Like conventional used cars, used electric vehicles need regular maintenance, but unlike gas-fueled models, battery packs aren’t as prone to catastrophic failure. The batteries can lose their range over time, but replacing them isn’t expensive. Private sellers and smaller used car dealers are your cheapest option for buying used EVs. Still, you can also find certified pre-owned ones from the manufacturer dealership with low mileage, clean titles, and warranties.
They’re More Affordable
Rather than burning gas, an EV is powered by a strong lithium-ion battery, like a far more complex version of your smartphone or laptop. Like the batteries in those devices, EVs lose some capacity over time – but outright failures are rare. A used EV buyer can usually get a clear picture of a battery’s health by visiting a dealership service center and asking about the battery’s estimated range.
Because they don’t have engines, EVs tend to depreciate lower than their gas-powered counterparts. And if you plan on paying cash, that lower sticker price will save you thousands of dollars on the car’s initial purchase. Plus, you may qualify for state or power utility incentives that could drop the price even more. And since EVs like the used Tesla Model 3 for sale are more likely to be driven in urban and suburban areas with plentiful charging stations, that means less wear-and-tear on the tires, suspension, and other vehicle parts.
They’re More Versatile
Electric vehicles have few mechanical components, making them less expensive to maintain. Plus, there’s no oil to change or coolant to replace. One big EV maintenance concern is the battery, however. Like all batteries, EVs lose capacity over time, especially if they’re frequently fast-charged or driven in extreme climates. This can eat into the vehicle’s range, meaning you’ll have to refuel more often.
Fortunately, you can get a tool that plugs into a used EV and tells you how much capacity it has left. You can also ask sellers how the car was treated and see if it has an odometer that records how far the vehicle has been driven. Despite these advantages, used EVs still hold less value than gas-powered cars, according to Kelley Blue Book. But you can find great deals if you’re smart about what you buy. Just be sure to avoid EVs with a lot of mileage on the odometer or that are out of warranty. These aren’t worth the extra cost, even if you’re looking for a bargain.
They’re More Durable
The big fear people have about buying used EVs is that they’ll have to replace the battery. That’s understandable because batteries are expensive and can be a huge hassle to replace if they fail. However, you can find a used EV with a relatively new battery if you do homework.
EVs have fewer mechanical parts than choice home warranty george foreman gas-powered cars, so their reliability should be better. Indeed, Consumer Reports data shows that most EVs have excellent owner satisfaction ratings and hold up well through production years. Additionally, many used EVs are still under warranty; most warranties include a battery guarantee. That means you can get the reassurance of a battery replacement warranty and save money in the long run.
They’re More Reliable
A primary concern with electric cars is how long the battery will last. EVs are not the same as traditional cars, and it’s hard to upgrade them cost-effectively if there is a problem with the technology once the vehicle has been built.
The good news is that battery degradation should be insignificant for most used EV buyers. EV batteries degrade as time passes but are slower to drop in capacity than cellular phone batteries. If you are looking at a used EV, ensure the owner has provided a history of the car’s battery health and whether it was subjected to extreme weather or frequent fast charging.
Generally, it’s a good idea to stick with certified pre-owned electric vehicles from dealerships. The original car manufacturer’s warranty usually backs them and has extra battery protection if something goes wrong. These extras can help you avoid unexpected maintenance costs and save on interest rates for financing. If you expect to keep the car for several years or more, this is a brilliant move.
They’re More Fun to Drive
It’s hard to beat the exhilarating feeling of accelerating an electric vehicle as it zips down the road, squeezing every last drop out of its lithium-ion battery. That’s even more true if the car has been driven on a few long trips at highway speeds. (Research shows sustained cruising drains batteries much faster than stop-and-go driving.)
Another perk to buying a used EV is that it may already have those cool little green “e-plaques” on the back that let drivers take advantage of exemptions from traffic laws and other perks. And if you find an older model with an intact battery, you might qualify for federal or state rebates that effectively slash the car’s price. Although EVs typically have lower resale values than gas vehicles, they tend to retain more value over time. So you might end up paying a premium for an EV, but after depreciation, fuel, maintenance, and registration costs, you’re likely to save money in the long run. That’s especially true if you buy a used EV.