Should I Buy a Used Electric Car?

electric car plugged in. article title: Should I buy a used electric car?

Buying an electric car for the first time is one thing, but what about buying a used electric car? When you’re used to driving gasoline-powered cars, the thought of switching to an electric vehicle (EV) can feel a little intimidating.

Most people know what to look for when they’re shopping for a used car that is gas powered. They also know what to expect maintenance-wise and in gas mileage and safety. On the flip side, shopping electric can feel like shopping in the dark at first.

Fortunately, help is at hand. If you’re thinking about buying a used electric car, here are a few things to consider.

Important Things to Consider

There are different things to consider when it comes to a used electric vehicle that you wouldn’t have to consider with a traditional car. For example, the quality and longevity of used EV batteries.

Doing a bit of due diligence before jumping into buying a used electric car can save you a great deal of time and effort. If you don’t know where to start, consider the following as you research different electric cars:

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1. Battery Life & Range

One of the most important things to think about when buying a used electric car is the quality of the battery and whether or not it’ll need to be replaced in the near future. An electric car’s range (battery life and mileage) typically drops roughly 2% with each year of use. Of course, the exact percentage will depend on the previous owner’s charging and driving habits.

In addition to battery life, you’ll also need to think about how far you need to drive between charges (your range). When you want to know how far a used EV will go, ask to see its range at full charge. Just make sure you understand what the vehicle’s original specifications are (when new) so you can compare it to see how much the battery capacity has actually reduced.

Once you have an idea of how far you’ll be able to drive per charge, you can determine whether or not it’ll be suitable for your driving needs for however long you plan to use it.

PRO TIP: Keep in mind that the older and more generous EV test cycles tend to exaggerate the originally specified range from when the car was brand new. Often this exaggeration is over 30%!

2. Government incentives

Most electric cars come with government incentives in the form of rebates or federal tax credits.

While these rebates are typically focused on new EV models, used EVs may still be eligible for regional incentives or more favorable rates on electricity during off-peak hours.

government incentives for electric vehicles
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3. Maintenance history

Maintenance history is very important when buying any type of used car. On the plus side, electric cars generally require very little maintenance.

However, it’s still important to get your hands on any service records or receipts for past maintenance to ensure that the used electric car was cared for properly and that there were no recalled parts that may affect your used electric vehicle purchase.

Finding a platform that offers certified inspections is also a great idea since a clean bill of health will help provide some peace of mind.

4. Access to EV chargers

Electric cars require a power source to recharge, and there aren’t nearly as many charging stations as there are gas stations just yet. Also, unlike gas-powered cars, electric cars take a little more time to “fuel up.”

If you have a garage or a spacious driveway, installing a home charger will help solve about half of this problem, especially if you’ll mostly just be driving to and from work or locally since you can leave your EV to charge overnight and wake up with a “full tank.”

If you can’t charge at home, you’ll need to make sure that you have access to a rapid charging station that matches your used electric car’s voltage.

Breakdown of EV Chargers:

Level 1: refers to three-pronged household outlets like the ones you would use for your computer or kitchen appliance. Very few electric car users charge their EVs this way simply because it takes too long.

Level 2: preferred by most EV drivers as these chargers provide 240 volts of power and charge using an external device that’s plugged into a receptacle — similar to a clothes dryer. They also get the job done much faster compared to level 1 charging.

sign to identify an electric car charging station
Level 3: also referred to as a DC Fast Charger or rapid charging, is the quickest of them all. For most compact EVs, level 3 chargers can add upwards of 150 miles in an hour, give or take. However, you’ll only find these types of chargers at public charging stations which cost money to use.
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5. Electric bill increases

Keeping in mind that level 2 charging is the most popular way to go for electric car owners, it will affect your electric bill. To estimate what your costs will be, you’ll need to take a look at your current electric bill to determine how many kilowatt-hours (kWh) you already use and how much you pay per kWh.

Since November 2021, the national average for electricity has been roughly 13.7 cents per kWh. This translates to an efficient electric vehicle traveling up to four miles per kWh. So, if you drive an average of 1,000 miles each month you’ll need about 250 kWh to fully charge your EV, which will end up being about $34 or more in addition to what you already pay.

Of course, it all depends on how much electricity costs in your state — which is something to think about if you’re buying a used electric car to save money.

Buying a used car is much less complicated than it seems. We can help make the buying process even less complicated by providing you with access to all the information that’s typically only available at dealerships. If you shop for your next used electric car with Motobyo, you’ll get the support of auto industry experts right at your fingertips.

When you’re ready to shop for a used electric car, we’re here to help.