Automakers have largely thrown in the towel on vehicle subscriptions. The all-in-one bundle of car payment, maintenance, and insurance wasn’t as appealing to consumers as automakers thought. That hasn’t stopped some independent companies from trying though. Now, the founder of TruCar is trying his hand in the car subscription game with a company that lets you subscribe to a Tesla, as Bloomberg reports.
Scott Painter founded TruCar in 2005, but left the company in 2015. Now he’s trying his hand with his new startup called Autonomy which will let users subscribe to a Tesla Model 3 for one flat monthly rate. From Bloomberg:
We own the car, you’re driving it. It’s a simple contract and you can do all of this with a credit card,” Painter said Thursday in an interview. “It’s not a traditional lease or car loan.
The premise is quick and easy. The company claims you can sign up in less than 10 minutes: using your smartphone, you pull up the Autonomy app, sign up, and pay. I even downloaded the app myself and it looks to be that easy. All you need is a valid license and a payment method.
You may be wondering how much all of this costs. When you look at the numbers, you see why subscriptions have mostly fallen flat with little consumer interest. Autonomy says it’s affordable. That depends.
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As you can see, the initial term of three months is required along with a down payment or start fee plus a security deposit. After the three months, the subscription goes month to month and the cost can vary.
A lower monthly can have a higher start fee and vice versa. Autonomy thinks the appeal lies in it being faster than a lease but cheaper than a comparable rental. Mileage limits are capped at 10,000 per year ($.25/mile for overages) but maintenance and roadside assistance are included as well.
The company currently has a fleet of 100 vehicles and plans to have that grow to 10,000 by the end of 2022. And while buyers of Tesla’s are facing long production times, Autonomy has been able to secure cars by “being flexible on things like color, configuration, and wheel choice.”
If you’re interested, the service is only available in Southern California for now. But I have to wonder who this is for. It’s not cheap. And its not a cost-effective option for those thinking of using it as a commuter. In a region full of super-commuters, the mileage limits kill it.