Published on October 31st, 2019 | by Cynthia Shahan0
Fresh Buyer’s Guide For Used Electric Cars
October 31st, 2019 by Cynthia Shahan
I drive a used EV. It’s the best car I’ve ever driven. The most energy efficient, lightest footprint vehicle (except my bicycle) I’ve owned, and I love the instant torque. It is smooth and safe. Best of all — it does not smell like gas vehicles, which give me headaches.
No fuel injectors, transmissions, piston rings, oil filters, and so much more that you find you do not have to have with a battery electric vehicle. There is no cluttering of tanks, valves, hoses, fans, and everything else a gas car needs under the hood. The simplicity. There are no expensive timing belts to replace at inconvenient cost and times. And even with plug-in hybrids, the use of all that extra stuff is much less — so much less wear and tear.
There’s one big topic a person still driving a gas-drinking vehicle needs to grasp: total cost of ownership. The real total cost of ownership, the savings on fuel and maintenance, can be hard to impress on someone who hasn’t yet benefited from it. This missing information is keeping more people from exploring used electric cars. And to benefit from it is as simple as charging your cell phone, or even easier.
I wrote this in 2017, and this week the same thing happened again (except I drove a Nissan LEAF back then and now drive a BMW i3): “Yesterday, two women engaged me in conversation asking questions about driving an all-electric car. They were happily surprised when I alleviated a few misconceptions about electric vehicles and I’m certain they will buy one soon. In general, people seem to become much more interested once the facts on driving EVs become clear.”
It’s always timely to look into zero-emissions lifestyles. James Balog explains, in a recent documentary, that we can’t see the air, but we have an incredibly intimate relationship with it. “You fill your lungs with air more than 20,000 times a day.” My shoulders drop with relief every day that I do not have to frequent a gas station.
Like a considerable number of first-time EV drivers, I first drove a leased Nissan Leaf. All of these formerly leased Leafs is one of the reasons there are good deals out there on used EVs.
“The potential to save money on fuel and maintenance is a strong draw for people everywhere,” Plug In America explains.
A significant reason there are deals out that is that the carmakers who understand that The Future is Now are ceaselessly working to improve electric vehicles. Constant improvements to EV batteries, range, and technology make the market cost of these older models quickly affordable. I’m quite happy with my 4 year old used EV — it is space age enough for me and the range is also adequate, even for a road trip from Florida to North Carolina.
Plug In America notes, however, “that buying a used electric vehicle is not exactly the same as buying a used internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle.” In particular, Plug In America shares that one must think about batteries — battery health — and certainly also warranties. “The inclusion of a battery warranty is perhaps the most desirable attribute to look for in a used EV. Examine the warranty provisions carefully to see if you are protected against any deterioration in battery range.”
There are more points to consider, such as having the correct diagnostics run on the battery. Read the whole piece — Plug In America uses great examples. PIA also shares purchase incentives for used EVs and information about the federal EV tax credit. Many state and local incentives lower the effective purchase price of a new EV. PIA also points out the EVs that have been around and available for years. Consumers should be able to find good deals on them — and then start plugging in.
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