China is the country where battery swapping, which requires people to pay a monthly subscription to basically lease their EV’s battery, took off even though it flustered and failed elsewhere. The Chinese car buyer seems much more willing than the European or American to pay less up front, then keep paying instalments, which is why we’re not surprised to hear Mercedes is offering the extra-angle rear-wheel steering option in China through a subscription service model.
In case you didn’t know, any EQS has the hardware to provide 10 degrees of lock on the rear wheel. However, you only get 4.5 degrees of lock if you don’t specifically pay for this option and have the feature unlocked. And while in Europe you have to tick the option box when you buy the vehicle, in order to have the increased lock on the rear wheels, in China you can apparently just pay for one year, and then decide if you want to continue using the feature.
It’s not cheap either, at a reported almost 5,000 yuan, which equates to nearly $750 per year, basically more than in other markets where the same option costs the equivalent of $550 annually, and you can also opt to pay for three years in advance, in which case the cost per annum drops to around $350. In Germany, if you want to have the option permanently enabled, it costs the equivalent of just over $1,600, while in the US it is a standard feature on all EQS variants.
And even if this feature is available via subscription in Europe, we really doubt many buyers opted to just have this feature temporarily given that the EQS is an expensive vehicle where an option of this cost won’t make a huge difference. Besides, it will be a good option to have on any EQS come resale time, so it really doesn’t make sense to buy an EQS without it – in fact, this is just an instance of Mercedes-Benz looking to make a quick extra buck off its EQS buyers and the fact that it’s standard in the US is telling of how the manufacturer sees the different markets where it’s present.