Colorado consumers could try electric vehicle subscriptions

You are a modern human. So you know well that the modern world tries to subscribe everything.

You’ve considered, accepted, or rejected subscriptions to monthly mystery boxes of new clothes, laundry detergent refills, earthy boxes of organic vegetables, or children’s pandemic toys.

What if you subscribe to an electric vehicle?

Autonomy and other startups are offering monthly “subscriptions” to new Teslas aimed at letting the curious skip new car waiting lists and try out their dream vehicle, without the commitments of a lease. ‘a year.

Autonomy is expanding service throughout California and plans to be in Colorado by the end of the year, according to a company official.

“It’s a debt-free, no-commitment way to get an electric vehicle in the quickest, easiest and cheapest way,” said Jesse Toprak, chief analyst at Autonomy. Autonomy currently deals exclusively with high-end Teslas, but is in talks with other makers of buzzing electric vehicle brands.

“Cheapest” does not mean “cheap”. Maybe if you have to ask the price, the offer was never made for you, but it’s not $250-a-month commuter sedan prices. Autonomy offers consumers payment choices in a “dial” system: you can pay $990 down payment and then pay a $990 monthly subscription for the Tesla 3, or move the down payment dial to lower the monthly price. A down payment of $4,900 results in a monthly subscription fee of $490.

Autonomy retains ownership of the car, meaning it manages all registrations. You must bring your own car insurance. The subscription must be for at least three months, but after that the driver can cancel at any time with 30 days notice. There is no debt to hurt a credit rating, for those who may also be looking for a home loan. And payments can be made to a credit card to earn points, an unauthorized bonus in leases or loan repayments.

It’s not car sharing, where people buy service hours from a pool of electric vehicles or gas-powered cars. You can share a good portion of your income with Autonomy, but you don’t share your Tesla with anyone else.

“We have customers who sign up and the next afternoon they drive off,” Toprak said. “You can’t do that easily with the Tesla 3 now, with the wait times.” Some Tesla buyers use Autonomy’s subscription to test drive the vehicle while they are on the waitlist for a Tesla retail purchase.

Range can make the subscription price relatively affordable for some, Toprak said, because it retains the value of the car itself. The price of used Tesla 3s is rising, like much of the used-car market, and the company can benefit from smart management of its fleet turnover.

“I would say the people we see can be described as ‘EV-curious,'” Toprak said. “They know electric vehicles, they really want to make sure that a vehicle like this can fit their lifestyle, given their commute and their access to charging, without having to press the button. trigger for a larger purchase.”

The EV subscription model may not be for everyone, but it’s not crazy, said Skyler McKinley, spokesperson for the AAA Colorado Automotive Membership Services Club. As with all subscriptions, loans, leases, guarantees or other commitments, dig into the fine print, McKinley urged.

“Subscription models and ‘cars as a service’ could present an elegant solution to the fact that most Denver residents want regular access to a car so they can get to the highlands and enjoy other outdoor recreation activities, at the same time as cities grapple with how to discourage the use of single occupancy vehicles,” McKinley said.

Drivers are trying alternatives to the American stereotype that every adult owns – in the long run – a car parked in their own garage. McKinley highlighted Volvo’s manufacturer-direct subscription model, who has a minimum of five months but also takes care of insurance, as another recent example.

A Colorado startup for autonomy will come soon because the state is among the national leaders in the rapid adoption of electric vehicles, Toprak said. Colorado was fifth in percentage of new car sales for low-emission electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids in the first quarter of 2022, at 8.6% of total sales. California, with the first model of mandatory minimums for manufacturers adding electric vehicles to their sales mix, led with 17.8% of total sales.

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