $1,200 “Acceleration Boost” subscription that improves the performance of the EQE and EQS in standard sedan and SUV variants. Pay the annual fee and your 0-60MPH time will improve by 0.8 to 1 second thanks to higher peak engine output and increased torque.

Mercedes was quick to explain that this is definitely a software change. In other words, you’re paying to get the performance your car can already handle. While you’re still getting more value out of BMW’s $18 a month heated seats, it’s a strange move that these cars are already expensive and have faster models that only require a one-time expense. Why buy an EQS 450 with acceleration when the EQS 580 will be faster and have more creature comforts?

The German automaker isn’t the first to charge extra for added performance. Tesla has long asked its customers to pay for the most advanced driver assistance. For a time, it also took a premium from entry Model S buyers to unlock battery capacity. And if you’re more inclined towards motorcycles, the Zero 2022 SR is asking about $1,800 to maximize its power. The difference, of course, is that these are one-time purchases that Mercedes wants you to keep paying for the life of the car.

The business strategy is clear. As with the general shift of the tech world to subscription services, Mercedes hopes for a steady stream of revenue from customers who may spend little beyond the initial purchase. Acceleration Boost is definitely more profitable than periodic navigation updates and maintenance. But unlike them, there are no recurring costs to help justify the existence of a power increase.

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