- Used EVs tend to be affordable in the resale market because older models suffer an accelerated rate of depreciation.
- You’ll find many older used EVs that have been driven a relatively low number of miles.
- If you only have modest needs they can be cheap to buy and economical to run.
- An older EV can suffice as second or third vehicle in a family’s fleet, and serve as an affordable means to get to and from a commuter rail station or for making local shopping trips.
- It’s expected that automakers will have battery refurbishment programs in place down the road to extend the useful life of older EVs without breaking the bank. Nissan has such a program available to Leaf owners in Japan, and is reportedly considering a similar program for the U.S.
Is Buying an Older Used Electric Vehicle Worth It?
As with buying a used traditional gas-powered car, there are tradeoffs made when purchasing older used EVs. When deciding, it is important to weigh pros and cons.
Important Strategies for Buying Used EVs
Using Battery Life as a Negotiation Tool
- Electric car batteries degrade over time regardless of use, and even moreso when exposed to significant temperature swings or repeated charges.
- Looking at a detailed report from the dealership can help you determine battery health. You can also fully charge the car and compare the estimated range to the original rating.
Check if the Battery was Replaced
- Although a rare case, battery failure in an EV is possible.
- Check with the seller and their documentation of the vehicle to help determine if a battery replacement was ever performed.
- It could be the case that Carfax or AutoCheck vehicle history reports have documentation of a battery replacement service on the vehicle.
Check the Amount of Remaining Battery Warranty
- All mainstream automakers included an extended warranty coverage for battery packs beyond what was provided for the rest of the vehicle.
- Many used electric cars’ batteries will still be under warranty.
- Most battery-coverage covers either 8 years or 100,000 miles from initial purchase, whichever comes first.
- Contact the automaker’s customer service department and provide the VIN to ensure the warranty is transferable, and when it expires.
Verify Maintenance History
- Always ask previous owners or dealers about maintenance history.
- Electric cars require little maintenance, so do not be alarmed at only getting a few receipts.
- be sure to use Kelley Blue Book’s tool to know what recall items may affect your used electric vehicle purchase.
Locate the Battery’s Charging Capacity
- Tesla doesn’t use model years for its updates; you’ll want to view the car’s information through its touchscreen. For other automakers, the VIN holds information that a dealer can provide regarding configuration.
- The dealer can tell you if the car came equipped with faster-charging capability and can determine the battery’s original capacity.