What to look out for when considering a used electric vehicle

With electric vehicles (EV) becoming more popular among consumers as the technology continues to advance, the EV used car market is beginning to flourish.

However, as EVs are a relatively new and unknown technology compared to the traditional petrol engine car, navigating the used EV market may be quite difficult for many consumers who do not know what to look for in a quality used car.

Like when purchasing any vehicle, knowing what to look for and what questions to ask when buying a used EV is critical for ensuring you drive off in a safe, well maintained vehicle without any underlying potential issues.

So, what should you be looking out for when deciding whether or not to enter the used EV market?

Battery Life

The biggest difference between buying a petrol engine vehicle and an EV is the presence of a battery.

EVs are equipped with a rechargeable lithium battery, similar to one you would find in your phone. Battery sizes and capacities will vary depending on how old it is, but the general life of battery is currently 10-20 years.

Over time, the lithium battery will deteriorate due to a range of factors including age, charging habits and heat. According to a study in the US by Electrek.co, EVs lose on average 2.3 per cent of their capacity every year.

Once it has deteriorated enough, it will need to be replaced with a new battery, a process that can cost several thousand dollars, particularly if the battery is out of warranty or the warranty did not transfer when the original owner sold the vehicle.

Generally speaking, the newer the battery, the more likely it is you will get the most out of the battery capacity without running into unexpected maintenance costs. However, the previous owner’s usage habits will also make a big difference, so finding out as much as you can about the vehicles usage history will be beneficial.

Wear and tear

As EVs rely on an electric battery to set the car in motion, a lot of the general components that require maintenance are no longer an issue.

Parts such as oil and fuel filters, spark plugs, timing belt/chains and exhausts no longer need to be maintained or replaced, which equates to cheaper maintenance costs.

However, that’s not to say there is no maintenance required for EVs. Brakes and brake fluid, coolant and tyres still need to be maintained and replaced over time.

When looking to purchase a used EV, take a look at these parts. It could possibly give some insight into how the vehicle has been used and looked after previously.

Other technology

Another perk found regularly in EVs is the inclusion of interior technology, including infotainment screens, electric seats, digital instrument clusters, and potentially even self-driving technology.

Much like all technology, these systems have the potential to malfunction, become out of date or fail to work.

This is particularly relevant in new EVs, like Teslas, where the infotainment system controls a number of vehicle controls and systems, which means a malfunction may affect the vehicles ability to operate.

Depreciation rate

Due to the advancements in EV technology in recent years, EVs tend to depreciate at a quicker rate than other vehicles.

Looking at the figures of EV models released in the last three years according to Redbook.com.au reveals just how sharply EVs have deteriorated.

The 2017 Tesla Model S P100D, which sold new for $232,402, now costs $105,600, a depreciate rate of 54.56 per cent.

The 2019 Nissan LEAF, priced at $49,990 new, now sells for $36,500, a depreciation rate of 26.99 per cent.

This is great news for consumers looking to get their hands on an EV without paying top dollar, but buyers must still ensure they are making additional considerations such as the state of the battery, mileage and how the vehicle has been treated,

Buying a used EV can be quite a stressful and overwhelming process if you don’t know what you’re looking for. But if you know what you are looking at, there are deals to be had.

If you are thinking about buying a used EV, buying the newest model you can afford is the best way to go.

Source: Savings.com.au | What to know about buying a used electric vehicle

15 June 2020

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