Buying A Used Electric Car: Top Tips

nissan leaf electric car

Electric Cars: The Basics

For those of you new to zero-emission electric driving, we recommend a read of the following articles:

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Should I Buy A Used Electric Car?

With the continued increase in the availability of new electric cars in the UK and globally, it should come as no surprise, that the availability of used electric cars has also increased. In fact, in the UK, used electric cars now command nearly 10% market share for used cars. These include, both, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and battery-electric vehicles (BEVs). For those new to electric driving, a BEV is also referred to as a pure electric car! Interestingly, in the UK the percentage of used BEVs is larger than used PHEVs. A quick look at a leading used car website in the UK:

  • Total used cars on sale: 400,000 +
  • Used battery-electric vehicles (BEVs): 23,000
  • Used plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs): 11,000

Best-selling electric cars like the all-electric Renault Zoe and the all-electric Nissan Leaf feature prominently on the list of used electric cars, but also available are numerous other brands like Volkswagen, Tesla, Jaguar and Fiat electric cars. As the UK electric driving market continues to mature, we can expect the used EV market to continue to develop.

In general, car leasing increases affordability and offers many an opportunity to lease a new electric car. However, for those not keen on leasing a new electric car, and with limited budgets, acquiring a used electric car is an option worth considering. We at e-zoomed strongly encourage consumers (businesses and families) keen on buying a used car, to choose an electric car over a conventional petrol or diesel car. The advantages of electric driving are numerous, and the sooner you migrate to an EV, the better!

In our view, between a used PHEV and a second-hand BEV, where possible, choose a used pure electric car. In our view, BEVs offer far more significant long-term benefits, compared to a plug-in hybrid electric car.

Top 3 Reasons To Buy A Second-Hand Electric Car Vs Used Petrol/ Diesel Car
EVs are cheaper to drive per mile (between 5 pence and 10 pence), compared to petrol or diesel cars
EVs have a lower environmental impact, in particular, lower tailpipe emissions. In fact, BEVs have zero-tailpipe emissions.
EVs offer a smoother driving experience, instant torque and lower noise pollution.

Best Used Pure Electric Cars: Top 5 EV Battery Warranty Up To (%)
BMW i3 8 years or 100,000 miles70%
Tesla Model 38 years or 100,000 miles70%
Nissan Leaf 8 years or 100,000 miles75%
Renault Zoe 8 years or 100,000 miles66%
Kia e-Niro 7 years or 100,000 miles70%

Of course, in general, the due diligence for buying a used car, is the same between an internal combustion engine (ICE) and electric vehicle. However, for electric cars, there are further points of assessment to consider. When in doubt, we encourage always seeking professional assistance in acquiring a used electric car.

Top Tips For Buying A Second-Hand Electric Car
Check the EV real-world range (electric car range is impacted by a number of factors, to include: weather, temperature, road conditions, payload, driving profile and more!). Always take the EV for a test drive, preferably, testing the EV range under as many real-world conditions as possible).
Check EV battery performance/ charging/ degradation (in general, an EV battery will degrade 2.3% of maximum capacity a year).
Check EV battery warranty (in general, most BEVs have an EV battery warranty of 8 years or 100,000 miles. However, PHEVs have a shorter battery warranty profile. Moreover, some of the earlier generation of electric cars offered shorter battery warranty, usually up to 5 years. Also worth checking if the EV battery can be extended, albeit, with an additional payment).
Check service/ maintenance history and costs (this applies to all types of cars, to include petrol, diesel and electric cars. If a car does not have a well documented service history, best to avoid it).
Buy a used EV with as large a battery as possible, for the given budget (the larger the onboard EV battery, potentially, the longer the electric range. In particular, for those considering buying a used plug-in hybrid car. Only buy a PHEV with a real-world practical range, so that, the benefits of electric driving can be leveraged).
Where possible, look for EVs with DC charging capability (in general, most PHEVs do not offer DC charging, while most of the latest BEVs do. It can be the case, that some of the first-generation of electric cars do not offer DC charging capability. So for those keen on buying a used pure electric car, better to identify one with DC charging capability, and preferably 50 kW DC +).

While e-zoomed uses reasonable efforts to provide accurate and up-to-date information, some of the information provided is gathered from third parties and has not been independently verified by e-zoomed. While the information from the third party sources is believed to be reliable, no warranty, express or implied, is made by e-zoomed regarding the accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of any information. This disclaimer applies to both isolated and aggregate uses of this information.

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Ashvin Suri

Ashvin has been involved with the renewables, energy efficiency and infrastructure sectors since 2006. He is passionate about the transition to a low-carbon economy and electric transportation. Ashvin commenced his career in 1994, working with US investment banks in New York. Post his MBA from the London Business School (1996-1998), he continued to work in investment banking at Flemings (London) and JPMorgan (London). His roles included corporate finance advisory, M&A and capital raising. He has been involved across diverse industry sectors, to include engineering, aerospace, oil & gas, airports and automotive across Asia and Europe. In 2010, he co-founded a solar development platform, for large scale ground and roof solar projects to include, the UK, Italy, Germany and France. He has also advised on various renewable energy (wind and solar) utility scale projects working with global institutional investors and independent power producers (IPP’s) in the renewable energy sector. He has also advised in key international markets like India, to include advising large-scale industrial and automotive group in India. Ashvin has also advised Indian Energy, an IPP backed by Guggenheim (a US$ 165 billion fund). He has also advised a US$ 2 billion, Singapore based group. Ashvin has also worked in the real estate and infrastructure sector, to including working with the Matrix Group (a US$ 4 billion property group in the UK) to launch one of the first few institutional real estate funds for the Indian real estate market. The fund was successfully launched with significant institutional support from the UK/ European markets. He has also advised on water infrastructure, to include advising a Swedish clean technology company in the water sector. He has also been involved with a number of early stage ventures.

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