Top tips for buying a used EV

Sales of used EVs grew by 27% in 2018, and at EV Experts we’re certainly seeing strong demand. We’re even seeing some used EVs appreciate in value, such as the 2015/2016 Renault Zoe, as demand for these models is running ahead of supply.

Common concerns among drivers that come to us looking for a used EV include range anxiety and how accurate the dashboard range predictors are.  In fact, these tend to be reliable as they reflect recent mileage achieved (taking into account driving style) and the ambient temperature.  Most EVs will indicate on the dashboard when battery draw is high and have ECO modes to prevent excessive loss of range.

A common misconception is that the battery could fail and need replacing. Over time, it’s possible that a battery cell may fail, but this is far from being a disaster. EV batteries are a series of thousands of cells and it is usually cost effective to repair the cell, often covered by manufacturer warranty.   Degradation has been nowhere near the level that many fear and over time has proved to only affect the vehicle’s range by a small percentage.  For example, the range of your ten year old EV might be 73 miles rather than the 80 achieved when new.

Top tips…

My advice for buyers looking for a pre-owned EV is to look out for the following five things:

  • I’m sometimes cautious of low mileage EVs as I’ve seen examples of battery damage through insufficient charging or an EV being left unused for long periods of time. However, there is no real evidence that the way an EV has been charged has a long-term effect on battery health.
  • Different models have different ways of displaying battery health. Your EV retailer should be able to demonstrate to you if any degradation has taken place since new.
  • An EV is still a car! Sounds obvious, but the condition of tyres, brakes and suspension is as important as battery health.  Intermittent or a lack of servicing may affect manufacturer warranties and all but the emission elements of the MOT test are mandatory for an EV.
  • If the residual value of the car is important, consider the saleability of the model’s spec. Features like a satnav, wheel design and colour can all significantly affect the price of an EV.
  • EV charging cables are expensive: check that at least one form of cable – either 3-pin or type 1/2 is included and tested.