Hyundai Launching Subscription Service for EVs

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

Hyundai will begin offering monthly subscriptions to its electric vehicles via the new Evolve+ program. Automakers have dabbled with subscription schemes fairly often over the last few years and we’ve usually come out complaining about how they’re a poor value, often representing the most expensive way to get into an automobile. However, there’s always a chance something like this could fit into your lifestyle, so let’s see what Hyundai is offering.

As things currently stand, Evolve+ will provide drivers access to the Kona Electric (for $699 per month) or the Ioniq 5 (for $899 per month). Those are pretty steep rates considering your author was literally just issued junk mail notifying me that the Hyundai Ioniq 5 SE Long Range was available in my area for $569 per month for 39 months – provided I could come up with the $3,999 due at signing.

That makes the subscription package seem like an outright scam. But you do get a few perks via the arrangement. For starters, insurance is provided and you can basically opt out anytime you want after the first month since this is effectively just an extended rental. Registration, roadside assistance, and any maintenance that needs to be done are also covered under the plan. Though customers will be limited to just 1,000 per month, which rules out taking one of these babies on summer vacation.

Hyundai said the program exists to address the changing landscape of car ownership. But most of these subscription and rental schemes (there’s really not much difference) automakers have floated since 2017 have been failures. Numerous luxury brands have attempted to offer premium subscription services utilizing a concierge that would deliver an array of vehicles whenever the customer got bored. However, the concept proved too expensive for everyone involved. Consumers didn’t seem particularly interested in paying a premium to swap between a limited number of vehicles and most automakers testing the theory ultimately confessed that they weren’t making money.

Some companies were even told such schemes ran afoul of dealer franchise laws. But a few brands ( e.g. Volvo) have tweaked the formula and elected to give subscription plans another chance to be profitable.

“[As the EV market] moves from early adopters to mass adoption, different consumers will have different needs," Olabisi Boyle, vice president, product planning and mobility strategy for Hyundai Motor North America, told Automotive News during an interview at the Chicago Auto Show.

From AN:

The package will only be offered in six states by eight pilot dealers in Oregon, Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Maryland and South Carolina. Hyundai said more will be added by year end.
"Evolve+ gives our customers the opportunity to try an electric vehicle and see if it is right for their lifestyle," Gary Rome, president of Gary Rome Auto Group, said in a statement. Gary Rome Hyundai in Holyoke, Mass., is a participating dealer.
Interested shoppers can select their vehicle and payment terms via mobile app, and then pick the vehicle up at the participating dealership.

Based on previous examples, it’s questionable whether this plan is going to work for Hyundai. However, the automaker did suggest that subscriptions could work well for people who wanted to spend a month trying to determine whether or not an EV could be worked into their lifestyle. The Ioniq 5 has also gotten quite a lot of praise since its debut and I didn’t think the Kona Electric was bad for an urban runabout, so the factory probably feels reasonably confident it’ll snare a few EV-curious individuals after that first month.

This may likewise serve as a less expensive way to snag an extended rental vehicle. Though, with Hertz seemingly offering massive discounts on EVs in select regions, that probably depends upon where you’ll be driving. While I’m not going to pretend that the industry’s constant claim about how we need to “re-imagine” vehicle ownership is anything other than manipulative, it is possible that these rental schemes will have something to offer a subset of drivers who spend large amounts of time not needing a car.

[Image: Hadrian/Shutterstock]

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Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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2 of 13 comments
  • 28-Cars-Later 28-Cars-Later on Feb 11, 2023

    $699 to $899 for a subscription to Hyundais not named Equus or K9000000000?

    B**** please.

  • TDIGuy TDIGuy on Feb 15, 2023

    Don't know if US has it, but i've been seeing ads for a Hyundai "try before you buy" program in Canada. Basically a short term rental where Hyundai will pick up the tab if you buy one. Probably aimed at a different type of consumer than this story, but it sounds like a good idea to get some people hesitant about EVs.

  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X As much problems as I had with my '96 Chevy Impala SS.....I would love to try one again. I've seen a Dark Cherry Metallic one today and it looked great.
  • Susan O’Neil There is a good reason to keep the Chevrolet Malibu and other 4 door family sedans! You can transport your parents and other somewhat handicapped people comfortably and safety! If someone can stand and pivot you can put them in your car. An armrest in the back seat is appreciated and a handle above the door! Oh…and leather seats so your passenger can slide across the seat! 😊Plus, you can place a full sized wheelchair or walker in the trunk! The car sits a little lower…so it’s doable! I currently have a Ford Fusion and we have a Honda Accord. Our previous cars were Mercury Sables-excellent for transporting handicapped people and equipment! As the population ages-sedans are a very practical choice! POV from a retired handicapped advocate and daughter! 😊
  • Freddie Remember those ads that say "Call your doctor if you still have...after four hours"?You don't need to call your doctor, just get behind the wheel of a CUV. In fact, just look at one.I'm a car guy with finite resources; I can't afford a practical car during the week plus a fun car on the weekend. My solution is my Honda Civic Si 4 door sedan. Maybe yours is a Dodge Charger (a lot of new Chargers are still on dealer lots).
  • Daniel J Interesting in that we have several weeks where the temperature stays below 45 but all weather tires can't be found in a shop anywhere. I guess all seasons are "good enough".
  • Steve Biro For all the talk about sedans vs CUVs and SUVs, I simply can’t bring myself to buy any modern vehicle. And I know it’s only going to get worse.