Buying a used electric car can save you money, especially when the cost of new EVs is much higher than their traditional counterparts. But if you have never owned one EV before, there are a few things to look out for. Buying a used electric vehicle requires some different thinkings since they are not exactly the same compared to gasoline vehicles.
Read on this post and do a bit of research ahead of time will help you find the right used electric car. Let’s take a look at the seven essential tips when buying a used electric car.
Seven essential tips for buying a used electric car
- 1. Determine the battery range you need
- 2. Pay attention to the battery’s health
- 3. Ask about battery warranty
- 4. Consider your accessibility to EV chargers
- 5. Think of your driving style and the weather factor
- 6. Research government incentive
- 7. Decide to buy a used EV from a car dealer or directly from the owner
1. Determine the battery range you need
Over the past decade, the electric car industry develops rapidly. In the early days, some EVs were only able to hit 160 kilometers on a full charge, while today’s Tesla Model 3 can travel as far as 423 km on a single charge.
You will need to decide the range you really need. While 400 kilometers seems great, a used electric car with a range of 150 kilometers might work if you plan to use your EV for commuting. Figure out how much range you really need can save money and narrow down the right options for you.
2. Pay attention to the battery’s health
Lithium-ion batteries tend to degrade over time no matter how much the battery got used. For a used EV, the battery age will affect how far you are able to drive. The more a battery degrades, it can hold less charge, your battery range could be affected as a result. Don’t expect a 100 percent battery life report on a used electric car, but if you are buying a used electric car for commuting, a shorter battery range should not be an issue.
Although a car dealership’s service department can give you a detailed report on battery health, a used EV’s battery degrades based on a number of factors. That includes the operating temperature, the way the battery charges, or overcharging, you can’t really know all these factors just by checking the car. In addition, not all EV batteries are the same, some automakers make better batteries than others. Take Tesla as an example, its batteries still can hold more than 90% of their full capacity after driving 320,000 kilometers, which means the battery degradation is less an issue if you go with a used Tesla.
3. Ask about battery warranty
While battery degradation might be a problem for buying a used EV. The good news is, extended warranty coverage for battery packs is included by all mainstream automakers, so many used electric cars will still be under warranty.
Most of the battery warranty coverages run for 160,000 kilometers or eight years after the initial purchase, whichever comes first. While not all warranties are transferable to subsequent owners, you can contact the automaker with the VIN (vehicle identification number) to confirm if the warranty expires and if it’s transferable.
4. Consider your accessibility to EV chargers
Whether you go with a new or used EV, you will absolutely need a charging station for recharge. You may use public chargers if your location allows you to do so, or plug your EV directly into a wall outlet which will take significantly longer to recharge. These aren’t the most convenient options or it takes longer to recharge time. While the public chargers aren’t as common as gas stations, you need to decide if you need to install a charger at home. However, if you part your EV on the street or an apartment garage, you probably can only go with public chargers.
5. Think of your driving style and the weather factor
An important factor to consider when you buy a used EV is your driving style, which will have an effect on the range in EV directly. For example, you will use less energy if you accelerate gently.
As for the weather factor, cold or hot weather has a negative effect on battery life. The best temperature range for electric-car batteries is at around 70 degrees Fahrenheit, extreme heat or extreme cold can reduce the range. In Canada, where we have a long winter in most of the provinces, electric vehicles batteries are less effective and have a shorter range during the cold weather. In addition, EVs are not the same as gasoline cars, you cannot travel with an EV with a depleted battery. In other words, your EV takes time to charge, that’s the constraint for all EV owners, regardless of new or used EV, which means you need to plan your trips ahead of time.
6. Research government incentive
The government of Canada offers $2,500 to $5,000 incentives to encourage people to buy electric cars. Depending on where you live, there are also various provincial incentives available. While most of the EV incentives are applied to new EVs, some apply to used electric cars. While you may not be able to benefit from the full amount, drivers in Ontario are eligible for $1,000 toward the purchase of a used fully electric car that has a resale sticker price below $50,000 CDN. Make sure you do your search and check out how much incentive you could get exactly before making your final decision.
7. Decide to buy a used EV from a car dealer or directly from the owner
There are more and more used EVs available on the market. Buying a used EV from a dealership or privately are both worth looking into. You can try to find a vehicle that still has a valid manufacturer’s warranty if your budget allows it.
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