Mercedes-Benz is introducing a new 'acceleration fee' to make some cars faster – The Indian Express

Imagine buying a product at full price and then having to pay annually for one of its key components to operate at full capacity. That is exactly what Mercedes-Benz is doing with its customers in the US, who will have to pay an annual subscription fee in order to allowing the company’s electric vehicles to accelerate faster.
As per a report by BBC, Mercedes has confirmed that it will be charging users a sum of $1200 (about Rs 97,878) every year for its cars to be faster. The fee would allow users to accelerate faster and reduce the time required for the car to go from 0 to 60 mph by a second. With the feature, the Mercedes-Benz EQ EQE 350 and EQS 450 will accelerate from 0-60mph in 5.2 seconds instead of 6.2 seconds. Mercedes has not announced when the feature will go live.
This is not the first time that car manufacturers are implementing software-based locks for features, unless users pay an additional fee. As the report notes, car-maker BMW has also introduced a subscription model for heated seats in its car. Meanwhile, Toyota announced it would charge customers $8 (about Rs 652) per month to enable a feature that lets them start their cars remotely without a key. Elon Musk’s Tesla also has a one-time paid feature since 2019 for the Model 3 that allows the car to accelerate half-a-second faster.
The one thing common between all these car manufacturer decisions – these are all software blocks on abilities that the car is otherwise already capable of doing.
Subscription models are not all that bad. There are services where the subscription model is necessary. When you pay a monthly fee for your phone service, you’re paying for the maintenance of all the cellular towers and other components involved in keeping the network running. Similarly, when you pay for Netflix or some other OTT platform, you pay for the continuous creation and addition (or both) of new content. The same logic works for your gas bill, water bill and other subscription models that you probably have been a part of for years.
However, features like faster acceleration and heated seats are powered by the addition or software-modification of specific components which are already present in the car. When you buy the car you already have paid for the said component and hence, the features that come with it.
Since the components used in the car to provide heated seats and quicker speeds are a one-time addition from the company, it is unfair that customers have to pay additional money. Many people have spoken up against the Mercedes ‘feature’ and consumer backlash on a subscription model on what should be one-time purchases is also rising since the move.
Can we please stop with subscriptions for everything. I just want to buy a thing, have it be the finished product and use it how I want(within all normal human and logical reason). Is that too much to ask?
— Evan (@rollingsevans) November 23, 2022
I feel like the law should be that a company doesn’t have to provide free software, but if you own the hardware, then you own the hardware. if they want to charge for the accompanying software they should have to at least give you the option to install your own.
— jack (@jack74698835) November 23, 2022
A bill in New Jersey, USA is already seeking to ban subscriptions on car-services that rely on hardware that is already a part of the vehicle during purchase. While it hasn’t been passed as a law yet, the fact that such a bill exists does show that people are unhappy with the subscription business model coming to automobiles.
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