Mercedes-Benz Facing BEV Performance Boost Backlash

Mercedes-Benz is facing a consumer backlash after announcing a performance boosting upgrade for its premium BEVs in the US on an annual subscription basis.

The plan, which echoes Tesla’s “Acceleration Boost” for its Model 3, involves an annual fee of $1,200, excluding tax, to enable some of its BEVs to accelerate from 0-60mph a second quicker, reports the BBC. This compares to Tesla’s upgrade, introduced in 2019, which claims to boost acceleration from 0-60mph half a second faster for a one-off payment of $2,000.

So far, Mercedes’s upgrade will only be available for purchase in the US on the Mercedes-EQ EQE 350 and EQS 450 vehicles, as well as their SUV counterparts. The boost is said to increase both power output and torque. The automaker estimates this amounts to a 20-24% increase in output, allowing a Mercedes-EQ 350 SUV to accelerate from 0-60mph in about 5.2 seconds, as opposed to 6.2 seconds without the subscription.

While the automaker says the upgrade will not be offering in the UK market, the BBC reports that Jack McKeown, Association of Scottish Motoring Writers president was quick to condemn the principal adding Mercedes’s new feature was “unsurprising but dispiriting”. He said: “When you pay a monthly subscription for a phone or for broadband, you’re paying for the company to supply and maintain a data network. Mercedes is asking you to pay for hardware it has already installed in the car and which it, presumably, already made a profit margin on when you bought the car. Trying to leverage even more profit out of subscription services is a worrying trend and I hope there is a consumer backlash against it.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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