General Motors and Ford Motor Co. are getting big orders for their electric vehicles from a California-based startup that offers drivers the option to buy a subscription to an EV instead of buying the EV itself.
The company, Autonomy, said Tuesday it placed an order for 23,000 EVs with 17 global automakers to expand its subscription fleet beyond Tesla, which is the only EV it offers. This new Fleet order is valued at $1.2 billion.
While Tesla still got the lion’s share of the new order — 8,300 vehicles valued at $443 million — GM and Ford came in near the top.
Here is a snapshot of some of the bigger orders:
- GM: Order for 3,400 EVs valued at $138 million.
- Ford: Order for 1,800 EVs valued at $88 million.
- Volkswagen: Order for 2,200 EVs worth $107 million.
- Hyundai: Order for 1,640 EVs worth $74 million.
- Kia: Order for 1,500 EVs worth $69 million.
- Rivian: Order for 1,000 EVs worth $72 million.
Autonomy said it plans to order from Stellantis in the future.
GM and Ford did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Autonomy launched in January, choosing Tesla because of Tesla’s EV sales leadership at the time, said Scott Painter, CEO of Autonomy.
But now, “with every automaker going all-in on electric and so many exciting new products coming to market in the next six to 18 months, we have placed our Fleet order and are excited to expand our subscription lineup,” Painter said.
The 23,000-car order represents 1.2% of the projected US EV production through the end of 2023. Painter said the order was designed to fit into the forecast productions of each automaker. GM, for example, has said it plans to manufacture 1 million EVs in North America by 2025.
In GM’s case, Autonomy’s order included EVs currently in production: The Chevrolet Bolt and Bolt EUV, the Cadillac Lyriq and the GMC Hummer EV pickup. It also placed orders for GM’s future EVs: the Chevrolet Silverado EV, Blazer EV, Equinox EV and GMC Hummer EV SUV.
From Ford, Autonomy ordered the Mustang Mach-E and the F-150 Lightning.
Autonomy listed the following as criteria for its order:
- MSRP range: $26,595 to $122,440.
- Battery range: 250 miles minimum (with some exceptions).
- Telematics: Fully connected.
- Production forecasts: Vehicle will be available for purchase before the end of 2023.
- Residual values: Models with highest projected Resale values.
How it works
Autonomy is not yet available in Michigan, only in California. It has 1,000 Tesla models in its fleet.
The required minimum subscription time is three months. After that a customer can return the vehicle at any time with a 30-day notice or continue the subscription on a monthly basis, said Jesse Toprak, chief analyst at Autonomy.
For a Tesla Model 3, the subscription costs can vary, but Toprak said for $4,900 down, which is not refundable, a person can drive a Model 3 for $490 a month. Or a person could put $990 down and have a payment of $900 a month. It can be paid in full each month on a credit card or from a bank account. The Autonomy vehicles are available for delivery or pickup within weeks, compared with the months-long waits to buy or lease a vehicle, he said.
He said it beats buying a new Tesla Model 3, which would cost at least $50,000 and probably have high interest rates, he said.
“If you keep that (subscription) vehicle for months, it beats any other way of acquiring a Tesla Model 3, even a lease,” Toprak said. “It includes maintenance, there is no payment for registration because Autonomy owns it and if you want to get another vehicle you can return it after three months.”
Autonomy is working with an insurance provider to have insurance included in the cost too, depending on the state, in the future, Toprak said. The Subscriber is limited to driving 15,000 miles a year.
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