Like it or not, we are at the dawn of an era in the auto industry where automakers would offer certain services and functions on a subscription basis. It’s hard to accept the idea that your new vehicle has locked functions or more power hidden under a paywall, but the truth is that companies like Mercedes-Benz already offer subscription programs for some of their electric vehicles. It turns out that BMW is not going to follow the same path but the reasons for this decision are purely economic.
BMW’s head of technical development, Frank Weber, speaks during a media roundtable at the ongoing 2023 Consumer Electronics Show. Weber insists BMW has no intention of offering over-the-air performance upgrades for its future electric vehicles (at least for now) but in general, the company sees no problem in doing so. The problem stems from the fact that if you change the power figure of an already sold model, you must report this change to the authorities, BMW blog report.
So, simply put, BMW doesn’t want to spend too much time and money doing this process every time it upgrades an electric vehicle. If we try to read between the lines, it is possible that the revenue generated from subscription fees will not be sufficient to cover the costs generated by the technical regulations. If a solution is not found in the future to make this process faster and cheaper, the power output of your BMW EV will always remain unchanged from the automaker.
We’ll have to wait for further action from Mercedes-Benz, which recently announced a $1,200 annual subscription to make certain EQ models more powerful. The program is currently only available in the United States as the automaker faces “legal issues” preventing it from launching subscriptions in Europe. Whether the people of Stuttgart have to deal with the same statutory issues we don’t know, but we can only hope that Mercedes will also ditch the subscription-based power upgrades like BMW.