Now even connected cars are embracing the subscription model. BMW drivers in a few countries will have to pay $18 per month for heated seats, reported The Verge. Front-seat heating is one of many optional add-on software upgrades available in BMW’s ConnectedDrive stores in the United Kingdom, Germany, South Korea, New Zealand and South Africa. Also available for an extra monthly charge is automatic high beams (roughly $12) and steering wheel heating (roughly $12).
BMW drivers in these countries won’t have to take their cars to a service shop to get the features installed. The hardware is already there — drivers will merely have to pay an extra fee to activate them through an over-the-air software upgrade on BMW’s ConnectedDrive platform. That’s also where they can pay for other features locked behind an annual subscription, including safety camera alerts ($30) and access to an online music library ($213 a year).
BMW hasn’t announced plans to add heated seats to its ConnectedDrive store in the United States, but microtransactions aren’t completely foreign to BMW drivers in the country. The company previously faced backlash after charging an annual fee of $80 for Apple CarPlay, which it ultimately stopped doing. Still, the pay-per-feature model is alive and well in the US, where BMW drivers have to pay extra for a number of software upgrades, including $50 per year to access ConnectedDrive and $200 per year (after the third year) to update their car’s navigation maps.
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