As electric vehicles (EVs) become increasingly popular, the number of used EVs in the market is also expected to rise. Although the used EV market is still small, the growth trajectory of the EV sales will make shopping for a used electric vehicle more common and more accessible. However, buying a used EV is not entirely the same as purchasing a traditional car, as charging needs, battery range, depreciation, and tax credits do present unique issues for car shoppers.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about buying a used electric vehicle. We’ll cover the basics and provide you with tips and insights to help you navigate the market and make informed decisions.
1. Research the make and model
Before you begin your search, research the make and model you’re interested in. Determine the average price for the model years you’re considering and factors such as range, battery capacity, and charging speed to help you make your final decision. Additionally, ensure that you check the warranty for the vehicle’s battery, as replacing an EV battery can be costly.
2. Inspect the vehicle
During your test drive of the used EV, make sure you examine the battery’s state of charge, the number of bars, and the range. This will give you an idea of how much battery capacity is left. Pay attention to how long it takes to charge, which may depend on the EV’s model and the type of charger. Furthermore, check the vehicle’s tires, brakes, and suspension, as these components may require more frequent replacement than on a traditional vehicle.
3. Check the maintenance history
Ensure that you ask the previous owner or dealer for all the maintenance records. An EV’s maintenance requirements differ from those of conventional vehicles. Even though there are fewer moving parts, they still require attention like oil changes and air filters. The battery also requires different maintenance such as routine diagnostics of the internal chemistry, which the dealer can perform.
4. Know about tax credits and incentives
Research if there are any federal, state or local tax credits or incentives available for used EVs in your area before buying, as these may impact the purchase price. A used EV can still qualify for some rebates and incentives like income-based rebates and some state incentives.
Used EVs (plus plug-in hybrids and fuel-cell vehicles) purchased for up to $25,000 from a licensed dealer can qualify for up to $4,000 in federal tax credits. Learn more from the IRS.
Many states also have their own tax credits. See what each state offers at Kelley Blue Book.
5. Have a professional check the car
Even if you have gone through all these processes, it is still advised to have the car checked by a professional, an EV mechanic that knows the technicalities of the used EV. They can perform a full check of the electrical system, battery capacity, as well as the car’s maintenance history to ensure that there are no underlying issues or repairs that you may have to take care of in the future.
Buying a used EV may have its challenges, but with the growth of the EV sales market, it is essential to be educated on the nuances of the purchase. As the market grows, there will be more used EVs available, with more make and model choices. Doing your research and looking at the battery’s warranty, checking the maintenance history, understanding the charging infrastructure, knowing about tax credits and incentives, and seeking professional assistance all aid in making an informed decision when buying a used electric vehicle. Remember, making sure your used EV purchase includes a warranty will give you peace of mind and protect your vehicle from unforeseen repairs.