Energy giant launches electric vehicle subscriptions

One of Australiaā€™s biggest energy companies will launch month-to-month electric car subscriptions and give customers five hours of free electricity to fuel them in a new push to get more of the next-generation vehicles on the road.

Origin revealed a suite of electric car offers on Wednesday, which also included partnerships with automaker Audi and public charging network Jolt.

The move is the latest effort by an electricity company to boost adoption of electric vehicles in Australia following similar moves by AGL and Aurora Energy.

Origin e-mobility general manager Chau Le told AAP the companyā€™s new services and discounts were designed to help Australians to access electric vehicles, to power them and to pay for them.

ā€œWe know the up-front ownership cost is a huge barrier that is preventing many people from getting into their first EVs,ā€ she said.

ā€œ(Subscriptions) help customers overcome that initial anxiety about trying a new technology and seeing how it fits into their lifestyle.ā€

The price of electric vehicles starts at more than $40,000 in Australia, with many models costing more than $60,000 and commanding a premium compared to the price of petrol cars.

Ms Le said Origin would offer subscription packages for 12 electric vehicle models, including cars from Tesla, Polestar, BYD, MG and Volvo.

The vehicles would be available on month-to-month subscriptions, she said, and would be salary packaged through customersā€™ employers to take advantage of the recent fringe benefits tax cuts on electric cars.

Ms Le said the energy giant would also launch an electricity plan for electric vehicle drivers, giving them free home charging between 10am and 3pm each day.

Origin vehicle subscribers, customers who purchased the companyā€™s Smart EV Charger, and new Audi electric vehicle buyers would qualify for the plan.

ā€œThe purpose of the EV Energy Plan is to minimise usage during the peak periods and encourage drivers to charge their vehicles when energy demand is lowest,ā€ she said.

ā€œTransportation is the third largest source of emissions in Australia and weā€™re really keen to decarbonise our transport footprint as well as help our customers accelerate that transition to EVs.ā€

Origin will compete with rival AGL for electric car subscriptions after the electricity firm piloted its service through Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane in 2020, and expanded into Adelaide in 2021.

Tasmanian energy provider Aurora also partnered with Carbar to offer customers access to electric vehicles on subscription in late 2021.

Australia has more than 83,000 electric vehicles on the road, according to estimates from the Electric Vehicle Council, and is on track to pass the 100,000 mark this year.

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Jennifer Dudley-Nicholson
(Australian Associated Press)

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