Everyone knows that if you want to get a good deal on a car, you have to buy used. Cars seem to lose value the second you drive off the lot, so buying used is a no brainer to get the best car for your money. But it can be scary trying to buy a used EV if you’ve never owned one. So today we’ll take a look at what you need to look out for so you can find the best deals on used Electric Cars.

Electric cars are expensive, right?

The biggest roadblock in the way of EV adoption is currently the price. We have seen many affordable options hit the road in the past few years, most notably the Tesla Model 3. But consumer perception is yet to catch up and electric cars are still seen as very expensive, luxury options. While you might expect this to be reflected in the used market, this couldn’t be further from the truth. 

Electric cars have a tendency to depreciate in value quite a bit faster than gas-powered cars. There are many reasons for this, like the fact that sellers have already gotten a fairly hefty tax credit for their purchase. 

There’s also the fact that demand for EVs and subsequently used EVs is fairly low. Many people just don’t know how great of a deal they can get.

If you know what to look for a used electric car can be a fantastic deal. Edmunds reports that buying a used electric car can be on average 43 to 72 percent cheaper than buying new.

Getting the features you want

We all know the sting of buying a cool new phone, only to see a new phone release just a few weeks later with even more features. While this is a risk you take when buying anything, it’s something especially important to consider when buying an electric car. With EVs just passing their infancy, the market is moving forward and innovating at an impressive rate.

Battery capacity and efficiency have been making great strides. It’s hard to believe how little range cars had just a few years ago with every new electric car announced boasting over 300 miles of range. Just a few years ago it wasn’t uncommon to see cars with less than 100 miles of range. While this might be enough for you if you only need to get around town, all the chargers in the world couldn’t make that road trip enjoyable. But for a steep enough price cut, that concession might be worth it for some. 

Electric cars are also getting smarter very quickly. With autonomous driving tech making such massive improvements in the past few years it’s impossible to tell where things are going. If you want to take advantage of all of the newest tech it’s important to find a car already equipped with the sensors needed for this tech. Tesla famously includes the sensors needed for its autopilot functionality on all of its new cars. If you want to purchase autopilot functionality it can be added with a simple software update. And as this technology progresses making our cars even smarter those same sensors will still be used.

Battery degradation

The biggest risk when buying a used electric car is battery degradation. Batteries lose range over time, and all-electric cars will eventually need their batteries replaced. But this may not be such a problem. EV batteries are generally expected to last at least a decade, so you might not have to foot that bill unless you hold onto your car for quite a while. 

While decreased range is something to worry about, batteries still typically hold 75-80 percent of their original capacity after 5 years. This battery degradation tends to be much worse in warmer climates, so be careful and confirm the battery’s capacity if you live in a hotter place.

While the long term performance of batteries is an unknown factor, we’ve seen the Nissan Leaf on the road for over 10 years. Even though it’s hard to tell exactly when the battery on a used EV might need to be replaced, it seems fairly safe to put your confidence in a newer used EV.

The final word

While there are a lot of things to look out for when buying a used EV, it’s a great way to find a deal. Just make sure you do your research and choose a car that you’ll be happy to own. Find all the features that are important to you, and decide which concessions you are willing to make. If you do this and patiently look for the car with everything you need you can find a car you’ll be very happy with and avoid buyer’s remorse.

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