Electric car subscription hub

Learn everything about the best EVs on subscription, read FAQs and find a car

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We are a free, independent online resource for anyone interested in learning more about car subscriptions.

Last updated: 27/04/2022

Who is this guide for?

Electric car sales in the UK have risen dramatically in recent years and they are very common.  And yet, they are still new enough to make many drivers have a myriad of questions about them.

Especially when it comes to subscribing to an EV - it's a whole new world of, flexible car ownership without the hefty cost of buying an electric car.

In this guide, we answer the most common EV questions and cover the key topics related to subscriptions. So, if you're in the market for an electric car on subscription, this guide is for you! 

Types of electric cars

There are two main types of electric vehicles:

  • Fully electric vehicles – These cars run on electric motors and feature batteries which can be recharged at home using a domestic socket (or home charge point) and can take advantage of the public charging network.
  • Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) – These feature both an internal combustion engine and a battery. They provide many of the fuel and emissions benefits of electric cars on short drives but have the benefit of allowing you to simply fill up the tank when on longer drives.

In addition, there is a rich terminology and array of acronyms you may be faced with when you venture into the EV market. Here there are: 

  • Battery electric vehicle (BEV) - These are usually the same electric vehicles, as this just describes cars running on a battery.
  • Mild electric vehicle (MHEV) - A mild hybrid vehicle features a small battery pack with an integrated starter-generator. It's designed to improve fuel efficiency and to deliver a tiny boost in acceleration.
  • Range-extended electric vehicle (RE-EV) - Such a car features a, commonly known, range extender. This is a small petrol or diesel engine which produces electricity and helps gain more range.
  • Hydrogen vehicle (FCEV) - These cars are powered by hydrogen. Electricity is created by mixing hydrogen with oxygen. They aren't as common.

Generally, most subscription providers offer fully electric cars, such as Polestar 2, but if you use our search you may find other PHEVs like BMW X5 (xDrive45e).

Top electric car subscription companies

Subscribing to a car (the same way you'd subscribe to Spotify), is the newest and most flexible way of owning an electric car.

All electric vehicle subscription providers in the UK bundle up insurance, maintenance, roadside assistance and MOT as part of one, all-inclusive monthly fee.

This way, you pay for your car month-to-month and the only expenses you need to take care off are charging and paying for parking!

Here are the top subscription companies currently offering a wide range of EVs.

Wagonex

To get a car on subscription from Wagonex you'll need to pay a deposit. It's refundable and you get it back once you've returned the vehicle and cancelled your subscription. The exact amount depends on the car.

When you pick a car you have to commit to a rotation period - 6, 12, 18 or 24 months. The longer your commitment, the cheaper the subscription will be.

It's free to get your car delivered within 50 miles, but if you live further away than it, it may cost more.

See full provider review

Onto

Onto is UK's first car subscription service which offers electric vehicles only. They have entered the market at the right time with the continuous increase in demand for electric cars.

There are no extra sign up fees with Onto so the process is quite straightforward. Once you pick the car you want, you'll have to pay a flat £49.50 delivery fee (for all mainland UK customers).

See full provider review

elmo

Elmo’s car inventory has grown tremendously over the past year, offering their customer even more choices of EVs.

They probably also offer the best subscription customisability than any other subscription company currently in the UK. To get started you need to pay an initial £95 fee and a deposit equal to the 1-month subscription payment.

See full provider review

Cazoo subscription

You can buy, lease, and sell cars via Cazoo and after they acquired Drover in 2021, you can now subscribe to a car.

Their offering is very similar to other providers but the biggest advantage they have is that they simply have a really big car inventory.

See full provider review


There are many more subscription services in the UK so to see the full list and compare them, please go here.

How to get the most out of your EV subscription

If you've decided to subscribe to an electric car, you won't have the worry about the usual expenses like maintenance or insurance. You can simply enjoy driving it.

That's why we've put together the below list which highlights all the different ways you can make the most of your EV subscription.

EV energy tariffs

Even though the UK is experiencing an energy crisis, there are electricity tariffs for EV owners which can save money when charging your car at home.

It’s a tariff only available for the purpose of recharging your electric vehicle. You are given an off-peak rate which can be for up to a 7-hour period at night time. These cheap periods are usually between midnight and 6am.

Make sure you check out our best EV tariffs guide where we list all current energy tariffs, their rates and customer ratings.

Free charging stations

Is there such thing as a free lunch? Yes. According to Zap-Map, about 20% of all chargers in the UK are free – that’s almost 5,350!

Most of these are found in supermarkets so you can recharge while doing groceries shopping. You can use Zap-Maps' map to find a charging station near you! Bargain.

London perk #1 - Congestion charge exemption

All fully electric cars are completely exempt from the London Congestion Charge, as well as the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) charge. All you have to do is pay the £10 per year admin fee and you can enjoy unlimited free travel to the City.

London perk #2 - Pay for 10min, park for up to 4hrs

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 find out more about this here.

"Green" number plate benefits

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.

Swap your EV as much as you want

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. Read our guide on delivery and collections when subscribing to a car.

EV subscription vs buying

One of the biggest questions when it comes to 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:

Subscription
£0 or a very low (refundable) deposit
Fixed monthly payments
Low commitment
Short-term, flexible ownership
Insurance & maintenance included
Buying
10% (or more) down payment
20%-40% yearly car depreciation
Very high commitment
Long-term, inflexible ownership
You're responsible for every bill

EV subscription vs renting

Subscribing to an EV is similar to renting one but without the hefty daily costs. Here we compare the differences between subscription and renting:

Subscription
Cheaper monthly payment
Very flexible ownership
More EVs available to choose from
Young drivers are accepted
Car delivered to your door
Renting
Pay per day
Expensive, inflexible ownership
Cars aren't always well looked-after
25 and older drivers only
Collection and drop-off in-person only

EV subscription vs leasing

In both cases you don't really own the vehicle (until it's paid off at least), so there are similarities. Here's a breakdown of the differences between a car subscription and leasing.

Subscription
£0 or very low (refundable) deposit
All-inclusive, fixed monthly payment
Low commitment
1-month cancellation notice period
Insurance & maintenance included
Long-term lease
Large down payment at signing
Affects your credit score and history
High commitment
Voluntary termination is expensive
You're responsible for every bill

We have two very in-depth guides on the above topics, so be sure to check them out:

How to pick the right subscription EV?

Even though most of the usual car expenses are covered by one monthly payment, it's still important to keep in mind all other factors that play a key role in choosing a car.

The first one is probably your budget and how much you can afford to spend on the subscription fee and on charging. At least, financial considerations are easier because you know exactly how much you're paying for the car every month, which eliminates any unexpected costs (even if the car breaks down, the subscription provider will cover the cost of repairs).

If you're switching to an EV from a diesel or petrol motor, one thing that will be on your mind is range. Luckily, there are so many charging stations dotted around the UK that topping up your battery has never been easier. However, if you're expecting many long drives to distance areas, you'll need a car that has a longer range, and also a good plan for charging on the way.

Speaking of range, the next important thing is understanding how charging works, where the best stations in your area are and whether you can take advantage of an EV tariff. You should check our tariff guide which covers all currently available tariffs from providers such as Octopus, EDF, Scottish Power and others! 

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. All we're going to say is that you can expect your car to be a lot more responsive and quiet (to say the least).

EV subscription FAQs

If you have more questions about this, keep scrolling - we have answered some of the most commonly asked, and Googled, questions related to electric cars subscription:

What exactly is an EV subscription?

Subscribing to an electric car works very similarly to how you'd subscribe to any other online service. It's an all-in-one offering, with a single monthly payment covering the hire cost of the car and all other usual expenses related to maintenance and servicing.

Most providers allow you to change cars as often as you'd like (with a prior notice period usually 30 days), and then they collect it and deliver the new one to your door.

What comes with an EV subscription?

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.

Also, subscription providers usually offer up to 1,000 miles/month but you can usually buy more. Read our in-depth guide on how mileage works with car subscriptions.

Am I eligible and can I subscribe to an EV?

It's easier to subscribe to a car than to buy one, or to get one on finance (e.g. PCP, HP). Rules aren't as stringent and because you're not applying for credit, affordability is usually not taken into account at all.

Also, unlike car rentals, you can subscribe to a car with a few providers even if you're younger than 25. For example, Wagonex currently allow anyone over the age of 22 to get a car from them.

You may not be approved if:

  • You have more than 6 points on your driving licence.
  • You have criminal convictions or have been charged with a criminal offence.
  • You have had any major driving convictions in the last 3 years.
  • You have been disqualified from driving in the last 5 years.

How quickly after I sign up can I be driving my electric car?

Once you've picked a subscription provider, it only takes a few minutes to sign up and create an account. While you get all your details verified, you can find a car you want to subscribe to.

Normally your account will be up and running within a few hours as some providers carry out a 'soft' credit search to verify your identity (this doesn't affect your credit score).

Then, the car delivery can take up to 5 days, but some providers like Cazoo estimated a 3-day delivery time.

Will I be credit checked? And does it affect my credit history?

Car subscriptions don't appear on your credit report, which is great news for people who are trying to avoid getting 'hard searches' and want to keep their history clean.

Not every provider carries out credit checks but if they do, it will be to confirm your identity. They may also look at whether you can afford the monthly payments. This is a 'soft credit search' which appears in your credit report but doesn't affect your credit score.

What’s covered?

With an EV car subscription, your monthly payment includes:

  • The cost of hiring the car.
  • Fully comprehensive car insurance.
  • Road tax.
  • Breakdown cover (24/7 roadside assistance).
  • Servicing (including when things go wrong or when the car is due a service).
  • Monthly mileage allowance (usually up to 1,000 miles per month).
  • Normal wear and tear of the car.

As you can see from the above, there's not a lot to think about in terms of maintenance so subscriptions do make car ownership easy! 

Can I increase my monthly mileage?

Yes, subscription providers allow you to add more mileage to your monthly subscription. However, if you end up driving more and cover more miles than what your subscription allows, you will be charged anything between £0.10 to £1.50 per mile.

Most subscription companies also allow you to roll over unused miles too!

Read our in-depth guide on mileage (we also have a handy table comparing UK providers).

Will my EV be brand new?

There isn't a straightforward answer to this because we couldn't confirm. However, all EVs available on subscription are very rarely more than 2 years old. It's a brand new segment as a whole so electric cars are still quite new.

Chances are you'll be driving nearly new cars with very few miles on the clock. That's one thing that subscriptions do a lot better than rentals. Cars are generally newer and don't exchange hands as often as rentals, meaning they are better maintained and looked after.

What happens at the end of my contract?

Once your subscription has come to an end and you don't renew, your car will be collected by the subscription provider.

The car will then be inspected for any damage that isn’t just normal wear and tear. If any additional servicing is required, you may be asked to cover the cost.

Apart from that, no further monthly payments will be taken and the car will be collected. The same process applies when you cancel your subscription. Read our in-depth guide on how to cancel your car subscription.

Which electricity providers have electric car tariffs?

Currently, there are 7 energy providers in the UK who offer EV tariffs. Before the crisis, there were more (including Shell Energy and Good Energy), but they have stopped accepting new customers.

  • Bulb Energy
  • Octopus Energy
  • EDF Energy
  • E.On
  • OVO Energy
  • Scottish Power
  • British Gas

To see the full list of energy providers and find the best EV tariff for your electric car and home, visit our EV tariffs hub.

How long does it take to charge an electric car?

Generally speaking, charging time is affected the battery size, battery charge state (how full it is), charging rate allowed by the car (22 kW) and the weather conditions (cold weather can slow down charging significantly).

Home charging is slower than charging stations but you can take advantage of cheaper tariffs. For example, a home charging point can usually supply between 3 kW and 22 kW which means if you have a large SUV with a battery size of 75kW, charging can take 10 hours.

The same car can be recharged in full for less than an hour if you find a charging station that can reach 120kW (and if the car supports that rate).

How much does it cost to charge an electric car?

Charging an electric car at home costs about can cost anything between £7 to £20 for a full charge depending on your energy tariff and battery capacity. It's usually the most cost-effective way to keep your car fully charged.

The prices vary by energy provider and area, generally speaking, if you have an EV tariff for your home, you’ll be paying about 85% less than your normal day rate.

Not to mention the significant savings when you compare this to petrol and diesel and current high prices where for a full tank of diesel you may have to pay upwards of £80!

Make sure you check out the best apps for EV owners where we give our opinion on what you should get on your mobile device.

Are electric cars reliable?

Technology has come a long way and cars are more resilient and reliable than ever. It’s rare to find an electric car which can cause you major issues.

Although EVs have fewer moving parts and there are fewer things on an electric vehicle that can break, things still do go wrong - aside from the usual tire wear and tear, car batteries and the electric motors could develop faults (although as a much lower rate than a regular non-EV car). The simplicity of the battery and motor system also requires less maintenance.

According to a survey by What Car? carried out in 2021, the following three electric cars proved to be the most reliable:

  • Tesla Model 3 - 99.4% reliability rating.
  • Hyundai Kona Electric - 98.5% reliability rating.
  • BMW i3 - 97.3% reliability rating.

They tested 178 car models from 30 brands, examining faults with air conditioning, battery, bodywork, brakes, clutch and gearbox, engine, engine electrics, exhaust, fuel system, infotainment, interior trim, non-engine electrics, steering, suspension and 'other'.

So, for these EVs to come near the top of the list is quite an achievement!

What is the most common problem with electric cars?

According to a report by Consumer Reports (Data Intelligence), the most commonly reported faults are related to in-car electronics, noises and leaks, power equipment, climate system, body hardware, drive system, and paint / trim.

The report highlights specific problems with some popular EV models:

  • Audi e-Tron (2019) - In-car electronics problem includes the display screen going blank.
  • Tesla Model S (2020) - The climate system problem includes the automatic climate control and temperature sensors failing.
  • Tesla Model X (2020) - Noises and leaks problems include seal stripping, air and water leaks, wind noise, and squeaks and rattling.

Are all electric cars automatic?

Yes, all fully electric cars on British roads are automatic. This means they don’t have a clutch or even a gearbox. Plug-in hybrids aren't always automatic but most are.

What is the cheapest EV car on subscription?

One of the cheapest EVs currently available on subscription is the Fiat 500e which can be found for as little as £359/month from Cazoo.

Another cheap model is the Volkswagen e-UP which you can subscribe to for £375/month using Wagonex.

Top electric car brands on subscription

Here are some of the most popular car brands. We based this list on the number of searches our users have carried out on our website since January 2022.

Top electric car models on subscription

Here are some of the most electric cars available on subscription. We based this list on the number of searches our users have carried out on our website since January 2022.

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