A interior photo of a man driving a car.

We subscribed to an electric car from elmo! [In-depth review]

…and it was super easy!
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I created CarSloth.com to help people find the right car and subscription provider. So it’s only natural that I had to start trying them out and see for myself what it’s like to subscribe to a car! 

I picked elmo because I liked a couple of cars they had, and they are also our longest-lasting partner. In addition, I wanted to try their car subscription service ever since we wrote a detailed guide about their company, and we also list their vehicles on our website. It was time to drink our own champagne! We also have a hands-on review of Onto too!

What you can expect from this review is my real-life, hands-on experience of using elmo to subscribe to a Peugeot e-2008 GT (they still have quite a few in stock!). I will walk through finding a car, the sign-up and screening process, the delivery and the overall experience of subscribing to an EV via elmo.

This review is part-sponsored by elmo who were kind enough to give us a discounted rate.

Getting started with elmo

I approached this as someone who has yet to experience car subscriptions. I wanted this experience to make me think about the potential hurdles I could encounter in the entire car subscription lifecycle. I just wanted to put myself in the shoes of someone who wants to get a car the easiest way possible. Car subscriptions, after all, are supposed to be easy!

Before creating an account, I browsed through their electric cars. Full disclosure, I have never owned or leased an EV, so this was new to me also. elmo has a wide range of EVs to suit all budgets. For this review, I wanted to pick a mid-range EV, to help demonstrate accessibility into the EV subscription world. Although getting an Audi e-tron or a Tesla Model Y would’ve been exciting, I wanted to approach this as an average driver who will experience subscriptions (and perhaps even owning an EV) for the first time!

At the time of writing, elmo has about 23 electric cars, with Fiat 500e Icon 42kWh being the cheapest (£429 per month). While the Tesla Model Y Long Range 75 kWh is the inventory's most expensive (£1,299 per month). The variety of cars is there, whether you need a small city car or something more powerful, roomier and with a longer range.

A short clip of scrolling through elmo's car inventory.

Their website is straightforward to use, and vehicle information is clearly displayed. Your usual car-buying websites, like Autotrader or Motors, have a lot of clutter. I found the user experience of finding a car, looking for additional information (e.g. FAQS), and learning about the process super easy with elmo's website! A big plus for them is that they try to surface all costs and terms right from the get-go (except for a couple of things I’ll talk about later in this review).

I picked a Peugeot e-2008 GT with just over 200 miles on the clock! It turned out to be a great introduction to driving an electric car. It's excellent to drive and looks pretty cool, too (you can probably tell I’m not a petrolhead)! Check out our e-2008 review here!

In terms of the car subscription membership options (as you may know already), everything is included in the price (maintenance, tyres, car insurance, roadside assistance, tax, and MOT), so everything was familiar to me here.

However, elmo recently launched two subscription plans worth mentioning - elmoFlex and elmoSave.

elmoFlex is a monthly plan best suited for drivers who want the ultimate flexibility without long-term commitments. It’s a 60-day minimum term, and elmo customers can then change their vehicle or cancel their subscription. This is slightly more expensive than the elmoSave, which from the name, you can guess, allows people to get a discount for their monthly subscription price by committing to a car for at least 12 months. However, this is still a great option, especially if you don’t want to get a lease that, even at this contract term, isn’t as straightforward and flexible as a car subscription.

To put this in numbers, here are a few examples:

Car model elmoSave elmoFlex elmoSave saving
Kia e-Niro 2 £629 pcm £699 pcm £840/year
MG ZS EV (Trophy) £529 pcm £588 pcm £708/year
Polestar 2 (SM) £759 pcm £843 pcm £1,008/year

The discounted rate for elmoSave works out at about 10% off your monthly payment, so if you’re keeping the car for a long time, it’s worth opting for elmoSave as you can easily save more than a thousand pounds per year on higher end models. 

There are a couple of other things you can take advantage of when subscribing to elmo - deals on home charging points and using their elmoCharge card.

I can’t speak for their home charging partners, but I did opt for the elmoCharge card, which gives you access to a vast network of charging stations. It works through the Paua app, which is a charging app that shows charging points from providers like Osprey, Shell Recharge, Ionity and 20+ others. It works by tapping the elmoCharge card when charging your EV and paying for it through your elmo account at the end of the month.

Paua app screenshot.

I’m yet to test this out as there aren’t many charging partners that work with Paua in South West Wales. Clenergy dominates here, and they are not part of Paua yet. I'd recommend you to see our review of the best charging apps for EV owners.

As a new EV owner, one of the things I have experienced so far is how different charging stations accept payment. Although there’s contactless almost everywhere I’ve been, some chargers still require you to have their own propriety app or RFID card fob. The goal of Paua and elmoCharge is to make it as simple as possible, since it eliminates the need to have various registered apps or fobs. Interested in learning more? Let me know!

The sign-up process

Elmo's profile dashboard.

Once you’ve found a car you like, you need to create an account. elmo handily gives you a list of tasks you need to complete before you’re approved and can order the car. Like with other leasing or renting options, the driver eligibility may seem stringent, but the rules don't include anything unusual:

  • Register and add your personal details.
  • Take a selfie and photos of your driving licence.
  • Attach a recent bill.
  • You will have to get a code from DVLA which gives elmo access to your driving licence information.

This is where you also pick extras like an additional driver, monthly mileage allowance (you get 800 miles a month as standard) and charging extras (home charging point and public charging). At this stage you can also arrange your car delivery. Again, the process was super easy. You pick a date a week from the date you are approved and then choose whether you want the car delivered in the morning or the afternoon. I picked the morning because.. why wait?

You pay your first month’s cost then.

I added my wife as an additional driver and she too had to register, take a selfie and add her driving licence. She did so while her phone battery was almost dead, and completed it with no problem - a testament to how quick the process was!

After elmo approves your account, you will be asked to sign a contract outlining the subscription terms. It also includes a handy list of any additional costs you may be liable for as the car keeper. Again, nothing unusual there if you’re used to leasing. More on this is further below under "The small print".

After this, you’ll have to set up a direct debit so that the subsequent payments can be taken automatically.

The car delivery

Once approved, your contract is signed, and the first payment is taken, all you have to do is wait for your EV to arrive!

We’re all spoilt by how convenient deliveries are these days, but getting a car delivered to your door felt awesome!

On the day of the delivery, the driver will give you a quick call to confirm when they will arrive and any other details that can help them find you. For example, my driver called about an hour before they arrived.

When she arrived with the Peugeot, she was super helpful, very informative and made sure I was fully happy with the car. As this was my first time driving an EV, I did have a few questions, but she was happy to answer them and did so with a clear passion for cars. I wish I had asked for her name so I could mention her when I write a positive review for elmo.

Anyways, she also carried out an inspection, looking at the usual stuff like any marks, scratches, damage and wear. But the vehicle was so new, the check was quick. Everything was itemised and described in a report which was then emailed to me. By the way, the car comes with a standard CCS charging cable!

All of the above took about 15mins. I then had an EV in my driveway! I was way too excited.

Peugeot e-2008 parked ready to be charged.

Using elmo’s dashboard

Once subscribed, you gain access to a dashboard filled with a ton of driving data. This is a good thing if you like data like me! As someone who likes analytics, I like seeing all my driving information, including mileage and how much cash you’re saving by not using a petrol or a diesel car. It also calculates your CO2 footprint and how much you generate compared to a non-EV. Here’s my snapshot after about two weeks of driving:

Elmo driving emissions data example

You also get a driving score based on a few metrics - time spent above the speed limit, harsh turning events, harsh braking events and acceleration events. So, you better be a safe driver; otherwise, you may get in trouble!

Driving data aside, the dashboard also makes it easy to manage your subscription:

  • Booking maintenance - you can submit a report of an issue with your vehicle, and the whole process is managed there. The information is then reviewed, a service is scheduled (if required), and you get an overview of the issue at the end.
  • Helpful information - within your dashboard, you also have links to helpful guides to help you during your car subscription. elmo has done a great job writing concise articles on charging, dealing with emergencies, maintenance, and their wear and tear policy.
  • Managing payments - this is straightforward but worth mentioning that you can easily change your payment method, download invoices, and see your upcoming monthly payments.
Elmo's My Subscriptions dashboard page.

The dashboard is super handy, without a doubt. It contains everything you need in one place - this is very much in line with the philosophy of car subscriptions, which is simpler car ownership!

As you can tell by the screenshots, elmo just gets the whole user experience thing. I can’t give enough kudos to elmo for the simple, clear and effective dashboard they make available to subscribers. 

The small print

So, there are a few things that aren’t immediately clear unless you start signing up. Although elmo does an excellent job at highlighting all costs related to their car subscriptions, I felt it could’ve been a bit more upfront about the items below. To be fair, in reviewing other vehicle subscription companies, these items aren’t presented in the pre-signup details either.

For example, here are a few things I discovered only after I signed up:

  • Recharge fee upon collection - there’s a small fixed fee at the end of the subscription period if the car battery is under 80% when they collect it. This makes sense. It’s similar to when you rent a car. If you’re charging at home, this isn’t really a concern.
  • Personal data removal fee - if you forget to remove your personal data from the car, elmo will have to do it for you, so there’s a small fee for that. You can easily remove your profiles from cars these days, so make sure you don’t forget it!
  • You are also required to return the car cleaned - elmo recommends you take it to a professional valet, so they clean it inside and out. Factor this in when scheduling your vehicle collection!

Considering how flexible subscriptions are, I didn’t see anything in the contract that is trying to overcharge you or catch you out! The terms are standard and similar to what you’d expect from a lease or a rental.

My overall experience

I know, I know, you may say that I’m biased because they are a valued partner. HOWEVER, I always want to stay true to what Car Sloth is about. It’s to help people make the right choices regarding car subscriptions.

So, with that in mind, I can wholeheartedly say the subscription experience I’ve had with elmo couldn’t have been smoother! elmo is superb in three key areas, which defined my overall experience: 1) car selection; 2) communication and 3) quick delivery. 

From budget EV city cars like the Fiat 500e to high end models like Polestar 2, it was easy to compare what was suitable for my lifestyle and budget, through an exceptional user experience on their website. (You can also compare subscription cars on our site too!)

Communication was superb; I enjoyed speaking to elmo’s team about the car and delivery, and it was a pleasure speaking to the passionate employee who delivered the car. It felt like there was always a real person on the other end to help!

As I mentioned, they also have a ton of educational content on their website. I particularly liked their charging guide. I have never owned an EV before, so charging was new to me.

Judging by the positive reviews on their TrustPilot page (rated 'Excellent'), well, I’m not surprised elmo is so highly rated! The vast majority of reviews are positive, and it's safe to say elmo has earned one from me too!

And even if they weren’t our partner, I’d still be thrilled with how everything went, and I’d recommend them to anyone looking to subscribe to a car.

I'd like to finish every review with a few words from my wife. Here’s her take on our EV car subscription:

A quote saying 'I really like it."

See you next time!

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This is a sponsored review in partnership with elmo.

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