For drivers who dream of cruising around in a Tesla but can’t afford one — or just have commitment issues — there’s a new option.
Entrepreneur Scott Painter, best known for founding auto pricing company TrueCar Inc., launched a Tesla subscription service offering customers a Model 3 sedan for a flat monthly fee. The company, called Autonomy, has acquired about 100 of Tesla’s vehicles so far.
“We own the car, you drive it. It’s a simple contract, and you can do it all with a credit card,” Painter said in an interview Thursday. “It’s not a traditional lease or car loan.”
The new company, based in Santa Monica, Calif., aims to capitalize on growing consumer demand for electric vehicles, especially among those who want to experience them before committing to a purchase. Autonomy starts in its home country, with plans to expand to other states and eventually to other brands of electric vehicles.
The launch of Autonomy is a new branding of a Painter company launched in 2020, called NextCar, which was originally designed as a software-as-a-service platform to help vehicle subscription providers scale and operate profitably. At the time, Painter said NextCar was not a consumer-facing brand like Fair, the used-vehicle subscription service he launched in 2016, but would help put together services like Capital loans, insurance, inventory access, fleet management and digital services.
“Those are all the components of a subscription business, but we’re not focused on building our own brand and reaching out directly to the consumer,” Painter said. Automotive News in October 2020.
The company will remain incorporated as NextCar Holding Co., but the consumer-facing brand will be known as Autonomy, spokeswoman Shadee Malekafzali said. Automotive News by email.
“NextCar was founded almost two years ago with the intention of creating the foundation to support subscriptions. Autonomy is the first subscription company operating on this platform,” Malekafzali wrote.
“It was certainly designed to serve anyone in the subscription space, but today it’s all about what we’re doing with Autonomy,” she wrote.