Woman sitting in the driver's seat of a convertible Fiat 500, with her hands on the steering wheel

Five reasons why electric car subscriptions are the future of car ownership

by Onto|

Interested in trying out an electric car? A subscription with Onto could be just what you’re looking for.

Car subscription: A new way to get an EV

There are subscriptions for a myriad of products and services today – films, bicycles, vegetable and fruit boxes, music, and more. Despite an electric car subscription being a relatively new addition to that list, it ticks a lot of boxes because of its flexibility, cost and convenience. 

A recent study from McKinsey estimates that subscriptions will make up 20% of the car financing market across Europe by 2025, and the appeal of electric cars is growing too. More than 77,000 new electric cars have already been sold in the UK in 2022, an increase of 88% year on year. The UK government is also encouraging drivers to go electric by banning the sale of new petrol and diesel cars entirely by 2030, and investing heavily in electric car charging infrastructure around the country.

That’s great news for the environment, but buying a new electric car outright won’t suit everybody. Here’s five reasons why electric car subscriptions are the future of car ownership. 

Benefits of an all-inclusive car subscription

1. You can try before you buy 

An electric car subscription is the smart way to try out EV technology that you might not have had much exposure to before. Research by What Car? found more than 45% of people are interested in owning an electric vehicle (EV) via a subscription, because it gives them an opportunity to test the technology first. 

Respondents also liked the ease of use, ability to swap models and lack of stress involved in subscribing rather than owning. That makes a lot of sense, journalist Marthe de Ferrer says. When she first tried an EV, she found it was more of a lifestyle change than she’d first thought.

It seems vital you figure out how an EV will change your life and whether it’s the right move for you… Plus subscribing gives you the ability to take your time and try out different vehicles over several months before deciding which model is the best fit. 

2. There’s no up-front cost

When asked about their reservations around buying an electric car, 73% of Brits said it was the price. Prices start at around £25,000 for a new model and some lease agreements charge customers up to nine months in advance as a down payment. 

By contrast, with the best electric car subscriptions, there’s no deposit or up-front commitment, and you’ll get access to the latest models. Onto has a range of cars that will suit any lifestyle, with popular brands including Volkswagen, Renault, Peugeot, Audi and Tesla, which it’s adding to all the time. 

3. It’s super flexible

Unlike lease agreements that will lock you in for a minimum of two years, an Onto electric car subscription only has monthly terms, meaning you can turn it on and off as required, and change your car as often as you like. You can keep up with the latest technology as it evolves and swap cars as your needs change. Perhaps you’d like something bigger for a family camping holiday over the summer, for example. Add-ons, such as extra drivers or mileage (although with Onto 750 miles a month are already included) are low cost and simple to bolt on. And once you’ve made your decision on a car, it can be delivered to your front door within 72 hours.  

4. Everything’s included

As much as we all love our cars, car ownership can be a hassle. There’s always extra charges, servicing to think about, and insurance premiums to negotiate when renewal time comes around. With an electric car subscription everything’s included in the monthly payment – from maintenance and insurance, to servicing and breakdown cover. There’s no need to worry about depreciation and Onto subscribers also get access to the Shell Recharge network, which gives them free access to over 20,000 public chargers in the UK*. If you like certainty about how much things will cost – a bit like an all-inclusive holiday – an electric car subscription could be right up your street.

*If you select a no-charging subscription, this won’t apply.

Man standing by the driver's door of a red Renault Zoe

5. It makes it easy to do your bit to protect the environment

The Covid-19 pandemic marked a step-change in the whole country adopting more environmentally friendly habits. A study by Deloitte in 2021 found four out of five people have adopted at least one lifestyle change to be more sustainable and are considering the environment when making purchasing decisions. 

But for change to stick, it has to be easy. Onto was founded in 2018 to remove the barriers to EV adoption and encourage more zero-emission cars onto the roads. Subscribers can choose the right car for them, specify where and when they want it delivered, and decide at the end of 30 days whether to keep it, or swap it for another model. 

“Many people are keen to go electric but have concerns about the cost or making the leap into the unknown,” Melanie Shufflebotham, co-founder of the Zap-Map website and app, which lists the UK’s EV charging points, tells The Observer in support of car subscription services.

Studies show that when drivers make the move to electric, they are unlikely to go back to a petrol or diesel car, so this could be a real game-change in shifting the dial on electric vehicle uptake.

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Find out everything you need to know about the latest innovation in car ownership in our new guide: Car subscription explained.

For an all-in monthly fee, enjoy all the benefits of car ownership, but none of the hassle.