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Subscriptions are the best way to try an electric car before you buy

Subscriptions are the best way to try an electric car before you buy

Switching to an electric vehicle is quite a big step, considering the various lifestyle changes and parting with quite a large sum of money. So it’s understandable if you’re a little insecure, especially if you’re the type who doesn’t like change that much. But what if there was a middle ground? Well, good news – there it is!

The middle ground is the new concept of vehicle subscription services. It goes against the quintessential Kiwi thing of ownership obsession, but it’s starting to look more and more like the future of private transportation. It is already a multi-billion dollar industry, expected to grow to over $60 billion by 2030.

The idea is basically that you occasionally pay a fee to use a vehicle, much like Netflix. You don’t legally own it, but you can drive it as much as the agreement allows, usually over 1000 miles per month, which is probably close to what you would normally do. It’s like an upgraded car rental program.

You also don’t have to deal with depreciation, which is never a painless experience when it comes time to sell your car.

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There are a few companies in New Zealand that offer car subscription services with EVs, such as Sixt, Turners and Snap Subscribe, and they cover most of the available electric vehicles sold in New Zealand.

Sixt is a company that offers subscription services for electric vehicles.

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Sixt is a company that offers subscription services for electric vehicles.

Sixt offers luxury EVs such as the Polestar 2, Mercedes-Benz EQA 250, Audi e-tron SUV and Jaguar I-Pace, while Snap has the Tesla Model 3 and Model Y on the list. All three offer the Leaf, which often comes in as the cheapest EV available anywhere.

Obviously the more expensive vehicles charge a higher price, so Sixt is the more expensive of the three here. Prices start at about $1500 per month (Nissan Leaf), and go up to a maximum of $3650 (Audi e-tron Sportback S), with mileage allowance of about 1250km.

But you don’t pay for maintenance, wear and tear, WoF/registration or insurance, that’s all included, while you can also add extra kilometers to your monthly amount. It’s also worth mentioning that Sixt’s only range consists of cars from 2019.

Monthly subscriptions are contracts of 30 days that can optionally be extended by 30 days, up to a maximum of twelve months. Meanwhile, ‘new’ plans run for 6, 9 or 12 months, so less flexibility, but come with brand new cars, while the monthly option is ‘almost new’.

Sixt offers premium EVs such as the Polestar 2.

Nile Bijoux/Stuff

Sixt offers premium EVs such as the Polestar 2.

“With the rising popularity of subscription services, from Spotify and Netflix to mobility services, car subscriptions are the next big step,” said Dane Fisher, CEO of Sixt New Zealand. stuff† “So much has changed in our lives in the past two years and it has become clear that many people do not want to be tied down to something that may not suit them in six months or a year”

Snap covers the same things as Sixt in the subscription price, offering 2011-2013 Leafs, which come in as the cheapest, for $449 a month, although Snap says they won’t go over 100 miles per charge (which you’d get with a Leaf of that age).

It’s the only one of the three here to offer Tesla machines, in the form of the Model 3 and Model Y, and Snap has no mileage limit on its subscriptions.

Snap Subscriptions is the only subscription service here that offers Tesla vehicles, including the Model Y.

Nile Bijoux/Stuff

Snap Subscriptions is the only subscription service here that offers Tesla vehicles, including the Model Y.

Snap founder and CEO Jamie Bennett said a subscription is typically cheaper than full ownership. “We operate at the scale where we can access bulk vehicle discounts and lower repair and maintenance costs (although EV repairs and maintenance are typically lower than ICE) that are passed on to consumers.”

“We have a lot of subscribers who want to test before they buy, many subscribers find out during these ‘trials’ that it’s easier for them to just continue through a subscription model. We opt for a hassle-free alternative to car ownership. A weekly or monthly fee covers everything you need to stay mobile.”

Turners now only has the second generation Leaf 2019 on its website, but it comes in at a very competitive price. There are caveats though: The ‘Entry’ plan only charges $343 per week for a Leaf, but limits you to 1000km per month with a 20c/km surcharge on top, and a $1500 liability surcharge that remains hang in the event of a crash.

Jeremy Rooke, General Manager of Digital Strategy at Turners Automotive Group, responsible for Turners' subscription car rental service.

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Jeremy Rooke, General Manager of Digital Strategy at Turners Automotive Group, responsible for Turners’ subscription car rental service.

You can switch to the Standard and Premium plans, which cost $385/week and $434/week respectively, and increase the distance limit to 2,000 or 2,800 km, and reduce liability for damages to $1,000 or $500. paid weekly, with no option to lock into monthly installments.

Premium members also get two car swaps per month instead of just one (the Leaf is the only EV available, but there are other combustion engine models out there), compared to unlimited swaps from Sixt and Snap, though swapping to a better vehicle accompanied by a price increase.

Jeremy Rooke, chief digital officer at Turners, agreed that the subscription model is a great way for people to see if an EV is right for them.

“It’s perfect for those who want to try it before buying, those interested in a continuous subscription, or even those just curious and want to experience an EV for a month.”