You might be wondering, "What's all the buzz about?" Well, it's simple. Imagine having the flexibility to drive an electric vehicle (EV) without the long-term commitment of ownership. Sounds like a dream, right? But it's not. It's the reality of monthly EV subscriptions. And we're here to guide you through it!
Electric car subscriptions are fairly new, but demand is growing rapidly! Annedictotaly, car searches on our website have been growing every month for the past 2 years!
An electric car subscription is a monthly service that allows you to use an electric vehicle (EV) for a fixed monthly fee. This fee typically covers the car hire cost, tax, maintenance, breakdown cover, servicing, and comprehensive insurance.
It's similar to a lease but with more flexibility and additional services bundled in. The subscription contracts usually range from one to 24 months, which usually require only a month's notice to cancel.
They're all about offering you flexibility and convenience, bundling all car ownership costs into one fixed monthly payment. Consider it a lease with the flexibility and freedom of renting a car.
The monthly payments are all-inclusive and include the cost of hiring the car, fully comprehensive car insurance, 24/7 roadside assistance, servicing, and maintenance.
With an EV car subscription, your monthly payment includes the following:
As you can see from the above, there's little to think about regarding maintenance, so subscriptions make car ownership easy! Plus, electric cars don't require as much work as regular non-electric cars.
Our founder had a Polestar 2 on a subscription, and it was due a service. A person from elmo (a subscription provider) arranged for the servicing in his driveway. This was very convenient, and it only took about 40 minutes!
Also, subscription providers usually offer about 800 miles/month. Still, you can buy more if you drive a lot, which is cheaper than the excess mileage fees afterwards!
Read our in-depth guide on how mileage works with car subscriptions.
Subscribing to an electric car is straightforward. Here are the usual steps:
It's important to keep in mind that subscription processes may differ from provider to provider.
Our founder has been driving a subscription EV since February 2023 and wrote his thoughts about the process with elmo here.
Subscribing to an EV is easier than getting one on finance (e.g. PCP, HP). Rules are more relaxed, and because you're not applying for credit, affordability is usually not considered.
When it comes to driver eligibility for car subscriptions, there are a few key factors that providers typically consider:
You may not be approved if:
Again, subscription eligibility may vary between different services, so keep that in mind!
Whether you're looking for a compact city car, a family-friendly SUV, or a high-performance luxury vehicle, there's likely an electric car subscription service that has what you need. Here are some examples:
You can use our car search to browse the latest subscription EVs!
One of the biggest questions regarding getting your hands on a new car is the cost of owning it and the responsibilities that come with it. Here we have compared the most important aspects of car subscription vs buying:
We have two very in-depth guides on the above topics, so be sure to check them out:
We've compiled the list below, highlighting how to maximise your EV subscription.
Even though the UK is at the end of the energy crisis, it may still be worth exploring the different electricity tariffs designed for EV owners who want to charge at home.
These home charging tariffs are only available for recharging your electric vehicle. You are given an off-peak rate for up to 7 hours at night. These cheap periods are usually between midnight and 6am.
Check out our best EV tariffs guide, listing all current energy tariffs, their rates and customer ratings. Expect tariffs from providers such as Octopus, EDF, Scottish Power and others!
Is there such a thing as a free lunch? Yes. According to Zap-Map, about 8.5% of all chargers in the UK are free – as of April 2023, that's more than 3.500!
Most of these are found in supermarkets, so you can recharge while grocery shopping. You can use Zap-Maps, or other charging apps, to find a charging station near you! Bargain.
You can also check out our interactive map of electric car charging stations!
All fully electric cars are completely exempt from the London Congestion Charge and the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) charge. This will be the case until 25 December 2025. All you have to do is pay the £10 per year admin fee, and you can enjoy unlimited free travel to the City.
This is available for both fully electric cars and plug-in hybrids. Drivers pay for just 10 minutes in Westminster’s on-street bays and park for the maximum amount of time indicated. You can park and charge very cheaply! These chargers support 5kW to 50kW, so you may get lucky if you find a quick one! You can find out more about this scheme here.
Planned ‘green licence plate’ initiatives may allow EV drivers to use bus lanes. This is currently still being worked on and isn't available yet. It's certainly something which will make many drivers think twice before picking another diesel, or petrol, car. More on this here.
Most subscription companies in the UK allow you to swap cars as often as you like, as long as you give a month's notice.
The one thing to keep in mind is that some providers may charge you for the delivery and collection when you decide to change your cars. Please read our guide on delivery and collections when subscribing to a car.
Even though most of the usual car expenses are covered by one monthly payment, it's still important to consider all other factors that play a key role in choosing an electric car.
The first is your budget and how much you can afford to spend on the monthly subscription fee and charging. At least, financial considerations are easier because you know exactly how much you're paying for the car every month, eliminating any unexpected costs (even if the vehicle breaks down, the subscription provider will cover the cost of repairs).
If you're switching to an EV from a diesel or petrol motor, range will be on your mind. Luckily, so many charging stations are dotted around the UK that topping up your battery has never been easier.
However, if you're expecting many long drives to distant areas, you'll need a car with a longer range and a good plan for charging on the way.
There's a lot to be said about the EV driving experience. You should just read our guide to learn more about what this is like. You can expect your car to be a lot more responsive and quiet (to say the least).
You can also check if your employer offers (or is open to offering) electric car subscriptions through the business.
Finally, remember to check the subscription terms! Look at the minimum commitment term and what's included in the package. What are the excess mileage fees, delivery and collection costs, and deposits? Can you swap cars or cancel the subscription easily if your needs change?
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