Last year, BMW announced plans to charge a $18 per month subscription for heated seats. Now, Mercedes is considering making better EV engine performance an added subscription surcharge. “Mercedes-Benz electric vehicle owners in North America who want a little more power and speed can now buy 60 horsepower for just $60 a month or, on other models, 80 horsepower for $90 a month,” reports CNN. “They won’t have to visit a Mercedes dealer to get the upgrade either, or even leave their own driveway. The added power, which will provide a nearly one second decrease in zero-to-60 acceleration, will be available through an over-the-air software patch.” Techdirt reports:
If you don’t want to pay monthly, Mercedes will also let you pay a one time flat fee (usually several thousand dollars) to remove the artificial restrictions they’ve imposed on your engine. That’s, of course, creating additional upward pricing funnel efforts on top of the industry’s existing efforts to upsell you on a rotating crop of trims, tiers, and options you probably didn’t want.
It’s not really clear that regulators have any interest in cracking down on charging dumb people extra for something they already owned and paid for. After all, ripping off gullible consumers is effectively now considered little more than creative marketing by a notable segment of government “leaders” (see: regulatory apathy over misleading hidden fees in everything from hotels to cable TV).