Global battery giant Sonnen has jumped into Australia’s nascent – and important – electric vehicle subscription market, offering its home battery storage customers the choice of six different EVs, including the Tesla Model 3, for up to $447 a week.
The EV leasing offer, called sonnenDrive, will be rolled out in partnership with auto subscription service specialist Carbar, which will be responsible for the administration of the program, including the delivery, maintenance and servicing of all vehicles.
At the moment, Sonnen is taking registrations of interest, only, with the scheme set to open for business on May 24. When it does kick off, it will offer a menu of five fully electric cars and one plug-in hybrid, all 2020 models.
The list includes the MG ZS, the Nissan Leaf, the Hyundai IONIQ Elite – both the plug-in hybrid and battery electric versions, the Hyundai Kona, and the Model 3 from one of Sonnen’s key home battery storage rivals, Tesla.
SonnenDrive joins a handful of similar EV leasing and subscription services on the Australian market, including the “Netflix for electric vehicles” that was launched by AGL Energy in September of last year, also in partnership with Carbar.
As The Driven has reported, EV subscription is considered to be a key stepping stone in consumer uptake of electric vehicles, particularly in a market like Australia’s where there are limited models available and where policy is playing catch-up with the rest of the world.
According to 2020 survey by Carbar, a resounding 60% of 582 respondents said that the high price of EVs was holding them back. It was the single most important factor, ahead of access to chargers (52%) and driving range (now just 34%).
Sonnen’s pay-as-you-go subscription model offers flexibility – no lock-in contracts and members can stop or swap with two weeks notice – with the weekly subscription cost covering registration, insurance, maintenance, servicing and roadside assistance.
“We’ve partnered with Carbar to launch sonnenDrive in Australia as our customers tell us they want to be able to live an even more sustainable lifestyle by extending their energy independence to e-mobility,” said Nathan Dunn, CEO APAC and managing director of sonnen Australia.
“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.”
Essentially, the only other cost to subscribers would be for the electricity used to power the car, but as Sonnen points out, with rooftop solar and a sonnenBatterie, that cost – and the associated carbon footprint – could also be greatly reduced.
The idea is to store excess solar generated by your rooftop panels in your home battery system and then use that stored solar to recharge the much larger battery housed in the leased car in your driveway.
“Producing your own, clean energy for your home and using it for e-mobility is a natural combination,” added Dunn.
“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.”