Used electric vehicles can be traded in the popular automotive market


By Philip Reed | Nerdwallet

With used car prices soaring and the cost of gasoline up nearly $ 1 from last year, a used electric vehicle – whether it’s a plug-in hybrid or an all-electric car – could be a real money saver.

The price of used cars has increased 48% year over year, according to the Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index. Today, with a shortage of used cars and fewer new cars being built due to a shortage of microprocessors, the electric car market could offer a double boon: a lower vehicle purchase price and savings. substantial on gasoline.

Manheim doesn’t present trends for hybrid and electric vehicles, but a study by iSeeCars, a website that aggregates used car listings, found that from May 2020 to May 2021, the asking price for plug-in hybrids increased by 5%, and all -electric cars increased by 17%.

A used all-electric car is ideal for use in the city if you have a gasoline-powered car for long journeys or if you don’t mind renting when needed. It could also be a great first car for teens. A plug-in hybrid, on the other hand, can replace any traditional gasoline-powered car.

Here’s what to look for and who might want to buy this growing alternative market.

What is a PHEV? What is an EV?

Plug-in electric vehicles fall into two general categories:

Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. Called PHEV for short, these cars offer limited all-electric range, then automatically switch to gasoline-powered operation. This eliminates the oft-cited “range anxiety” that fully electric cars could trigger. The first PHEV to hit the market was the 2011 Chevrolet Volt, which offered up to 35 miles of all-electric range.

All electric. These vehicles, sometimes referred to as Battery Electric Vehicles, or BEVs, have a large battery that provides all the power. As such, their range is less than that of most gasoline cars. The first mainstream BEV was the 2010 Nissan Leaf, which offered just 73 miles of range before needing a recharge. The current Leaf offers a range of 226 miles.

Now that these electrified cars have been on the market for almost 10 years, there are a variety of vehicles to choose from, both sedans and SUVs (electric pickups will arrive later this year). Excluding Tesla models, there are 52 rechargeable and all-electric 2021 models on the market, according to iSeeCars.

How a used EV could save you money

Lower purchase price. Electric vehicles depreciate rapidly – nearly 52% after three years, according to iSeeCars. This means that electric vehicles that go out of lease, usually after three years, could be a good deal. Prices for plug-in hybrids are a bit higher but still reflect a significant depreciation, according to the iSeeCars study.

Incentives, discounts and benefits. Further reducing the cost of plug-in vehicles are incentives offered by state and local governments. For example, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power offers a rebate of $ 1,500 to its customers who purchase a used PHEV. Other utilities offer discounts to offset the cost of a home charger. Benefits can include access to carpooling lanes and, in some malls, free charging with convenient parking spaces located near store entrances.

Gas savings. A big draw for electric cars, besides the reduced carbon footprint, is fuel economy. A year of gasoline for a 2018 Toyota Camry LE would cost $ 1,500, while a 2018 Prius Prime plug-in hybrid driver would only pay $ 650, according to

Where to find used plug-in vehicles

The cheapest second-hand all-electric vehicles will be older models with limited range; they will be more common in areas where they were sold new, such as California.

You will find low-mileage examples under $ 10,000 for all-electric models such as the Mitsubishi i, Chevrolet Spark, first-gen Nissan Leaf, Fiat 500 e, and electric-powered Smart Fortwo. A budget of $ 20,000 brings in more spacious vehicles with more range, such as the newer Nissan Leaf, Hyundai Ioniq and Chevrolet Bolt.

Among plug-in electric hybrids, the widely available Chevrolet Volt was called an “affordable option” in a June electric vehicle price report from Recurrent Motors. He says the average price for a used Volt is $ 14,600 and 2018 models sell for around $ 20,000.

Used plug-in versions of the Hyundai Ioniq, Toyota Prius Prime and Ford Fusion Energi also cost less than $ 20,000. In some cases, plug-in models of these cars can be cheaper than their regular hybrid counterparts.

Keep in mind that used car prices vary by region, so you’ll need to do your own research to find the best deals.

Before going electric

If you want to buy a used all-electric car, you should probably decide in advance where to charge it. People living in apartments are likely to find charging difficult unless there are power outlets in the parking lot.

For owners, the problem is more easily solved. Since a plug-in hybrid has a much smaller battery, it won’t take long to charge using a typical 120-volt household outlet. But for all-electric vehicles, charging times can be reduced by installing a faster 240-volt charger. The charging station and installation cost $ 1,200, according to home improvement website Fixr.

If you’re new to the idea, take a few minutes to consider whether you should buy an electric vehicle.

Used electric vehicle buying tips

If you decide to venture into the new world of used electrified cars, here are a few more things to consider:

  • The battery in all-electric cars deteriorates over time, providing less range. If possible, fully charge the car before purchasing to see the range available.
  • Plug-in hybrids are less vulnerable to battery degradation.
  • Research available incentives before you buy and factor them into the overall purchase price.
  • Since there are fewer EVs and plugins available, you may have to search a larger area to find the one you want.

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Philip Reed writes for NerdWallet. E-mail: [email protected]. Twitter: @AutoReed.

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