Love them or hate them, the regulars exist in the auto industry. They create new revenue streams by placing certain features behind a paywall. Usually, you can pay a fee to have access to certain functions for a limited time or buy them outright. Having to pay extra for something your car already comes with (and purposely blocks) is hard to accept.
Mercedes was criticized in mid-July 2021 for charging the equivalent of €489 per year in Germany for the EQS advanced rear-wheel steering system. As standard in the United States, the technology allows the rear wheels to steer up to 10 degrees instead of the usual 4.5 degrees. When the three-pointed star announced new subscription plans to unlock more power for EQ models in the US, we thought it was only a matter of time before European-spec electric vehicle owners were allowed to do the same.
As it turns out, this type of subscription – which costs $1,200 per year for select EQE and EQS sedan and SUV models – won’t be available on the Old Continent, at least for now. Dutch Edition Upper Equipment magazine spoke with a spokesperson from the local Mercedes branch about this sensitive topic.
There are “legal issues” preventing the luxury brand from offering over-the-air updates that would limit electric motors. Company officials refrained from elaborating further, but it appears there are legal hurdles that need to be overcome to make that possible.
It should be noted that the Polestar 2 received a Performance Software Upgrade at the end of last year. That bumps the electric motor from 408 to 476 horsepower (300 to 350 kilowatts) and from 660 to 680 Newton-meters (485 to 500 pound-feet) of torque. It also comes bundled with revised launch control and pedal mapping functions for quicker response.
However, it is not introduced as a monthly or yearly subscription, but rather as a one-time upgrade to get the extra power permanently.