Consumers are being offered the ability to swap electric cars with the same ease that they swap smartphone plans, thanks to a new offer from Origin Energy.

Origin has launched an EV subscription plan, allowing people to salary sacrifice a new electric vehicle with the ability to pay month-to-month and either cancel or change cars when needed.

It’s part of Origin Energy’s wider plans to try and encourage EV uptake, with the company also recently announcing an EV Energy Plan, which it hopes will encourage cheaper, off-peak charging.

The subscription plan is designed to incentivise motorists to switch to an EV because applicants only need to apply to the energy provider, which will then liaise directly with their employers to arrange the salary-sacrifice details.

The program is designed to take full advantage of the federal government’s recent changes to fringe benefits tax on EVs, without consumers having to worry over the details or the paperwork.

Those who sign up for the program can choose from a variety of models from the likes of BMW, BYD, Tesla, Polestar, Hyundai, Kia and MG.

Origin offers each model with what it’s calling a “packaged” weekly price, with costs ranging from $244 per week for the MG ZS EV up to $366 per week for the BMW iX1. According to Origin, participants can change what car they drive at the end of any month, if their circumstances change. Customers can also cancel the subscription with 30 days notice, should they no longer want to be a part of it.

So, in the same way you might change your smartphone for the latest model, Origin is offering similar flexibility with cars. There’s also the option to buy the EV and keep it at the end of three years for a pre-agreed value.

Subscription participants are also entitled to take advantage of Origin’s EV Energy Plan. It doesn’t have the same widespread appeal of the subscription model, with Origin specifically designing it to suit a small sector of the EV community in a bid to see if it helps switch more owners to using off-peak energy for charging.

Aside from the subscription users, the Energy Plan is only available to owners of Audi e-tron EVs and those who buy a particular EV charging unit for their residence.

While that limits who can take advantage of the program, Origin Energy admits it’s in its early days and could expand in future.

The key benefits of the EV Energy Plan are five hours of free electricity between 10am and 3pm and cheaper rates at night after the post-work, peak period. While the daytime energy is referred to as “free” by Origin, it does require either already owning an Audi e tron, signing up to the subscription plan or paying $2700 for the smart charger.

“Origin is committed to helping get more EVs on the road, and to do this we need to make it easier and more affordable for people to get into their first EV, and then support them at all points of their EV journey,” says Chau Le, general manager e-Mobility for Origin Energy. “We know that cost is a major barrier preventing many people from making the switch to EVs, which is why we are providing affordable and flexible alternatives to car ownership, and making it cheaper for customers to charge their vehicles.”

Extracted in full from: Smartphone, who? Electric vehicle subscription plans set to incentivise EV uptake | The Australian