The future of e-mobility – test driving the all-Inclusive package for electric car enthusiasts

The following article is based on an article published in GoGreen magazine (04/12/2023), in which journalist and electric mobility expert Bernard van Dierendonck talks about his experiences with Clyde.

Written by Bernard on

You can buy, lease, rent or share a car, or you can even subscribe to one just like with Clyde. The company is repositioning itself and offering a generous no-hassle package for electric car drivers. All inclusive e-mobility, as it were. With the Clyde Energy Benefit, electricity is included too, and the benefits of charging with self-produced solar power at home are two-fold.

At the end of an autumn test drive over the Zugerberg, I’m curious to see if Clyde really sticks to its promises. Will charging at the nearest charging station work with the supplied charging card? The app from the provider Swisscharge means that yes, it will. So I drive the big black VW ID.4 to the Affoltern am Albis motorway service station.

Contributing to climate targets

Clyde is part of AMAG, Switzerland’s largest car importer, and offers cars on subscription. This means that you can own a car for a fixed monthly amount for a minimum of three months and a maximum of 48 months. There are several car subscription providers in Switzerland, but Clyde is now taking one step further in the sustainability stakes: from January 2024, the Clyde fleet will be made up exclusively of electric cars. ‘This is a big step forward for us, as combustion engines still account for around 80 percent of the cars currently sold in Switzerland,’ explains Fabrizio Tollin, CEO of Clyde. ‘With our 100% electric orientation, we and our customers are making a contribution to Switzerland’s climate targets.’

Unchecked, mobility currently accounts for the majority of CO2 emissions in Switzerland. There is therefore an urgent need to take action in this regard, and this car subscription service aims to make this as simple as possible for the customer.

From tyres to electricity – everything is included in the subscription

If you subscribe to the VW, for example, which is the car that I’m currently driving to the service station, you will pay CHF 699 per month. This is for a subscription period of 48 months and a mileage package of 250 kilometres per month. Another car on offer – such as the much smaller electric Dacia Spring – costs CHF 399, and the iconic Microlino starts at CHF 439. That sounds like a lot of money at first. ‘But our customers are effectively paying for all of the costs involved with this type of car, and we take on almost all of the paperwork for them,’ says Fabrizio Tollin. For example, Clyde orders the licence plates from the local vehicle licensing office for the customer and delivers the car to their doorstep, complete with insurance and motorway vignette. The subscription even includes tyre changes, taxes, additional drivers, servicing and electricity – which the company calls the Clyde Energy Benefit.

Clyde has partnered with Swisscharge, a major charging station operator. The Swisscharge network comprises more than 10,000 charging stations across Switzerland, and more than 380,000 charging points all over Europe. ’In terms of total cost, it is around 15 percent cheaper to drive a car from Clyde compared to buying or leasing a comparable vehicle with an internal combustion engine,’ says Fabrizio Tollin.

Changing from red to green

I quickly locate the charging point at the motorway service station in Säuliamt, only to find that the fast charging point with the CCS connector is already occupied. As I only want to check whether the Clyde charging card works and seeing as the VW ID.4’s large battery still has more than enough power for the drive home, it’s not a problem to use the much slower type 2 connection. The connector is pretty old and doesn’t do much to inspire confidence. With a bit of effort, I plug it into the socket on the car. I hold the RFID card from Clyde onto the corresponding field on the column for a few seconds; the light next to the connector changes from red to green and electricity flows into the battery at a leisurely 70 kilometres per hour. The card has passed the test.

Clyde Energy Benefit: get money back for charging at home or at work

The fact that electricity is also included in the car subscription with the Clyde Energy Benefit is a nice little bonus. This means that you no longer have to worry about electricity prices, which usually vary greatly from one charging station to another. And another particularly attractive feature is that if you charge your car at home or at work, you’ll also receive a refund of 30 cents per kilowatt-hour. Depending on the electricity supplier, this is particularly generous. If you’re one of the lucky ones who already have a PV system on their roof, you’ll benefit even more. In a lot of municipalities in Switzerland, you currently get relatively little for the electricity that you feed into the grid. That’s why it’s worthwhile to use as much of your own electricity as possible.

And having an electric car on subscription from Clyde goes a long way here. If you charge your car battery when the sun is shining, you’ll get more than twice as much per kilowatt-hour from Clyde depending on where you live, as shown in this interactive remuneration map. Zurich-based electricity suppliers EKZ and EWZ, for example, paid 12.18 and 12.91 Rp/kWh respectively for solar power in November 2023. If you live in the territory of BKW in the canton of Bern, you’ll only get 9.26 Rp/kWh. The Clyde Energy Benefit makes your solar system profitable much faster.

Comparison of petrol price costs
Frau lädt CUPRA Born an Ladestation

A question of sustainability

In the evening, I drive a colleague home from an event. We have a chat about the car subscription. He argues that it’s not sustainable to change your car every two years and then subscribe to as new a car as possible. When I asked Clyde, I was assured that used cars from the subscription service are returned to AMAG and are then sold on as used cars. Hopefully, they’ll soon go on to replace someone’s combustion engine vehicle.

Click here for the article on GoGreen.

Just test
an electric car?

Do you find electric mobility exciting but aren’t sure which vehicle is right for you? If so, there’s no time like the present – simply pay Clyde a visit online. Thanks to flexible subscription periods and mileage packages, you can test electric cars completely at your leisure and find out whether electric mobility has a place in your day-to-day life. Easy!

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