Hyundai is rolling out its Evolve+ program, an affordable monthly subscription plan for customers that want to experience using an electric vehicle (EV) without a long-term commitment.
Starting at $699, subscribers can use the Kona electric for 1,000 miles per month. In addition, Hyundai's open-ended package comes with free insurance and maintenance. Similarly, Hyundai Ioniq 5 is available with the same perks for $899 per month.
Hyundai's subscription plan differs from a lease because of the absence of a lock-in period or deposit fee. Drivers can cancel the subscription and return the electric vehicle anytime, no questions asked. Leases also typically do not include insurance or maintenance.
Hyundai’s Evolve+ is currently accessible through eight dealerships in six states.
Eco-friendly Car Program
Another way that the Evolve+ program sets itself apart from other car subscriptions is that it only rents out electric vehicles. This makes it ideal for environmentally conscious or first-time EV drivers who want to test what it's like using an electric vehicle.
Cox Automotive Spokesman Mark Schirmer remarks that the Evolve+ program "could be a way to help drive the adoption of electric vehicles, providing EV intenders a platform to test electric vehicles without the long-term commitment."
"An alternative to traditional vehicle ownership, subscription may offer some consumers more simplicity, variety and flexibility in their transportation choices," Schimmer adds.
Cox Automotive, the owner of the Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book, used to have car subscriptions just like Hyundai but suspended them because of “macroeconomic factors" like production issues that limited the vehicle supply.
Possible Barrier to Entry
While Hyundai is much cheaper than other car subscriptions, its package does not include support for charging. Users will have to pay a separate fee for installing home chargers as there is no access to public charging stations.
Hyundai spokesman Miles Johnson states, "We’re currently exploring ways to include the charging with the subscription."
The lack of charging support may make it difficult for customers to join the Evolve+ program, as home chargers can be quite expensive. Ideally, the plan will be good for "snowbird" customers, but the hassle of arranging to charge may make them hesitant to try.
Drivers cannot refund the payment and return the home charger after canceling the subscription plan. Customers will have to pay another fee to remove the home charger from their homes.
Other Vehicle Subscriptions
The idea of subscriptions for cars is not entirely novel as it's also currently or formerly offered by other carmakers and automotive start-ups like General Motors, Volvo, Porsche, Free2Move and Finn.
General Motors used to offer a similar car subscription package in 2017 called "Book by Cadillac." Users can interchange Cadillac models like a sedan and an SUV for $1,500 a month. But just like Cox Automotive, GM eventually discontinued the service.
Meanwhile, Volvo and Porsche have active car subscription programs. Care by Volvo is accessible to almost all states at only $900 per month but with a five-month lock-in period. Porsche offers single vehicles for $1,700 to $3,200 or multiple models for $3,600 monthly in 14 cities.
Mobility Company Free2Move, the owner of Jeep, Dodge and Fiat, includes Tesla models in its car subscription options available in seven cities. Car Subscription start-up Finn and Car Rental Company Sixt also grant vehicle access from different automakers giving it more flexibility for their mobility needs.