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Volvo will limit software subscriptions to major upgrades


In an effort to increase revenue, some automakers have begun offering features through subscriptions. Once registration is done, owners can usually unlock features through the software using the app.

Mercedes-Benz recently began offering a $1,200 annual subscription to US owners of certain EQ badged electric vehicles. to unlock maximum performance. BMW in some markets has even implemented features like Hot seats available through subscription.

Volvo pioneering the subscription model as an alternative to buying or renting a car, is also considering subscribing to features, but only for important items.

The information was confirmed by Björn Annwall, COO of Volvo, in an interview with Bloomberg published last week.

“If you charge for software updates, that has to be a step change for the benefit of consumers,” he said.

Annwall gave the example of self-driving mode as the kind of feature that Volvo might charge a subscription fee for. Volvo has announced a Self-driving feature called Ride Pilot, will allow true hand-held, sightless travel on certain highways. The timing for the Ride Pilot is unclear, although the first market that has been confirmed is California.

Not everyone is interested in the idea that subscriptions are required for features, especially since they are already built into the vehicle and require only software to unlock. Two members of the New Jersey General Assembly, Paul Moriarty and Joe Danielsen, in September Introduce bill number 4519 intended to make it illegal for car manufacturers and resellers to register features using hardware already installed in the vehicle at the time of purchase.

The bill does note, however, that some features require ongoing costs for the automaker, dealership or any third-party service providers, such as content streaming services and technology. Newer self-driving technology is upgraded over time, such as with new functions or larger map coverage.

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