For years, we’ve posted about the price increases applied to Tesla’s Full Self Driving package — from $5,000 in 2019 to a $15,000 option now. Ford’s BlueCruise for the Mustang Mach-E doesn’t cost anywhere near that much, but it isn’t nearly as inexpensive as it used to be, either. Via Carscoops, a member of the MachEForum noticed a Ford document earlier this month advising that after the BlueCruise trial period ends in a 2023.5 Mustang Mach-E, owners can “subsequently activate the technology through an annual ($800/yr.) or monthly ($75/mo.) subscription.” The short story is that many Mach-E shoppers and owners were expecting to pay a renewal price of $600 for three years, or $200 per year. The new pricing means renewal costs either $800 in a lump sum or $900 paid over the course of a year.
The long story is … it’s complicated. BlueCruise pricing has fluctuated since the Mach-E’s launch, just like MSRPs and every other vehicle option. On top of that, Ford’s taken various approaches to breaking out the prices of the hardware and the software depending on model year and trim. One owner in the forum posted a window sticker showing a $1,900 charge for Ford Co-Pilot 360 Active 2.0 BlueCruise for his 2021 Mustang Mach-E. On the other hand, a 2023 Mustang Mach-E GT on sale in California at the time of writing shows BlueCruise 1.2 included in the MSRP. On some other trims just before the latest change, Ford charged $1,500 for the hardware and $600 to cover a three-year subscription, which is why buyers have focused on the $200-per-year price. Buyers have also mentioned being told by dealers that the renewal price would be $200 per year.
Perhaps trying to simplify things, Ford declared that for all 2023.5 model-year trims, BlueCruise is a $2,100 option active for three years. This made the same dollar amount a lump sum instead of its most recent format ($1,500 + $600 = $2,100). Regardless of presentation, BlueCruise remained a $700 option per year for the first three years when amortizing the hardware expense.
What’s got forum members riled up is that BlueCruise option pricing for a new Mach-E has been labeled as paying for hardware and software. Once they’ve paid for the hardware, the reasoning goes — for something like $1,500 or $1,900 or whatever — one would think the software renewal price would only need to cover software updates, by now a familiar practice among all who use computer programs. They expected that renewal price to be $200 per year. Instead, the least expensive BlueCruise renewal amount of $800 per year costs more than the averaged price of the hardware and software when buying the Mach-E new.
A Ford rep popped into the forum thread to confirm the new pricing. The automaker’s clarification noted an exception as well; those who took home a 2021 Mach-E with the BlueCruise option, like the buyer mentioned above who paid for the $1,900 option, can renew at the $200-per-year price for another three years. These vehicles had their hardware installed after taking delivery. When the second three-year renewal period is over, those owners will join the $800-per-year or $75-per-month tier just like everyone else.
Or, more likely, everyone will pay more. It should be clear now that prices will go up.
Since every Mach-E comes with BlueCruise hardware, customers who don’t purchase the option get a 90-day free trial period. If they want to subscribe after that 90 days, they pay the $800- or $900-per-year price. These buyers will lay out from $300 to $600 more during the first three years for not choosing the option from the factory.
This sounds like either a case of poor communication about hardware and software prices on Ford’s part, or Ford realizing how expensive it is to start an EV business and how vital it is to get more money coming in immediately. Whichever it is, Ford isn’t alone on either count. Despite the MSRP price cuts by various manufacturers lately, including Ford, the far more consistent story has been regular and occasionally staggering price hikes on nearly every EV below $100,000. The EV revolution is not only going to be televised, it’s going to be crazy expensive for everyone.