In the evolving world of automotive ownership, car subscriptions have emerged as a flexible and convenient alternative to traditional car buying and leasing.
We'll identify the types of individuals and situations that benefit most from this innovative model of car usage.
The writer of this article knows a thing or two about vehicle subscriptions - you can read more about his experience in his hands-on review of elmo (an EV subscription provider in the UK).
As it happens, electric cars are more popular on a subscription basis, so let's start with who actually buys EVs.
ONS has conducted a convenient piece of research which can shed some light on who are electric car buyers. According to their report, more than half of motorists aged 16 to 49 will likely switch to all-electric vehicles within the next decade. Among 16 to 29-year-old adults who own a conventional car, 52% said they were either likely or very likely to switch to an EV in the next ten years,
Ownership of privately licensed electric vehicles was more common in UK local authority areas with a higher gross disposable household income per person. Kensington and Chelsea, the area with the highest annual gross disposable household income per head (£85,376) other than the City of London, had the second highest rate of licensed plug-in vehicles per 100 households (2.4) in the UK.
Looking at the occupations that are most likely to drive an electric car, we see the following (starting with the most likely):
By the way, you can subscribe to a car even if you're retired!
Regardless of whether for EVs or traditional cars, the demographics and scenarios listed below would apply to both. This is especially true now that more electric car models are entering the top 10 list for best-selling cars in the UK.
Car subscriptions offer a high degree of convenience and flexibility. They allow subscribers to drive a car without the long-term commitment of ownership or leasing. Monthly subscriptions can often be managed digitally, making it easy to arrange vehicle delivery, maintenance, and even swaps between different models.
Unlike traditional car ownership or leasing, car subscriptions don't require a long-term commitment. They can be ideal for those who want the benefits of a car without being tied down to a multi-year lease or loan.
Car subscriptions can provide access to a range of vehicles, including luxury models, that might be unaffordable to buy or lease. They also allow subscribers to try out different cars over time, which can be a great way to test drive various models before making a long-term commitment.
For business owners, car subscriptions can offer a flexible and cost-effective solution for company cars. They can easily scale up or down the number of vehicles as needed, and the subscription fee often includes insurance, maintenance, and roadside assistance, simplifying fleet management.
Salary sacrifice is available too, which can be offered to employees. Read our guide on sal-sac schemes for EVs.
Car subscriptions can eliminate many of the hassles associated with car ownership, such as maintenance, insurance, and depreciation (EVs are currently suffering greatly from this!).
This can make them an attractive option for those who want the benefits of a car without the associated responsibilities and costs.
For those who only need a car for part of the year or enjoy driving different cars, a car subscription can be a perfect fit. Subscriptions often allow for easy vehicle swaps, and some even allow for pausing the subscription when the car is not needed. Great for those long summer road trips when you need a bigger, more comfortable car!
For those with uncertain job situations, such as contractors, freelancers, or those considering a career change, the flexibility of a car subscription can be a major advantage. It allows for easy changes to the vehicle or the cancellation of the subscription if circumstances change.
As the popularity of electric vehicles grows, many people are interested in trying them out before committing to purchase. Car subscriptions can provide an easy way to experience driving an electric car without a long-term financial contract.
Car subscriptions typically require a smaller upfront payment than buying or leasing a car - anything from £80 to £200, which would cover the delivery or other admin fees. This can make them an attractive option for those who prefer to avoid high upfront costs.
Traditional car finance or purchase allows for ownership, with the freedom to modify or customise the car to your liking. Whether it's a new paint job, upgraded interior, or performance modifications, owning a car gives you the liberty to make it truly yours. This level of personalisation is not typically available with car subscriptions.
If you have an attachment to your vehicle and plan to keep it for many years, traditional car finance or purchase may be the better option.
Car subscriptions are more suited to those who prefer to change cars regularly or don't want a long-term commitment.
When you finance or purchase a car, you build equity. This means that once you've paid off your car loan, you own the vehicle outright, and it becomes an asset that you can sell or trade-in towards another.
With a car subscription, you're essentially renting the car and won't have an asset at the end of your subscription.
Owning a car involves responsibilities like arranging insurance, regular maintenance, and dealing with repairs. If you're comfortable handling these tasks and prefer the control that comes with them, traditional car finance or purchase could be a better fit for you.
Car subscriptions often include services like insurance and maintenance, which can be convenient but also means you have less control over these aspects of car ownership.
Ultimately, deciding between a car subscription and traditional car finance or purchase comes down to your needs, preferences, and financial situation. So, if they are for you, you can browse the latest subscription EVs and get one delivered within just a few days!
Browse all cars available on subscription
There are hundreds of cars available via UK subscription companies.
My thoughts about this EV after driving it for three months.