Leasing a car online - your options

Can you lease a car online? Traditionally, most car leases could only be arranged in person at a dealer. Some of the process can be completed online, but only a subscription with Onto offers an alternative that’s fully digital. 

While in-person visits to the dealer are no longer the only way to lease a car, online car leasing is far from convenient. Dealers and lending companies may be able to complete some parts of the process digitally, but overall, leasing a car online still involves a lot of tedious coordination to finalise all the details - and a lot of paperwork.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the process of leasing a car online, share how subscriptions have made it easier for drivers to get into the latest  electric cars, and compare the two methods on key points.


  • Online car leasing brings some of the Personal Contract Hire process digital but still requires extensive digital (and possibly physical) paperwork.
  • PCH leases are restrictive, especially around mileage and early termination, and don’t include insurance or any other extras.
  • Onto subscriptions feature a simple online booking  process. Everything is done digitally and the car of your choice is delivered to your door.
  • Fully comprehensive insurance, a 750-mile monthly allowance, and free public charging options are included as standard with every Onto subscription.

How do you lease an electric car online?

Arranging an electric car lease online is easier than going to a dealer and taking care of everything in person, but it’s still far from the most convenient way to get into a new electric car.

If you’re looking at leasing an electric car online, the process will usually involve:

  • Extensive research - As with any financial decision, you should do a good amount of research before committing to one option, but online car leasing requires a lot of additional comparison shopping. You’ll want to know what you’re getting into with a Personal Contract Hire lease, then you’ll want to be sure that you’re getting the best deal on your car. 
    Dealers and financing companies will all have their own additional fees and pricing models. You’ll find a number of different rates online for the same vehicle, and seemingly good deals may include hidden fees or difficult restrictions.
  • Drawn-out registration processes - A PCH contract begins with an extensive credit check. This can take anywhere from hours to days to clear and, once that happens, the back-and-forth with the dealer or financing company to finalise your paperwork will begin. 
    Some of this process can now be done online. You’ll be able to sign some documents electronically, but further phone conversations or even in-person meetings may still be necessary.
  • Waiting periods - Once everything is finalised, the dealer will order your car. Most car leases are based on vehicles the dealer can order, rather than cars they currently have in stock. 
    Many electric cars are currently on backorder, so it could take anywhere from weeks to months for your car to arrive at the dealership then be delivered to your home.
  • Long-term contracts - Car leases can last anywhere from one to five years, and there’s rarely much flexibility during that time. It’s usually not possible to switch to another vehicle or get out of your contract early without incurring big fees.
Man about to open a silver Citroen e-C4 Shine edition

How does online car leasing work?

When you lease a car online, you’ll finance your lease through Personal Contract Hire (PCH). Personal Contract Hire is the traditional method of leasing: you put down an initial deposit (usually three to six months of your monthly payments), then make monthly payments for the term of your lease.

PCH agreements are long-term commitments. You’re usually signing up for a term of at least one year but up to five, and during that time, the leasing company places a lot of restrictions on the way you can drive. There are strict limits on mileage, severe penalty fees if you want to get out of your lease early, and no extras included.

If you lease an electric car through PCH, you’ll have to provide your own insurance, pay for public charging and cover any maintenance or other fees.

How does an electric car subscription with Onto work?

Today, subscriptions with Onto make it simple to access electric cars - all done digitally. You can complete your initial registration, get details on your subscription, and much more in just a few clicks. There’s no paperwork and no long waits at the dealership, just a streamlined sign-up and the freedom to choose from any of our electric car range.

At Onto, we’ve made it easy for drivers to get into the latest electric cars. When you choose a subscription with Onto, you’ll be able to:

  • Sign up online in a few simple steps.
  • Choose from dozens of electric cars - When you reserve your first car, you won’t have to wait for a dealer to place any orders - you’ll be able to see which models are currently in stock and book  the model of your choice.
  • Change to new models - Subscriptions with Onto run on a monthly basis. So if you want something sporty when the sun is out, but prefer something more robust when winter comes, Onto gives you that flexibility.
  • Enjoy your all-inclusive subscription with Onto! We’ve taken care of everything you need to get on the road safely and conveniently. Free public charging options, fully comprehensive insurance, and maintenance are included with every subscription.

Online car leasing or subscription, simplified

Get the key facts about online car leasing and subscriptions at a glance with our comparison chart:

Online car leasingSubscription with Onto
Deposit3 - 6 months’ monthly paymentsNone
Sign-upOnline, with extensive back-and-forth to finalise digital paperworkEasy to complete online, with all data stored digitally and securely
Contract3 - 5 years, with penalties for ending earlyMonthly, with the option to cancel at any time
FlexibilityDrive the same car for the duration of your leaseStick to one favourite car or choose a new one each month - it’s up to you!
Mileage allowanceCan be as low as 400 miles a month, with fines for going over750 miles per month, with the option of purchasing an additional 250, 500, 750, or 1,000 miles in our app
MaintenanceNot includedIncluded with your Onto subscription
InsuranceNot includedFully comprehensive, included with your Onto subscription
ChargingNot includedFree charging at several nationwide public charging networks

Related articles

  • How to find the best deals and get a cheap car lease: Are you looking for a cheap car lease? We look at some of the strategies drivers use to try to get deals on their leases, and how a car subscription with Onto can be a more convenient and cost-effective choice.
  • Car lease with no deposit: Is it possible?: Can you lease a car without an initial deposit? Traditional leasing methods all require deposits before you can drive, but a subscription with Onto gives you access to the latest electric cars - with no deposit.
  • How long can you lease a car?: Is there a limit to the number of months you can lease a car? Is it possible to lease a car from month to month? We explain some of the limitations of lease terms and how a subscription offers a more convenient alternative.

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