If you need a new car, a lot of things are working against you right now.
Car and gasoline prices are high, as well as interest rates for borrowing money. But a Southern California company says it has a cheaper, hassle-free solution: You can subscribe to an electric car.
Kendal Bruce has been driving his new Tesla Model 3 for a month now. But he didn’t buy it. And he didn’t rent it either.
Instead, he subscribes to it.
“When I think of subscriptions, I think of Netflix. So it was easy. That’s what I really enjoyed,” Bruce said.
The service is offered by Autonomy, based in Santa Monica. You pay for the car month by month, with a minimum of three months. Autonomy CEO Scott Painter says that while you have the car, it’s essentially yours.
“You can keep the car as long as you want. It’s your car. This is not a car you are going to share with anyone. It stays in your driveway, it’s totally under your control. It’s just a subscription, which gives you the freedom to leave it at any time,” Painter said.
You can get a Tesla Model 3 for $490 a month, which is less than today’s average new car payment. But you’ll also pay a start-up fee of $4,900, essentially a down payment. You can choose a higher monthly payment, which will reduce start-up costs.
And, you can put it all on a credit card. Painter says it’s cheaper than buying or leasing the car.
“If you are thinking of getting a Model 3, we will challenge you to take another route to get the car. If we are not the cheapest way to get the car, we would be shocked. be the easiest and fastest,” Painter said.
The company currently only offers the Tesla Model 3, but says it will soon start offering the Model Y, as well as electric vehicle models from other automakers.
Brian Moody, with research firm Kelley Blue Book, has been writing about the automotive industry for 15 years. He thinks subscribing to an electric vehicle might be a good idea, especially if you’re curious about an electric car but nervous about making a long-term commitment.
“If you like changing cars frequently, more than every year or two, a subscription might be right for you,” Moody said.
But when it comes to start-up costs, Moody’s says to make sure they’re calculated correctly, especially if you don’t plan on keeping the car for more than a few months.
“I think it’s also important to sit down and do some basic math and see how long it will take you to get your money back,” Moody said.
Moody’s says you can also rent a Tesla Model 3 from companies like Hertz and Turo, but you’ll have to do the math because renting could be more expensive.
As for Bruce, he says he made the right decision.
“I love it, it’s like my favorite toy,” he said.