Mercury has launched an electric vehicle subscription service offering cars from $100 a week as a way of enticing drivers in plug-in transport.

The energy company has teamed up with Snap Rentals for the service which offers a Gen 1 Nissan LEAF for $399 a month if renters sign up for six months. At the other end of the scale, a Tesla S starts at $2099 a month for a three-month term.

The Tesla is capable of getting from 0 to 100km/h in as little as 4.4 seconds and typically sells for $130,000.

Mercury says there are no extra charges and the scheme is a way of getting people put off by the purchase price of an EV, said Mercury's chief marketing officer Julia Jack.


"Our research has shown people know EVs are better for our country and environment and many are ready to consider one as their next car. It also suggests there are some concerns about up-front costs," she said.

The scheme had the potential to "turn the traditional car ownership model on its head".
The service insulates drivers from depreciation shocks and takes away the hassle and extra costs.

Apart from the excess that would come into effect in the event of a claim being made, the insurance, maintenance, roadside assistance and registration costs are all included.
Running an EV typically costs the equivalent of 30c a litre equivalent for the electricity to run it.

Mercury says some of its customers spend $400 a month.

The Auckland service so far had about a dozen cars which Mercury said was enough to meet the early demand with the ability to get additional cars in the near future.

''If there's significant demand, we'll work with industry experts to get access to cars at a pace, value and quality that we can sustainably invest in to make them easily accessible to customers.''

The Gen 1 LEAF is six years old and has a 115km range. A year-old E-Golf is $949 a month although is currently out of stock.

Renters don't have to be Mercury customers and Jack said that if they decided the car chosen wasn't for them, they could swap it out for another model or stop their subscription.


''We see EVs as New Zealand's largest green growth opportunity. Many people are already thinking about going electric and we are all for trialling a way to turn that consideration into action," she said.

"As well as testing a solution to get more people into EVs, Mercury Drive will give us an even better understanding of what people are looking for from electric vehicles to help develop and support other initiatives to promote the electrification of transport in New Zealand."