Scott Painter’s Autonomy startup orders 23,000 EVs, partners with AutoNation

Subscription startup Autonomy announced that it placed orders Tuesday for 23,000 electric vehicles from various automakers for its fledgling subscription platform. Autonomy, founded by serial entrepreneur Scott Painter, also said it is partnering with dealership giant AutoNation Inc. to obtain the vehicles and have them serviced.

The orders are for 45 models from 17 automakers and are valued at $1.2 billion, Autonomy said in a release. The company plans to take delivery of all 23,000 vehicles within 18 months, Painter told Automotive News.

Autonomy’s business model is to provide subscribers an EV for a flat monthly fee. The company is a rebrand of Painter’s 2020 venture, NextCar, which was a back-end software-as-a-service platform marketed toward vehicle subscription providers.

Upon its launch in January, Autonomy had only the Tesla Model 3 available for subscribers. The company later added the Tesla Model Y as an option. The new orders and the partnership with AutoNation provide myriad more options for Autonomy customers, said Painter, who is best known for founding vehicle listings company TrueCar Inc.

“This really represents our scaling moment from just being a Tesla provider to being a provider of every electric car that meets our requirements,” Painter said.

While vehicles from Tesla make up the largest portion of the company’s wave of orders — about 36 percent, or 8,300 Model 3s and Model Y’s — the next biggest chunk will come from General Motors. The GM products make up about 15 percent, or 3,400 vehicles, of the order. Painter cited the Chevrolet Equinox, GMC Hummer EV and Cadillac Lyriq as examples of GM vehicles that were ordered.

Volkswagen, Ford, Hyundai, Kia and Rivian also were recipients of substantial orders, with 1,000 vehicles or more coming from each of those automakers, Autonomy said.

The orders included several startup automakers in addition to Rivian. Autonomy said Polestar, Volvo and Canoo are included — albeit with fewer than 500 vehicles each.

The timeline for deliveries, Painter said, will be different for each make and model and is dependent on production levels and vehicle release schedules.

AutoNation will prep and deliver the EVs to Autonomy. The dealership group, which has hundreds of stores in the U.S., will also provide maintenance services for vehicles in Autonomy’s fleet.

This isn’t the first time AutoNation and Painter have done business. In 2015, AutoNation cut ties with Painter’s TrueCar over the sharing of customer transaction data. By 2017, Painter and AutoNation had begun to make amends, as Painter’s then-new company, Fair, announced a partnership with the retailer.

Autonomy’s deal with AutoNation came about because of AutoNation’s far-flung dealership network across the U.S. and its ability to service vehicles while under subscription and stand behind the work, Painter said.

AutoNation did not respond to multiple requests from Automotive News for comment.

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