SA drivers will be able to try before they buy an electric vehicle via a new phone-style subscription service that lets you swap, upgrade or cancel at any time.

AGL has expanded its electric vehicle subscription service into South Australia, offering drivers a taste of zero-emissions vehicles without the hefty up-front price tag.

Described as similar to a mobile phone plan, a sign-up fee of $800 applies and subscribers can then pay month-to-month or sign up to a three, six or 12-month plan.

The MG ZS EV is the first model available in South Australia, with prices starting from $235 per week, while Tesla, Nissan, Kia and Hyundai electric vehicle models will be available later in the year.

The cost of subscription includes insurance and roadside assistance, while home charging units can also be provided for an extra $10 per week.

AGL executive general manager of future business & technology John Chambers said the subscription model offered drivers an opportunity to test out the latest technologies before committing to an electric vehicle purchase.

“Definitely for some people it’s a chance to try before you buy, and they might be waiting for new models to come into the country – there’s so many new models coming,” he said.

“For other people it’s a great ongoing fit, particularly those who use it as a longer term lease. They have the benefit of having a vehicle for a long time or they can decide whether they want to change it up.

“Our service provides choice and flexibility with customers able to swap, upgrade or cancel at any time, while also including registration, insurance, tyres, repairs, roadside assistance, optional installation of an EV charger and carbon neutral credits as part of the subscription.”

AGL has partnered with subscription service Carbar to supply the vehicles, while the charging equipment is provided by JET Charge.

The local expansion of AGL’s subscription service follows the launch of a similar offering by German battery and technology company Sonnen in May.

The high cost of electric cars and a lack of infrastructure have been blamed for the low take-up in Australia compared to the rest of the world.

The MG ZS EV, which is at the cheaper end of the market, typically retails for more than $40,000.

Last month the state government announced it would delay a controversial plan to introduce an electric vehicle road-user charge, and instead proposed a $3000 subsidy for new electric vehicle purchases.

Mr Chambers said a “more unified policy direction” across the country was needed to stimulate sales of electric vehicles.

“There have been good signs in the last few months but we have seen that in countries like Norway, where over 60 per cent of cars sold are EVs, they have had a unified policy direction – that could include incentives, whether through subsidies or road taxes,” he said.

“A unified approach from government is what’s going to drive it forward in Australia and we’re trying to do our part.”

Chris Matters and wife Genevieve Gabb, who are among the first subscribers to the AGL service in South Australia, said they signed up to learn more about the latest technologies.

We don’t know much about them (electric vehicles) and this was a very accessible way to try an electric vehicle for a while, and then decide whether we’d like to buy one or stick with the subscription service,” Mr Matters said.

“Transport in South Australia accounts for a huge amount of our emissions … we wanted to do something to contribute to improving that.”

Extracted in full from: AGL expands electric car subscription into SA | The Advertiser (adelaidenow.com.au)

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