Coffee and Tesla – what’s that supposed to mean ?: Tchibo is now also selling subscriptions for e-cars

Coffee and Tesla – what’s that supposed to mean?
Tchibo is now also selling subscriptions for e-cars

Furniture, kitchen utensils and underwear are already familiar from the coffee roaster’s range. Now Tchibo is going one step further in the non-food area: As a car rental company, the company offers two electric cars with a kind of flat rate.

Tchibo enters the business with subscriptions for electric cars: In addition to bras, sheets and breadboards, the Hamburg coffee roaster is now selling the Tesla Model 3 and the brand new Fiat 500e Icon. The offer is limited. According to the company, the Model 3 is available in the “two-digit range” and the Fiat 500e in the “four-digit range”.

Both offers are temporary car ownership. The Model 3 from Tesla is available with a term of one or two years at a price – regardless of the duration of the subscription – of 777 euros per month. The Fiat 500e Icon is available for 13 months for 289 euros per month.

The Model 3 includes insurance with excess, maintenance and 10,000 free kilometers per year. Those who drive more have to pay 15 cents up to 2500 kilometers, beyond that 25 cents are due. The subscription offer for the Italian electric car includes 13,000 kilometers. The same applies here: If the car is driven more, additional costs are incurred. Otherwise, the subscribers only have to pay for the electricity.

Similar to its mobile communications offers, Tchibo does not market the offer alone, but in this case together with the startup Like2drive. During the term, the Cologne-based company is also the point of contact for all questions relating to the car subscription. If this has expired, the vehicle is either handed over or a follow-up contract is concluded.

As with other non-food goods, the subscriptions end up in the virtual shopping cart with a click of the mouse; one click further is paid for at the digital cash register. The cars will be handed over at one of six locations offered nationwide. For a one-time surcharge of 199 euros, the car can also come directly to the front door. Anyone aged 21 or over can become a subscription customer.

Car subscriptions are trendy

With the new offer, Tchibo is jumping on a trend that has been observed in the car market for some time. Like2drive is not the only provider of car subscriptions in Germany. In addition to other startups such as Cluno, car rental companies and car manufacturers such as Mercedes-Benz are also involved. According to the car expert Ferdinand Dudenhöffer from the CAR Institute in Duisburg, classic car dealers are becoming less and less important. While the range of discount campaigns is shrinking, the high-margin business with subscriptions is becoming more and more important.

Tchibo is also no longer the only provider of cars outside the industry. Most recently, the discouter Lidl made headlines with a leasing offer for Kia and Fiat models. The competition center accused Lidl, however, of offering “outdated slow-moving goods”.

As always with subscriptions, a comparison with other offers is difficult due to different conditions. However, the price does not seem particularly cheap: For many, the capped free kilometers are likely to be a problem, which will not be enough for every radius and can then also cost money. A simple comparison with Model 3 shows: At Tesla, a leasing contract for private customers costs only 389 euros net per month. A deposit of 6500 euros is still due here, but this can be offset against the purchase premium. Even if insurance is not included with Tesla – customers have to take out fully comprehensive insurance themselves – and the term of 36 or 48 months is also significantly longer than with Tchibo, the leasing offer, which is perhaps a little more complicated than a subscription model, seems at least competitive.

At, Model 3 costs 799 euros with a term of six months – similar to Tchibo. There are 1000 kilometers a month free of charge. With a six-month term and a total of 30,000 kilometers (5000 kilometers per month), frequent drivers already pay 1308 euros per month. Everything is included except refueling.

Basically in favor of a subscription is that buying an e-car spontaneously costs more and more money. With a subscription, drivers conserve their liquidity and save effort, because the price includes a lot that has to be borne in their own car. In addition, a subscription offers the opportunity to test the electric car, charging infrastructure and range before deciding to buy an electric car. That, too, should not be underestimated and should not necessarily be weighed up in money. Ultimately, as always, the question is what is wanted.