Love them or hate them, subscriptions are here to stay in the automotive industry. They create a new revenue stream by putting certain features behind a paywall. Usually, you can either pay a fee to get access to a certain feature for a limited time, or buy it outright. Having to pay extra for something your car is already equipped with (and has been deliberately blocked) is hard to swallow.
Mercedes came under fire in mid-July 2021 for charging the equivalent of €489 a year in Germany for the EQS’s advanced rear wheel steering system. Standard in the United States, the technology allows the rear wheels to turn up to 10 degrees instead of the usual 4.5 degrees. When the three-pointed star announced a new subscription plan to unlock more power for EQ models in the US, we figured it would only be a matter of time before EV owners in the European specifications are allowed to do the same.
It turns out that this type of subscription – which costs $1,200 per year for certain EQE and EQS sedan and SUV models – will not be available on the Old Continent, at least not for the time being. The Dutch edition of Top of the line magazine spoke to a spokesperson for the local Mercedes subsidiary about the sensitive topic.
There are “legal issues” preventing the luxury brand from offering an over-the-air update that would unleash electric motors. The company official refrained from going into further details, but it appears there are legal hurdles he must overcome to make this possible.
It’s worth pointing out that the Polestar 2 received a performance software upgrade late last year. It boosted the electric motors from 408 to 476 horsepower (300 to 350 kilowatts) and 660 to 680 Newton-meters (485 to 500 pound-feet) of torque. It also comes with a launch control feature and revised pedal mapping for faster response.
However, this was not introduced as a monthly or yearly subscription, but rather as a one-time upgrade to permanently have the extra oomph.