Buying a Used EV: What You Need To Know

Over the past few years, we’ve seen electric cars go from minor occurrence to major force on our roads. The numbers of people choosing to purchase an electric vehicle continue to rise, as more becomes known about the particularities of ownership, the teething problems are ironed out, and the strengths of the technology become more widely known.

Thanks to this, electric vehicles are becoming easier to find second-hand now. Whereas previously they were relatively rare, picking one up is now much more of a possibility. So, if you’re in the market for a used vehicle, should you be looking to go electric? What do you need to check? We take a look:

EV charging

Lifespan Of Your Battery

Unlike a conventional diesel or petrol motored car, the big unknown with electric cars tends to be around the battery life. While many manufacturers offer incentives or guarantees to new owners, second purchasers don’t tend to be as well protected. The cost of replacement battery packs for EVs is a big unknown if you haven’t owned an electric car before. It can be hard to determine because a lot of it depends on the previous owner and how they have treated the battery – with regular charging and discharging, there’s no reason a pack cannot last a decade, but it does depend on how the owner has treated it. Lack of use is much more of a threat to an EV’s battery pack than overuse, so that old cliché of ‘one careful lady owner’ may actually become a negative in this scenario. EVs now tend to have circuitry systems that prevent the battery from becoming one hundred percent depleted, so this isn’t as much of an issue on newer models. Bear in mind that quite a few makes now lease the batteries rather than expecting you to pay for outright replacements- Renault and Nissan models especially. Remember to factor in the cost of monthly battery leasing, but this may be preferable to the thousands a replacement pack costs. There are diagnostics you can run pre-purchase with a scanning tool – here is the best intro to OBD II scanners.

Running Costs and Reliability

Fear of the unknown – and specifically how reliable EVs are in the long-term – has put off many a buyer. But as the first EVs have been running over here since 2011, there’s now a much clearer picture of their long-term performance. The critical thing is that EVs have fewer moving parts than conventional vehicles – which means there’s less to go wrong. Brakes, suspension and steering, should have the same lifespan as any other powered vehicle, and you won’t encounter higher replacement costs. This parts replacement cost guide may give an idea of rough costs.

About Your Test Drive

If you arrange a test drive for a used electric vehicle, keep an eye on the dash so you can see how quickly – if at all noticeably – the battery life is depleting. If you have the option to, and you’ve never had an EV before, try and take a test drive over a day or two. It’s a good idea to see what the advertised range of the vehicle is and take into account how your experience adds up (accounting for natural depreciation) and check that the process is smooth to recharge and easy to fit in with your lifestyle.

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Copyright 2018 Hybrid and Electric Car News

Sebastian James

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