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Is an EV lease or an EV subscription cheaper?

EV subscription services are a relatively new way to drive an EV without the long-term commitment of a lease. But which is cheaper? – an EV on a lease, or an EV on a subscription service – which is all-inclusive (ie. the car, insurance, charging, breakdown cover, maintenance and servicing, and road tax are all covered as part of the monthly fee). We’ve looked at some figures comparing Onto EV subscriptions with some leasing offers and the results may be surprising.

What’s included in Onto’s EV Subscription Pricing?

All-inclusive subscription

One flat fee covers everything, even public charging. Currently it costs over £100 to refuel an average petrol car – which most people need to do at least once or twice a month. With Onto you can drive 750 miles a month from £489 which includes unlimited charging (ie. no extra fuel costs), insurance, maintenance and breakdown cover. Customers also save time by not having to arrange or negotiate these elements separately.

No deposit

No large upfront payment is required, compared to buying a car outright or on a finance agreement at a time when finances are being squeezed for most people with the increase in cost of living.

No long-term commitment

A subscription is only ever a one-month commitment so drivers can choose each month whether to continue, stop or even swap their car for something else.

See below for a price comparison between subscribing to an electric car with Onto versus leasing a car for 24 months, for three EVs: the Renault Zoe, Volkswagen ID.3 and Audi e-tron.

Renault Zoe GT Line +                 

Monthly Payment£499£600
Upfront deposit£0£894
Commitment Duration1 month24 months
Miles per month750667
Insurance & BreakdownIncluded£40
Free ChargingIncluded£66
Maintenance & ServicingIncluded£22
ExtrasMetallic PaintExtra
Total monthly cost£499£740
Direct Variance *£113 
Total Variance *£241 
ProviderSelect Car Leasing 

Volkswagen ID.3 Life Pro Performance                      

Monthly Payment£619£725
Upfront deposit£0£1,019
Commitment Duration1 month24 months
Miles per month750667
Insurance & BreakdownIncluded£40
Free ChargingIncluded£66
Maintenance & ServicingIncluded£33
ExtrasMetallic Paint, 18″ AlloysExtra
Total monthly cost£619£877
Direct Variance *£119 
Total Variance *£258 
ProviderSelect Car Leasing 

Audi e-tron 55 Quattro Black Edition                

Monthly Payment£1,299£1,494
Upfront deposit£0£0
Commitment Duration1 month24 months
Miles per month750667
Insurance & BreakdownIncluded£40
Free ChargingIncluded£99
Maintenance & ServicingIncluded£49
ExtrasMetallic PaintExtra
Total monthly cost£1,299£1,682
Direct Variance *£195 
Total Variance *£383 
ProvideriCarLease UK 

* Notes about how the figures are calculated

Onto regularly scans the market and generates comparisons between its monthly subscription model and shorter-term (24 month) leases. Given that Onto’s subscription is all-inclusive, it needs to make some adjustments in order to make a like-for-like comparison.

  • Calculating the initial lease deposit as a monthly fee: Leases or PCPs usually have a separate upfront deposit or a first instalment. To make the comparison, Onto looks at the total of the payments made over the life of that lease/PCP and divides that by the duration of the agreement, eg. a £3,000 deposit over a 24 month lease adds the equivalent of £125 per month
  • Total monthly costs: These are rounded up to the nearest £
  • Deposit: An ‘admin’ fee included in the upfront deposit for a lease which is not broken down on the website
  • Variance: Direct variance excludes the additional costs (insurance, charging, maintenance etc.) and total variance includes these
  • Fully comprehensive insurance with breakdown cover: Onto has spoken with the Association of British Insurers to check what is the average cost in the UK.
  • Free charging: Onto customers have free access to the BP Pulse, Instavolt and Shell Recharge networks for free (plus Tesla Supercharger network for Tesla cars) included as part of the subscription. An estimation for the money saved for charging in this way is factored in.
  • Maintenance and Servicing: Onto has used the leading provider of these estimates in the UK (known as SMR costs) and applied part of these at cost.
  • Extras: Some cars come with equipment that would be an extra cost when leasing e.g. metallic paint.

The above comparison shows that an EV subscription can be lower cost than a lease, in addition to other benefits of an EV subscription such as having no long-term commitment and cars typically being available with shorter wait times than EVs on a lease.

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