We often microtransactions in today’s business, especially in games or other virtual goods. While we all thought that the practice would stop there, Mercedes-Benz has recently introduced an online subscription service to make its electric cars speed up quicker.
According to the Mercedes US online store, the acceleration feature would be available for the Mercedes-EQ EQE and Mercedes-EQ EQS electric car models.
Essentially, how this works is that the ‘Acceleration Increase’ feature will be locked behind a paywall, which you can only access by paying an annual fee of USD 1,200 (≈RM5,408). Upon payment, the feature will “electronically increases” the output of the car’s motor, as well as the torque.
It is also estimated 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.
Meanwhile, Mercedes is not the first automotive company to introduce such microtransactions.
Earlier, BMW introduced a heated seat subscriptions at USD18 (≈RM81.20) a month despite such features were already installed in the car.
Gross and dishonest
However, this news was not well received by consumers, with many criticising Mercedes for hiding the feature behind a paywall although the hardware has already installed in the car.
Speaking to BBC, Jack McKeown, Association of Scottish Motoring Writers president and motoring editor of the Courier newspaper, in Dundee, said Mercedes’s new feature was “unsurprising but dispiriting”.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
Meanwhile, YouTube’s most-followed tech reviewer Marques Brownlee has also expressed his opinion on this and tweeted, “Microtransactions have come to destroy everything we enjoy”.
What do you think about this? Share your thoughts!