Energy storage systems provider Sonnen, in partnership with Carbar, has launched an EV subscription service, sonnenDrive, in Australia.
It will let customers choose from six different vehicles when launched, starting at AU$319 a week for a MG ZS EV to AU$447 for a new Tesla Model 3.
Through the pay-as-you-go subscription model, Sonnen customers can evaluate if an EV is right for them without the commitment of buying, it says. SonnenDrive customers will have exclusive use of the EV, with the weekly subscription payment covering everything from registration, insurance, maintenance, servicing and roadside assistance.
Under the partnership, Carbar will be responsible for the administration of the subscription program, including delivering, maintaining and servicing all vehicles. For Sonnen, the partnership is a step towards a further expansion of the company as a new energy provider by offering households an integrated technology and service solution for switching to clean energy.
“Producing your own, clean energy for your home and using it for e-mobility is a natural combination. sonnenDrive makes it easier for customers to take their energy independence on the road by providing flexible, affordable access to an EV and powering it with clean energy,” Sonnen Australia, APAC chief executive Nathan Dunn says. “With Carbar, Sonnen is offering greater flexibility to swap between EV models as their needs change – just like their modular home energy storage system that can expand with their energy needs.”
Bakar Sadik Agwan, Senior Automotive Consulting Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, notes that Australia presently has very low uptake of electric vehicles with market share limited at around 0.7% of the total new cars sold in the country last year. “Inconsistent policies and lack of concrete EV benefits such as zero import taxes, sales tax exemptions and rebates are the key factors sabotaging the growth of EVs in Australia,” Agwan says. “In such a situation where there is no major demand push from the government, innovative business models such as subscription act as a catalyst, ” she maintains. “Another major benefit that the subscription model offers is that the customers get to choose from a wide range of EV models and can easily charge their cars at home using regular charging.”
SonnenDrive follows the trail of Australia’s energy giant AGL and shared mobility player Blinker (now Loopit), which announced their electric vehicle subscription service last year.
Agwan says the market is expected to witness more players offering the electric vehicle subscription in the near-term. However she adds: “Significant government efforts through attractive policies, incentives and strong charging infrastructure are much needed for success of EVs.”