We need your help to improve our customer experience!

Hey all! We’re working on a quick start video for new members, to give out more information before starting to drive with Onto. We’re going to include things like how to use our app, how to start the car, how to charge it, etc.

We know you all are experts by now so we’d love to hear your thoughts on this! What do you wish you had known before starting your Onto subscription?

Thanks :slightly_smiling_face:

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One of the most important points to get across is about charging for new EV users. It would be great if you could cover the basics like etiquette around using public chargepoints, and also explaining the need for CCS to charge rapidly rather than Type 2 AC For example. This isn’t just for Onto, but an important guide for anyone who is new to electric cars as it can save a lot of embarassment for them, and annoyance for us who are more experienced now.


I agree .It would be really handy for new EV users if Onto will explain everything about chargers and how to use it.


I think it is useful to be explicit about charging experience at different chargers, real world charging rates, the reason why it’s usually not a good idea to use a rapid charger above 80%, and why the last 1% takes so long. Also worth touching on how real world mileage might vary depending on various factors.

And some pretty explicit instructions about the vehicle inspection process you expect customers to do on receipt and before pick up of vehicles.


So here goes, what I wish I had known.
Before car arrives

Check app works where you live /will park your car. E.g Poor signal underground can be unhelpful, and if poor signal login to the app over wifi that will download a virtual key for the day and you will be able to unlock the car.

Read the wear and tear guide.

Learn acronyms e.g electric cars are EV’s. and Electric Vehicle drivers call users of fuel cars ICE cars ( internal combustion engine) so when a zap map says the spot is ICE’d there is car parked. Know what type of charger your car will use and the picture of it to identify at charge points.

Ask questions or search in the community for answers everyone is helpful. And see if there is a section for your car ie ZE40 section.

Start to figure out which electric charging company stations you may use. Sometimes apps don’t work so need a contactless card. Zap map has Zap pay to make it easier. There are loads of companies with different rates. Some let you book to charge, most you rock up and hope for the best it’s free. Not all polar charging units are on zap map. And if a unit is on zap map and not on polar map then you won’t be able to use it.

Look up ‘How to videos for your car’ on youtube eg on Zoe ZE50 hold down the sound off button to cycle through the different pedestrian warning sounds when driving under 20mph.

Car arrives

Keep Bluetooth on or app won’t work with car. Can unlock the car after your contract time, ie if it’s from 7pm you can unlock it from 7pm. It can work an hour before maybe.

Leave yourself enough time to inspect your car inside and out . Inspect and upload images. Any issues more than the collection form can handle use the ‘damage’ part in the app. As stated in the guide and report anything from smell to scratches if they bother you or are listed in wear and tear. Also keep pictures for yourself, you may need it at the end of your hire to remind yourself items uploaded. Depending on phone not all pictures are stored in the ‘damage’ folder on your phone. Be in good mobile signal to upload the pictures.

The feature button on the onto app might do something or might not, ie open charge port. Different to different car.

The Zoe seat is Not height adjustable

Onto safety feature need to start the engine (break pedal and start as oppose to just switch on) within one minute, if you don’t car wont start. Then have to go back into the app and press the unlock icon (all your interior lights will switch back on again) and start the car. (a bit annoying when sat in the car to do this)

Remember your app password as the app can log you out. If can’t connect close app and open it again. You have to press unlock on the phone to get in the car.

Have a bag for your charging cable and some wet wipes for you, for when you need to pick up your rain road dirt cable off the floor and back in the car.


The handbrake button is the same direction as if you had a handbrake lift up to brake and down to release.

In a city switch on eco mode. This will lessen the power of Air con/ heating however will conserve power so you can go further.

You can change the sound of the pedestrian warning car sound in Zoe’s ie hold down the sound button and it will cycle through the sounds for you to pick. You can change your dashboard settings and the brightness of it too.

There will be a consumption indicator somewhere so find that and can see how much power you use when setting off. Electric cars are light touch. (press car lightly otherwise will hit a wall I nearly did from driving a tank to an electric car)

If your in a hilly area don’t push the accelerator all the way as it won’t make you go that much faster, half way will give you the same result. If it’s a cold day battery range is a little/ a lot less than the real world range miles.

Route planning:

Seems it’s just Zap map, once you login create a route and will tell you the chargers you have available, work out where to charge (have back ups in case chargers are not working or being used)

Be prepared to download a ton of apps/get plastic cards to be able to charge at charging stations other than polar.


Polar rapids have short tethered cables so drive up real close to try to plug in. The charge types are always placed with CCS on left and type two on the right.

polar rapid chargers need to press polar picture first then wave the contactless card. Then open zoe charge port and click on CCS then charge, If you open charge port before all of this the car will time out not accept charge.

Only one car can charge at a polar rapid station, no simultaneous charging with other charger types. Some other charging companies allow for two to charge but one car needs to be DC charging and the other AC (type 2)

Have something waterproof, rapid chargers are free when it’s chucking it and they are out in the open not under cover.

Most rapid chargers will let you charge for an hour to 90 minutes check the post.

On a zoe select the ‘unknown charger’ option in car settings and charging might be fine at all chargers.

Do not press emergency stop to stop charging, use the contactless card to stop charging.

Can take 15 minutes or more to get through to polar helpdesk in the evening and more during the day.

When charging over 90% you will be sitting there for ages, it’s way faster 20-80% and with a warmed up battery.

Polar chargers are free charging and free parking still in 2020. Not all charging companies or places allow free parking.

Shopping outlet/supermarkets may have free charging look up on Zap map.

Car servicing :

There is no physical ‘key’ so ask the garage if they have requested a key from onto before you drop off the car.

Other tips:

Save pin drops on zap map of chargers you like or you can use.

Keep a picture of your polar card if you left it in another wallet or need to ring up polar to charge.

When swapping or returning the car, will need to go through the whole photo process all over again. And make sure you clean the car.

Ask the community for help. Don’t worry if seems all technical everyone is friendly and someone will help.


The most useful tip I received when I first started came from another seasoned EV driver. I was stuck at a charge point having plugged in the type 2 cable instead of the DC rapid. I had not started the charge processing and wanted to swap it over. I could not find a way to remove it from the car as it had locked in position. He showed me that under the bonnet of my ZE50 just behind the charge socket is a small plastic lever that overides the lock. Saved much embaresment on the day. I dont know if this is documented anywhere or if it is ok to use it in emergencies.

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Did you try pressing the button that unlocks the charge flap? This also releases the cable that may be locked in to the car.

The emergency releases should only be used when absolutely necessary, as it overrides certain safety mechanisms and could do damage. Its something best not advertised and only found by searching for it if someone really needs it.


Ok wrist slapped and the one thing I did not try was pressing charge flap unlock button. Just tried it and you are correct, simple once educated and not in a blind panic as I was 1 day in to EV ownership. Perhaps your tip should be included along with a warning on the emergency release.

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It’s when the charge point won’t release your cable that you need to panic :wink:

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Good thread. I think the welcome video has to balance giving users confidence that driving an EV is beautifully simple (and very enjoyable) whilst equipping them with top tips on making the most of it.

Three things that helped me:

  • Watched a YouTube video on how to drive the BMW i3 - but I could’ve worked this out myself. Maybe a generic video about how EVs are basically like automatics but silent and with surprising acceleration
  • An explanation of the different types of charging points - rapid for motorway, Fast for round town/destination. This could be linked with how Polar charging works and the fact that other networks (Be.EV, CYC) accept Polar cards. I use the Polar app + ZapMap to find charging points. You could add that the car doesn’t need a 100% charge when doing a rapid charge.
  • A quick overview of the app. I was anxious that nothing showed up in my app until the day the car was delivered, even though on reading the documentation, this is expected.

A separate video could maybe cover Onto’s expectations for collecting damage on day 1 and before hand back.


This was only a temporary thing during the transition from Chargemaster to the new ownership. I don’t think it will work for you anymore.

Well Be.Ev is still currently free in the Manchester area as it’s still transitioning, but you can use literally any contactless card currently, although you need to register and get the Be.Ev card ready for when it does go fully live.

Can confirm what @kinetichaze said. They still seem to show up in the Polar app but not reliably.

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