Woman standing next to the driver's door of a blue Peugeot as a man walks past the front of it

Is car leasing dead? Why everybody’s talking about car subscription

by Onto|

Hours of paperwork, months of waiting, years of having to drive the same car until your contract ends - it’s no wonder that car leasing’s time is up. Here we explain why car subscriptions are ready to take over.

Leasing vs car subscriptions

Are you ready to start driving an electric car, but not interested in the commitments that can come with ownership? Leasing is no longer your only option - today, drivers who want access to the latest electric cars on their terms are choosing a car subscription.

Leasing used to seem like the best way to drive a new car for a few years, then trade it in for a newer model at the end of your contract. Unlike ownership, you weren’t stuck with a new car indefinitely (or until you tried to sell it on - a whole separate chore!), and you could keep choosing different makes and models at the end of each lease.

But leasing was still a commitment, and a big one at that. From having to drive the same car for three or five years to putting down multi-thousand pound deposits and being subject to extensive credit checks, leasing was far from convenient - and that’s not even getting into all of the paperwork!

It’s no wonder, then, that savvy drivers are increasingly opting for car subscriptions instead. Not only is the car subscription sign-up process fully digital with Onto, you can also book your first car without any deposits or credit checks - just your all-inclusive monthly subscription.

So is car leasing dead? We break down how car subscription is giving it a serious run for its money.

I think people get used to the idea of buying in a subscription service, like Netflix and Amazon or even buying diapers.

Inclusions and exclusions

Leasing

When you lease a car, your lease agreement generally just includes the cost of the car itself. Your monthly payments go towards continuing to be able to drive your car for the duration of your lease, and that’s it. 

Some dealers will occasionally offer breakdown cover or basic insurance as optional extras, but usually, you’re on your own when it comes to everything you’ll actually need to get on the road. 

You’ll have to secure your own insurance cover (and spend all the hours of comparison shopping that can entail) and if anything happens, you’ll be responsible for any maintenance costs. The dealer may even stipulate that maintenance work can only be carried out by a handful of professionals - which can mean even more time and money. 

Car subscription

By contrast, Onto electric car subscription is all-inclusive. We know that the essentials are more than just optional extras, so we make sure they’re included with every monthly subscription. 

When you reserve your electric car with Onto, we’ve already taken care of everything you’ll need. If anything happens, you’ll be covered by our fully comprehensive insurance. You’ll also have access to 24/7 breakdown cover, and if the car needs any maintenance, we’ve got you covered there too - just let us know as soon as you notice something’s off.

You’ll even be able to charge your electric car for free at some of the nation’s largest networks: Shell Recharge Network, BP Pulse, and Instavolt. And if you’ve gone for a Tesla, you’ll also have access to the Tesla Supercharger Network.

So you can spend those hours of researching insurers or running around town to different mechanics on the things you actually enjoy - like driving your electric car.

Availability

Leasing

It’s pretty unlikely that you’ll be able to put down your deposit, sign your final lease agreement, and then just drive your new car off the showroom floor. Instead, your deposit and contract are just the two steps in the dealer ordering your car.

After weeks (or, with the recent supply chain delays, months or even years), the dealer will let you know that your car has arrived, and you’ll have to make another trip to them to pick it up.

Car subscription

Go electric in a flash. When you choose a car subscription with Onto, you’ll be able to see all of the cars currently available for delivery to your postcode on the website.

You’ll be able to select from dozens of the most popular electric car models, from family-friendly sedans to sporty coupes - and have them delivered directly to your home in as little as a few days.

Get the electric car of your choice whenever you want.

Woman looking happy, leaning on the bonnet of a blue Fiat 500 hatchback

Flexibility

Leasing

Leasing may once have been considered flexible. But with multi-year contracts, strict penalties for ending early, and exorbitant charges for extra mileage, how much flexibility could it really offer drivers?

A lease meant driving the same car for at least two, but often closer to three (or even five) years. During that time, you were restricted to a mileage allowance set at the beginning of your lease - if you started commuting to a new job, or just had a month or two that involved more driving, there was no way to update your overall mileage or just add more miles as needed. 

If your needs changed and another model would have suited you better, your only option was to break the lease - and incur the hundreds (or thousands) of pounds in fees.

Car subscription

Onto puts you in the driver’s seat. Your subscription renews on a monthly basis, so you’re free to stick with the same car you’ve chosen, or switch things up as you see fit. 

If you started your subscription as a city commuter with a small car, but now need something that can get you and your gear out to the country for weekends of camping, Onto gets it - and gives you the option to swap. 

If you want heated seats for winter and a convertible in the summer, if you find it’s time to swap the convertible for something more family-sized, if you want a few months of something sporty, even if it’s just for the school run - Onto is there for all the ways your electric car needs might change. 

Plus, we include an allowance of 750 miles every month. If you think you’ll need more, it’s no problem - just add a package of 250, 500, 750, or 1,000 miles directly from the app or website. 

And if you don’t use the full allowance, it’s also no problem - the miles will stay in your account as credit until you use them for up to a year.

Convenience

Leasing

With seemingly endless paperwork to fill out, credit checks to endure, deposits to put down, and all that waiting for your car to arrive, leasing is far from convenient. 

Most of the process still takes place in person and involves all of the physical documents that go along with that. Some steps may have gone more digital in recent years, but the whole thing is still going to involve lots of driving back and forth, making phone calls, and checking and double-checking that you’ve signed and initialled in all the right places.

Even after that’s all set, you’ll have to keep making trips out of your way - to the dealer for pick-up, to mechanics for servicing and repairs, and finally back to the dealer for your return.

Car subscription

Subscription with Onto is streamlined and simple. Simply sign up online, and you’ll be able to get started with just a few essential details, then complete your registration with a couple of quick photo uploads.

To book your first EV (electric vehicle), you’ll be able to see which cars can be delivered to you in a matter of days and make your first choice - without having to put down a deposit. 

We don’t require a credit check, either. Once you’ve cleared our affordability background check, we’ll be able to deliver your electric car directly to your home.

And when you decide to change cars, all you’ll have to do is schedule a pick-up from your account - we’ll collect it right from your home.

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This is the future of driving

Find out more about electric car leasing vs. car subscriptions in our comprehensive comparison guide.

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