Like it or not, we are at the beginning of an era in the automotive industry in which automakers will offer certain services and functions on subscription. It is very difficult to accept the idea that your new vehicle has locked functions or more power hidden under a paywall but the reality is that companies like Mercedes-Benz already offer subscription programs for some of their electric vehicles. It turns out BMW won’t follow the same path but the reason for this decision is purely economical.
BMW’s head of technical development, Frank Weber, spoke during a media roundtable at the ongoing 2023 Consumer Electronics Show. Weber confirmed BMW has no intentions to offer over-the-air performance upgrades for its future electric vehicles (at least for now) but in general, the company sees no issues in doing so. The problem comes from the fact that if you change the power figures of a model that is already on sale, you have to report these changes to the regulatory authorities, BMW Blog reports.
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So, simply put, BMW doesn’t want to spend too much time and money in going over this process every time it upgrades an electric vehicle. If we try to read between the lines, perhaps the income generated by subscription fees won’t be enough to cover the expenses generated by the technical regulations. If a solution isn’t found in the future to make this process faster and less costly, the power output of your BMW EV will always remain unchanged from the automaker.
We’ll have to wait for further actions from Mercedes-Benz, which recently announced a $1,200 annual subscription to make certain EQ models more powerful. That program is currently only available in the United States as the automaker is facing “legal matters” preventing it from launching the subscription in Europe. Whether the folks from Stuttgart have to deal with the same legislation issues, we don’t know, but we can only hope that Mercedes will also abandon its subscription-based power upgrades like BMW.