Audi joins subscription bandwagon

Published: 12 March 2021

► Audi trials subscription model
► e-Tron costs £1299 per month
► Looks like reasonable value compared with leasing

Audi is dipping its toe into the subscription leasing model by offering the new e-Tron 55 Black Edition via a third-party subscription company.

The car will be available through electric car subscription service specialist Onto. They’re available to order now from £1299 a month.

This form of car rental offers a ‘means of dismantling as many perceived obstacles to EV ownership and usage as possible,’ according to Audi UK director Andrew Doyle.

Could this work for other Audis? Doyle isn’t ruling it out. He adds: ‘This acutely convenience-focused service has real potential to be a key driver of attitudinal change and broader integration of more environmentally compatible mobility.’

Subscription models?

Onto provides electric car subscription services. Subscription cars work on the leasing model (eg you rent, rather than buy) but bundle a load of services into the monthly price.

Audi e-tron subscription

The monthly fee for subscription services when compared with leasing and PCP deals often seems astronomical. But the total cost of using the car for the contract length (remember, it’s not the total cost of ownership because you don’t own the car) is more reasonable because you don’t put down a deposit.

At the end of each month drivers choose to continue, switch models or stop using the service.

In this Onto deal, charging and servicing are taken care of. The charging works out reasonably well-priced if you live near a BP or Shell charger. But you’ll still have to pay to charge from home.

Onto reckons you’re £157 better off a month by going all in rather than doing it yourself via a typical leasing deal.

There are many assumptions in this. For one, it’s based on customers driving 1000 miles per month.

Audi is doing things differently

The firm is hedging its bets with subscription models, unlike Volvo/Polestar and Jaguar Land Rover.

These companies have dedicated online subscription services. Volvo goes as far as saying 90% of its new customers (those who haven’t bought a new Volvo before) are subscription users.

Audi e-tron 55 Black Edition subscription

Audi has only sold 300 e-Tron Black Editions to Onto. Which is a high number for a leasing firm to buy, but a low number of cars for Audi to sell.

Doyle says: ‘Onto’s acquisition of 300 Audi e-Trons is one of the largest corporate BEV purchase commitments we have seen so far, and supplements an EV fleet which is already the most extensive in the UK.’

Specifics

Upfront cost: £0
Monthly payment: £1299
Commitment duration: 1 month
Miles per month: 1000

Your £1299 per month gets you:

– Fully comprehensive insurance with breakdown cover for drivers aged between 30 and 80
– Up to 1000 miles-worth of electricity monthly through BP Pulse and Shell Recharge networks
– Servicing, including agreed wear-and-tear provision.

The Onto app replaces physical keys for users of the service, who instead lock, unlock and start their cars using the app on their smartphone.

By Murray Scullion

Petrolhead, journalist and traveller. Loves fast old cars and new tech. Deputy editor of sister site, parkers.co.uk.

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