BMW was heavily criticized last year when it introduced a subscription plan for heated seats. To the Bavarian brand's defense, there was some initial confusion as many people believed they'd have to pay twice for the same feature – first when buying the car and then for the subscription itself. However, that's not the case as a vehicle ordered with heated seats has the feature activated permanently from day one.
On the other hand, getting the subscription is all about removing a paywall through software since the hardware necessary to heat the seat is already installed from the factory. BMW rival Volvo won't be going down that road as the company's Chief Operating Officer Björn Annwall told Bloomberg a subscription for heated seats is not planned: "We will not ask people who have bought a car for 1 million kronor [$95,000] to pay another 10 kronor [$1] to get extra heat in the seat."
He went on to argue charging money post-purchase for a feature makes sense only for major upgrades, mentioning a hands-free, self-driving system would be one of them. Mercedes sees things differently by recently launching a $1,200 yearly subscription plan to unlock extra power for some of its electric vehicles. Available for the EQE 350 and EQS 450 in sedan and SUV body styles, it shaves off up to 0.9 seconds from the 0-60 mph sprint. For the time being, the three-pointed star says it's not possible to offer this upgrade in Europe due to legal constraints.
While Volvo is not jumping on the subscription bandwagon just yet, another member of the Geely family is looking to make some extra money after selling a car. Originally launched in Europe at the end of 2021, an over-the-air update for the Polestar 2 adds 68 horsepower for $1,195 to cut 0.3 seconds from the 0-60 mph sprint time. It's not a subscription since buyers only pay once to receive the additional oomph permanently.