You wouldn’t retweet a car

18.22, Friday 25 Nov 2022

Hey it’s the final day of follow-up week! I’ve been blogging new words about old posts.

Re: Fanboost and other magical manifestations of the will (2020).

Formula E (the electric version of Formula 1) has FANBOOST which is maybe the tech equivalent of some kind of distributed good fortune magick?

You would vote for your favourite driver on social media, live, while the race was on. The top tweeted 5 drivers would get an extra surge of speed, like to surprise overtake an unboosted looooser.

I am sad to report that Fanboost is gone. It was for one season only. There’s a video record of the best Fanboost moments (YouTube).

Fanboost got to the heart of something: electric vehicles are also software-defined vehicles. And they’re networked, so they can do anything that networked software can do. UNREALISED POTENTIAL.

Anyway, so:

Mercedes-Benz is to offer an online subscription service in the US to make its electric cars speed up quicker.

For an annual cost of $1,200 excluding tax, the company will enable some of its vehicles to accelerate from 0–60mph a second faster.

Tesla has sold “Acceleration Boost” since 2019: Model 3 vehicles accelerate from 0–60mph half a second faster for a one-time fee of $2,000.

(Spotted at thejaymo’s Scrapbook. Thanks!)

Fanboost consumerisation!

I am taken with the idea of going full social on this. Subscriptions are the lazy route for lazy capitalists.


Each car could have a QR code on it, and if you do something nice then other drivers could fave you with an app. Collect 10 faves and trade them for a faveboost.

Keep below the speed limit according to your insurance company black box and get a good behaviour boost. (It shaves 0.1 seconds off your 0–60 acceleration time increasing each year alongside your no claims bonus.)

Augmented reality driver HUD on the windscreen to shoot green shells at bad drivers to immediately give them a negaboost.

Also from that BBC article, in-app purchase for premium vehicles is a thing now.

I’d forgotten about this: rival manufacturer BMW offered a subscription feature earlier this year - for heated seats.

Which reminds me of this genius twist which somehow emerged from the web3 space:

I rather like the idea of turning subscriptions into digital assets. If I were BMW I’d consider turning those subscription options into nonfungible tokens (NFTs) that could be traded across Web3 so that we can see what the market thinks that they are worth. They would have to make the tokens function properly, of course, so that (for example) if I have a BMW heated seats token, then I’d expect it to work in any BMW I get into, whether it’s mine or a rental car or a friend’s car.

And while tokens vs subscriptions doesn’t quite stack up economically (BMW wants that sweet, sweet recurring revenue)…

…the idea that the heated seats are attached to me and not the car is kinda amazing?

So long as we’re heading into this capitalist hellscape in which I have to pay EVERY YEAR for stuff I’ve already bought, why not let’s go ultra individualistic libertarian on it too.

Mercedes-Benz Acceleration Boost should belong to people not vehicles, that’s what I’m saying.

This would dramatically grow their potential customer pool from anyone who owns one of their cars to anyone who even interacts with one.

Remember being a teen and getting lifts everywhere with your friends?

Imagine drivers competing to have you take shotgun with them because they’ll get better performance with you in the passenger seat.

You’d be so cool. Mercedes could charge twice as much for that, social peacocking beats functional any day of the week. ZOOM ZOOM. Hey Mr Benz you can send the cheque to my Paypal.

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