Australian Utility to Offer EV ‘Subscriptions’
In an Australian first, Sydney-based public utility AGL is launching a “Netflix for EVs”: a rather pricey subscription service, paid weekly, that offers customers access to a serviced and insured electric car, along with the home charging system they need to keep it powered.
A “first order of business” for the utility’s innovation arm, AGL Next, the service will launch for customers who live within 50 kilometres of either Melbourne or Sydney, reports The Driven. The initiative is being rolled out in partnership with “existing Melbourne-based car subscription service Carbar and EV charging equipment supplier JET Charge.”
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The menu of available cars currently includes only the Nissan Leaf, Hyundai Ioniq, Hyundai Kona, and Tesla Model 3, a limitation The Driven attributes to “the distinct lack of federal and state policy support” for consumers interested in making the switch from internal combustion vehicles—and retailers looking to support that interest.
“We know that customer interest in EVs is growing exponentially,” said John Chambers, AGL’s newly-appointed executive general manager of future business and technology. While the company knows there is still public uncertainty about EV prices and other factors, AGL wants “to help customers navigate the shift to an electric vehicle without the sticker shock or other unknowns around charging and servicing.”
Prices for the service range from A$299 per week for the Leaf and the Ioniq to $599 per week for the Tesla, notes The Driven.
Chambers is promising a smooth launch for the plan, which differs from many leases in that if offers the flexibility to “swap, upgrade, or cancel the service at any time.” Sweetening the deal will be roadside assistance and carbon neutral credits, and, “for the pilot phase, at least,” a contract-free term. Reading the fine print, however, The Driven confirms a minimum subscription term of 30 days, “with a $150 fee to remove the charger if you stay less than six months.”
Committed to electrifying its entire 400-car corporate fleet by 2030 and predicting that 50% of all new cars sold will be EVs by the same date, Chambers said he’s hopeful society is moving away from the internal combustion engine.
“Over the next few years, more models will hit the market, prices will fall in line with petrol vehicles, and fast-charging facilities will allow even greater distances to be travelled,” he said.