As more and more people enter the car sales market, what to look for when buying a used electric car (2023)

In 2022, with a chip shortage depleting the supply of new cars, a used 2019 Nissan Leaf SV shows up in the parking lot.

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Affordable electric vehicles have been on sale in the US for more than a decade, and data analytics firm Experian said there were about 2.2 million EVs on the road at the end of last year. Electric vehicle sales also continue to grow. As recently as 2021, total battery electric vehicle sales in the US were less than 450,000, but Kelley Blue Book says sales will top 800,000 by 2022 and are expected to top 1 million this year. While the used EV market is still small, the growth trajectory of EV sales means that buying used EVs will become more common and affordable over time, with a wider variety of brands. and models.

In many ways, buying a used EV is like finding any other used car or truck. Does it fit your budget and your lifestyle? Is it reliable and comfortable? But beyond these criteria, EV buyers need to keep in mind some specific considerations related to charging capabilities and range.

Below are some key EV-specific issues to consider.

Charging is still limited in many areas

Currently there are about 145,000 of them.Fuel stationin the US, but only 53,000public gas stationAlthough charging infrastructure is improving, it is still limited in many parts of the country, which could be a problem for people who want to use electric vehicles. While this is an issue with any new or used EV purchase, it's important to understand before you figure out how it might affect your used EV buying decision.

Tom McParland, a Jalopnik contributor who runs auto-buying service Automatch Consulting, said consumers need to determine what range they need and then look for electric vehicles that fill that need. They should also consider the type of charging infrastructure available in their area and whether home charging is feasible, he said.

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Consumer Reports senior energy policy analyst Chris Harto said customers should set realistic expectations. Ask yourself when and where to charge," he said. "If your answer is that you have nowhere to charge at home or at work, you may want to consider a broader range of vehicle types, including hybrids, which offer excellent fuel economy. fuel and low maintenance costs.

Your driving habits and mileage are important

Some expensive EVs have impressive ranges and charging infrastructure can never be an issue e.g.soberair (EPA estimated range: up to 516 miles) andteslaS model (up to 405 miles). However, the more affordable electric vehicles tend to have a shorter range.

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All-electric vehicles with a sticker price of less than $35,000, such asgeneral motorsThe Chevrolet Bolt EV and Hyundai Kona Electric both have an EPA range of nearly 260 miles, but they're unlikely to get that far in real-world driving conditions. This is especially true in cold climates, which interfere with electrochemical reactions within the battery.

EV range will decrease

This is where general battery considerations become more specific when power is applied. The range of electric vehicles can decrease over time.

the battery can be lost5% makes 10%Its power diminishes during the first five years, and then due to a number of factors including age, exposure to extreme temperatures, and fast charging use. If the degradation is excessive, the battery may need to be repaired or replaced, which can be costly.

Batteries are also one of the most expensive parts in an electric vehicle and can cost upwards of $10,000 to replace, but federal regulations require that they be guaranteed for at least 8 years or 100,000 miles, so buyers who buy a BEV with little use may still have some coverage on . Also, even a properly used battery may have enough capacity for your needs.

Exact battery life is difficult to measure

Determining the exact condition of a used BEV battery can be difficult – the US auto industry does not have a standard set of metrics for this measurement. But there are still ways to get an overview of the battery health.

regularly, a Seattle startup that partners with automotive website Edmunds, offers consumers of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles free predictions of remaining battery life based on statistics it collects on mileage, age, age, weather and other factors.

Extended test drives can also give you an idea of ​​your battery's health, as you can monitor how quickly it loses charge. This is especially true if you're dealing with constant highway driving, which tends to drain your battery faster than stop-and-go driving.

As with any used car purchase, it pays to get a professional inspection done. "I generally recommend that consumers visit the service department of the dealership that sold [the EV]," said Ronald Montoya, Edmunds' senior consumer advisory editor. "Compared to independent mechanics, you can be sure that dealer mechanics have received training from the [EV] manufacturer," he said.

Electric cars depreciate faster, but with less maintenance

According to the Kelley Blue Book, electric vehicles tend to depreciate faster than internal combustion engine vehicles. The automotive research firm said three-year-old electric cars retained 63% of their value, compared with 66% for cars with internal combustion engines. The depreciation after five years is even more pronounced, with electric vehicles representing 37% of their initial value and combustion engine cars 46%.

Because of this depreciation, used EVs can be cheaper compared to buying new, but don't be surprised if prices remain high; For starters, many electric vehicles are expensive.

Kelley Blue Book executive editor Brian Moody noted that the average used electric vehicle sold for $42,895 in March. That's down 1.8 percent from February, but still significantly higher than the overall used car market.An average of just over $27,000in the first trimester.

However, the lower upkeep and upkeep costs can help offset the higher purchase price. Consumer Reports found that electric vehicles cost about half the cost of repairing and maintaining gasoline-powered vehicles. "[Electric vehicles] have no shift fluids, and electric motors are less complex than gasoline and diesel engines," notes Benjamin Preston, the group's automotive journalist. "Simply put, there's less waste."

pointed to the neareststudyIt shows that the cost of owning electric vehicles is lower over time than the cost of owning gasoline vehicles. Used EVs save more than new EVs, according to research. This is because depreciation erodes the price premium for EVs, but used vehicle buyers can still save on fuel and maintenance.

The right to a used electric vehicle tax credit

In addition to these benefits, used electric vehicles are also eligible for state and federal incentives.

Used electric vehicles (plus plug-in hybrids and fuel cell vehicles) purchased from authorized dealers for up to $25,000 qualify for a federal tax credit of up to $4,000.Get more information from the tax administration.

Many states also have their own tax breaks.See what each state has to offer at Kelley Blue Book.

Where to change used electric cars

In the used car market, the most expensive models are often worth more.

"The luxury [EV] space is where customers can find great value for their money, especially in the sedan segment," McPallan said. "If you look at cars like the Audi e-tron GT or the Volvo S90 T8 PHEV, you can really use some of the depreciation."

Luxury cars generally fall faster than the mainstream market, he said, adding that changes to the federal tax credit are also affecting the market for luxury electric vehicles. (Among other requirements, the new federal tax credit for plug-in hybrids, fuel cell electric vehicles, and full-battery vehicles applies only to SUVs under $80,000 and cars under $55,000.)

Another attractive option is Tesla's Model 3, which has enough space for a family of four and a range of up to 558 miles. Used Tesla Prices Are Falling Since 2022, Used Model 3Selling for less than $43,000in the first trimester.

The best deals for buyers on a budget include the Chevrolet Bolt EV, Hyundai Kona Electric and Kia Niro EV, which offer a good mix of range and relative affordability, Montoya said.

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"The greatest value is in older, out-of-warranty EVs and relatively inexpensive new EVs," Moody's said.

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As more and more people enter the car sales market, what to look for when buying a used electric car (1)

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As more and more people enter the car sales market, what to look for when buying a used electric car? ›

Studies show it all boils down to three things: availability, reliability, and convenience. Range anxiety is a critical factor for people who consider buying an EV.

What are the key factors influencing consumers purchase of electric vehicles? ›

3 Variable, Model, and Hypotheses
  • 3.1. 1 Willingness to Purchase.
  • 1 Battery Capacity and Driving Range.
  • 2 Infrastructure for Charging.
  • 3 Purchase Cost.
  • 4 Government Policy.
  • 5 Environment Awareness.
  • 6 Social Influence.
  • 7 Fuel Prices.
Mar 8, 2023

What are the key factors for success in the electric vehicle industry? ›

Studies show it all boils down to three things: availability, reliability, and convenience. Range anxiety is a critical factor for people who consider buying an EV.

Why are more people buying electric cars? ›

Factors driving up consumer demand

Several factors are expected to continue to drive consumer demand for EVs over the 2021–31 decade: environmental concerns, greater vehicle choice, improved battery capacity, and cost savings.

What factors influence the supply for electric vehicles? ›

This shift toward electric vehicles is driven by both industry and consumer influences.
  • Urbanization. ...
  • Regulation of pollution and congestion. ...
  • Growing Prevalence of Charging Stations. ...
  • Battery Technology Range Improvements. ...
  • More Choices. ...
  • The Cool Factor.


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