Should you buy a used electric car?

With more coming onto the used market, is now the time to go electric?

The used market for electric cars is pretty attractive. If you’re buying. If you’re selling then it can be a distressing experience as the initial depreciation on many electric cars is proving very high [Fuel Included Editor’s Note: of course with a PCP lease, you get a guaranteed final value and so are protected from unexpected depreciation]. The market seems to feel concerned that technology is moving so fast that an electric car even a few years old may be ‘old tech’ fairly soon, and that is reflected in the prices. Which, if you’re buying and you understand the market, can be very good news indeed.

For example, you can pick up a used Nissan Leaf for under £6000 these days. A car like that will give you free access to London and other zero-emission zones, will cost very little to keep powered up, will be cheap to tax and doesn’t cause pollution – at the tailpipe.

Of course there are things to watch out for. Older cars will almost certainly have less range, so range anxiety really is a thing. And the other anxiety thing is the battery. Will it last? Is it included in the price or is it leased? These are vital questions.

If you buy a more expensive electric car like a Tesla or a BMW i3, then the battery is something you’ve bought along with the rest of the car. Many others are only offered with a leasing deal on the battery, with charge that scale up as mileages mount.

 

 

A Nissan Leaf or a Renault Zoe fall into this group along with many others. Battery lease costs are around £70pcm. And don’t forget you’ll need to add a charger at home. This can be in the £279 to £354 range depending on speed of charge.

So all that is something to factor in while you’re looking at fuelling costs of only about 2p per mile. Maintenance costs can be as little as a quarter what a comparable petrol or diesel car would cost too, so there are definite compensations.

Nissan Leaf

Used prices from: £6000
Real-world range: 60-90 miles
Battery warranty: from 5 years/60,000 miles

The top-selling Leaf can be had with a battery either bought outright or leased for £70pcm with an annual limit of 7500 miles. Later models with 30kWh batteries have a greater range.

BMW i3

Used prices from: £14,000
Real-world range: 80-100 miles
Battery warranty 8 years/100,000 miles

The achingly contemporary looking i3 includes the battery in the price. The looks are backed up by carbonfibre and aluminium, with the battery array low in the floor so it drives well.

Renault Zoe

Used prices from: £5000 (with leased battery)
Real-world range: 70-100 miles
Battery warranty n/a

Second only to the Leaf, the Zoe offers practical space and is a very useful car as well as being quite fun to drive. The leased battery can take a fast charge as another practical bonus.

Read more: Independant

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