The Trend Of Cheaper And Cheaper Used Electric Vehicles Continues

4 months ago by Inside EVs Staff 70

You May Be Able To Find A Used Tesla Model S At About Half the Price Of A New One – Some Electric Vehicles Offer Even Greater Savings

As we reported a month ago, many used electric vehicles are coming off lease or are being traded in, and more and more those plug-ins are eventually hitting auction houses at dirt cheap prices. The Fiat 500e was auctioning as low as $4,000 and even some Tesla Model S vehicles were as low as $30,000. While you won’t get to take advantage of the $7,500 federal rebate, it seems that these vehicles’ depreciation can be your friend.

A "Few" Off-Lease Nissan LEAFs

A “Few” Off-Lease Nissan LEAFs

Fast forward to today and many more of these vehicles are now available at dealerships. Since dealers may have picked them up at incredible auction prices, or they just struggle to sell EVs over ICE vehicles, the prices are surprising.

U.S. News Best Cars ran a blog post recently with real market value “average price paid” information on a myriad of used EVs. There is also detailed information regarding each vehicle, that we don’t feel the need to share here. But, check out the prices below to get an idea of  what people are paying per specific model years:

  • 2016 Fiat 500e, $6,333-$8,022
  • 2013 Smart Fortwo ED, $10,619-$11,355
  • 2011-2013 Chevrolet Volt, $12,398-$18,422
  • 2012-2013 Nissan LEAF, $13,896-$16,749
  • 2015 Volkswagen e-Golf, $15,845-$18,652
  • 2015 Kia  Soul EV, $18,345-$21,512
  • 2013-2015 Ford Focus Electric, $20,717-$24,475
  • 2014 BMW i3, $27,003-$30,287
  • 2013-2014 Tesla Model S, $42,192-$57,403

The effect of obscenely low lease rates (thanks to the federal and some state credits) on the more inexpensive plug-in vehicles is certainly showing up on the used market.

Obviously, you can’t get some of these vehicles in all areas, prices will vary, and some deals are much better than others. As we pointed out before, the Fiat deals have been ridiculously cheap, while a used Chevrolet Volt has always been a top choice. Keep in mind that the older Tesla Model S sedans come with lifetime free supercharging (which you have to pay for now), and will have availability to continual over-the-air software updates, which should help to now keep their residuals higher than other offerings.

Source: U.S. News & World Report

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73 responses to "The Trend Of Cheaper And Cheaper Used Electric Vehicles Continues"

  1. Tom says:

    Your friends in Florida.
    http://www.offleaseonly.com/
    2015 Leaf with under 15,000 miles for $9000

    1. (⌐■_■) Trollnonymous says:

      With the LEAF, one usually shops by how many bars are left, then they check how many miles driven.

      1. Tom says:

        All the Leafs on that site would be under battery warranty.

      2. Chris says:

        Not to mention that the 2015 batteries have been shown to be much more reselient than older models.

    2. Charlie says:

      Not too good of a deal, not a fan of their business model. Overheated batteries, left depleted for months, maximum SOCs at 60% or less… really badly battered EV cars on their lots.

      1. Ijmijon says:

        These are Retail Prices. Even at Wholesale prices this is a Bad Idea..$30 Grand for a Beat Up Used Tesla with Diminished Batteries is too much Money ((($18,000 Tops on a Good Day))), Only good thing is the Free Charging ..Add 5/12 Grand & get a Nice New Model 3 & get the Rebate too..

  2. Bob Nickson says:

    At least for the Leaf, these prices seem far too high.

    I just did a nationwide U.S. search for 2012 and 2013 Leafs, all zip codes, on cars dot com. Of the more than 1,000 used Leafs listed, the low was $5,699 and there were only two cars that were more than $13,000.

    1. BenG says:

      Yeah, strange how far off they are with the Leaf prices.

      1. Vexar says:

        No kidding. Ebay listings show a Leaf as low as $8k I’ve seen. And where is the Fiat??? You can almost pick one up for $5.00 and it comes with a free sandwich.

        1. SJC says:

          Cars.com has 131 LEAF in L.A. for under $8000,

    2. David Galvan says:

      Agreed.

      My 2014 Nissan Leaf was totaled in a car accident back in September of 2016. My insurance company surveyed used 2014 Leafs in my region (Los Angeles) with similar mileage, and gave me a settlement of $11,700.

      So, at least in the L.A. area, a reasonable price for a used 2014 Leaf with 12 bars and 37k miles was $11,700.

    3. Ted says:

      Actual used prices are even less than many of those shown. Just check out a website like cars dot com or Autotrader

  3. SJC says:

    A used EV is a good opportunity for a second car. Two car families can have a fuel car and an EV. Once the word gets out on savings the neighbors might get interested.

  4. tedfredrick says:

    After rebates I paid $9500 for my Ford Focus Electric. Bought a new 2014 in 2016. I see many in Autotrader new for $13K

    1. bitguru says:

      “Plenty of used FFEs for under $10k…and new 2016s for $18k.”

      I bought a used 2013 for $10,600 a few months ago. But if can get a new 2016 for $10.5K ($18K less $7.5 federal tax credit) that would have been a better deal.

      When I priced new 2016 models they were closer to $28K, but that was before the 2017s were out.

  5. Alan says:

    This is what happens when battery replacement costs after the 8-year warranty period is cost prohibitive.

    Or when the EV is not as reliable as an ICE vehicle and require more costly repairs down the road.

    Informed buyers will weigh the fuel savings (less electricity cost) against the upkeep after the warranty is over.

    1. bill howland says:

      Informed Buyers will buy a 2012 volt like I did for 27% of the new sticker price. The battery in the car is designed to last 10 years/150,000 miles and the car is just a hybrid after that.

      If you live in an area of cheaper electricity it is a no brainer, and has nothing to do with what you said because little is likely to go wrong, and the car still had at LEAST half its life left.

      1. Kevin C. says:

        We have some of the cheapest rates in the Country. .085/kWh.
        Have you heard anything about 2014 Volts to be concerned about? There’s two in my neighborhood for between $14.5k-$16.4k with 30k and 45k miles.

        1. Bill Howland says:

          Yeah, 8 1/2 cents/ kwh is not bad. 2014 volt should be fine, as well as you get as a bonus a slightly larger battery for all electric range.

          The car should be a great value. Just change the oil every other year, and change the coolant loops every 5 years.

          1. Kevin C. says:

            Hey thanks Bill.
            I’ve been itching to get rid of our 2001 Honda Insight gas-guzzler for years!

            I’m certainly open to be a combination Volt-Bolt household too. In good time.

            1. alohart says:

              “2001 Honda Insight gas-guzzler” 🙂 Still the most fuel-efficient mass-produced gasoline vehicle ever sold in the U.S., but, yes, it does use a bit of gasoline unlike a BEV. We also own a 2014 BMW i3 BEV. I have read about several purchases of 2014 i3 BEV’s for less than $20k, so depreciation has been significant, but we plan to keep ours, so depreciation losses are paper losses only at this point.

              Driving our Insight feels crude and noisy compared with our i3, so we, too, will be selling our Insight after having enjoyed it for 15 years.

              1. Kevin C. says:

                When gas was near $4/gallon, filling up the Insight didn’t seem too terrible.
                Driving it today is like riding around in very aerodynamic go cart. 🙂
                It’s been remarkably reliable though. Honda even replaced it’s battery pack 8 years ago for free.

                With only about 17000 ever produced, it has been elevated to a much deserved Cult status.
                I hope your enjoying your i3!

      2. Alan says:

        I was perusing the Tesla Motor Club site and some owners have had so many issues with their vehicles.

        Good to know most cars aren’t going to be like that.

        1. pjwood1 says:

          Important to seperate issues that taKe Teslas off the road vs. the smaller stuff that makes up most of the complaints on the Tesla website.

          1. Alan says:

            The one major issue that could take a Tesla out of the road — drive train unit issues.

            I looked up what it is, and it’s really the battery, motors, inverter, gearbox:
            http://www.teslarati.com/like-need-tesla-drive-unit-replacement/

            I think most have been fixed but there are owners who’s had to change theirs 3 or 4 times already because of the milling noise.

            And I wouldn’t only be concerned with issues that would get my car off the road. I’d also be wary of repairs that will cost 2-3x more than with other car makers because that will render any gasoline savings nil.

            Don’t get me wrong. I’d love for Tesla to succeed and I put a reservation deposit but I would rather get a low maintenance EV if the Model 3 will be costly to maintain down the road.

            1. Nix says:

              Keep in mind that Tesla only did whole drivetrain swaps to fix this issue because it was convenient for them to do it that way. You don’t actually need a new drivetrain to fix that old milling problem.

              It is only a matter of taking things apart and replacing a washer. If this is needed past the warranty period, it won’t require a drivetrain swap, just a drivetrain repair.

              1. pjwood1 says:

                Exactly, and the internet is reporting fewer swaps, as if it has been resolved. But I get the point, that it is Tesla’s doing to employ auto-door handles and falcon wing doors, and how used, out of warranty, ownership can eat into the savings of going electric.

    2. Alonso Perez says:

      There is no reliability issue for these cars, except loss of capacity for early Leafs in hot climates. Part of the loss of value is the federal credit, as it is discounted from the original cost of the car, changing the true baseline.

      Another part is that improvements are coming at a fast pace with bigger batteries for just about all models, or outright new models (like Volt 2.0, or the expectation of new models (upcoming Leaf 2.0). So older EVs are a bit like perfectly working old computers. Even if still useful to owners with a good fit driving cycle, the allure of newer models makes them less valued.

      1. Alan says:

        You are so right Alfonso.

        Government credits and smaller target market with about100 mile range for many of these cars.

        I think with the Bolt, depreciation will be a lot less if batteries are proven to last 15 or 16 years.

      2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        “There is no reliability issue for these cars, except loss of capacity for early Leafs in hot climates.”

        And some not-so-early Leafs, too. The problem has been somewhat ameliorated with the “lizard” battery pack, but that hasn’t changed the fact that Nissan relies on passive cooling and warming for its battery packs. That just ain’t gonna cut it as the EV revolution moves forward.

        If Nissan wants its Leaf sales to return to what they were a very few years ago, if they want the new Leaf to be able to compete with such cars as the Bolt EV and the Ioniq Electric, then they are going to have to put a liquid cooling system into the next-generation Leaf.

        1. Nix says:

          They will also need liquid cooling if they want to do 100+ kW fast charging.

    3. Bob bailey says:

      The battery degradation warranty on all LEAFs, up to the ’16s with the 30 battery, and all 2017s is 5 years and 60K miles from the In Sewrvice Date. Whichever occurs first. Period.

  6. Stan Morris says:

    We purchased a 2011 Leaf with a new battery for $8,000

    1. ricegf says:

      Was the new battery the lizard variety? That sounds like a good deal if so!

      Our 2012 Leaf SL has 10 of 12 battery bars after 30,000 miles, with a comfortable 60 mile range, plenty for driving around town. It’s very comfortable and inexpensive transportation.

      1. Stan says:

        We had a leased 2012 Leaf, but we gave it back in December 2016, planning to wait and buy a Bolt. But the deal for the 2011 was too good to pass up. Our 2012 Leaf had lost one bar at 16K miles. In 2014 we received a free level 2 home charger installed by Hitachi as part of a EV usage test, and we have a solar array, so an electric car is a no-brainer.

  7. Ken Sherman says:

    I purchased a 2015 Fiat 500e with 18k miles for $7,999 in Florida. 2013’s are going for $7k.

    1. Eduardo Pelegri-Llopart says:

      The 500e is a great little car, enjoy it!

    2. WadeTyhon says:

      Fiat of McKinney, a local dealer in the Dallas TX area, is selling and servicing Fiat 500e’s as well. Great to see and I hope people interested in the car go support their efforts!

  8. hsparra says:

    It seems like the Volt actually does reasonably well. According to KBB a 2011 Chevy Impala LTZ in very good condition goes for around $8500 from a private party and $9K-$11.8K from a dealer. A new 2017 Impala Premier starts a little above $35K, around the starting price of a Volt. You can argue how equivalent they are but they are both Chevys and both around $35K before adding options. A 2013 Impala LTZ is basically $11K-$14K from a dealer.

    1. BenG says:

      Yep, I when I was shopping for a used plug-in last summer, you definitely paid more for a Volt than for a Leaf. Part of that extra depreciation is the different size of the federal tax credit for gen 1 Volt vs Leaf, mirrored, I think, by larger state incentives for the Leaf where available, i.e. Georgia, the closest state to my home that had extra state incentives.

      But the other part is that the hybrid Volt offers no range anxiety and ability to travel the country at will, even if the battery becomes significantly degraded. I could have gotten a 2014 Leaf with ~15k miles for what I ended up paying for my 2012 Volt with 34k miles.

  9. Nix says:

    The trend towards cheaper used EV’s shouldn’t be surprising. The oldest EV’s keep getting older each year. And just like ICE cars, they get cheaper each year.

    By the way, the Wholesale numbers in the previous story had a couple of problems. First, the Fiat numbers showed the lowest prices, but not the median or average prices of Fiats being sold. Yes, you can find units sold at auction at those low $$. But the typical Fiat sold for more. They didn’t show those sales, just the cheapest ones.

    The other issue was that the Tesla auction numbers didn’t specify what battery size they were. The super cheap sales were likely 60’s, because the only P85 went for significantly more. They didn’t show that sale either.

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      “The trend towards cheaper used EV’s shouldn’t be surprising. The oldest EV’s keep getting older each year.”

      Just what I was thinking. With few exceptions, the oldest PEVs (Plug-in EVs) are from December 2010, so the average age of the entire PEV fleet is increasing substantially every year, and will do so for several more years. This will continue until most of the oldest cars are being permanently “retired” to the scrapyard every year.

      It’s not exactly “news” that older used cars sell for less.

  10. WadeTyhon says:

    Spark EV prices are very good right now and lots are available. When I bought my spark 2 years ago from carmax, I had about 5 to choose from nationwide. Currently there are about 100! (Me thinks a lot of new Bolt owners, perhaps?)

    https://www.carmax.com/car/13506265

    Also for anyone in the Dallas area who is wary about getting a 500e but would like one, Fiat of McKinney, TX keeps used 500es in stock, has charging stations on site, and is certified for warranty and repair service.

  11. William says:

    I have a Clean well maintained 2013 Leaf SV/ DC fast charge, with all 12 bars and 39,999. Mi. Any body in LA, Ca. with $7 K can have a Clean Ride. Lots of great deals can be found if you search private party listings. Craig’s list has a lot of similar fantastic deals on gently used 36 – 48 month old Nissan Leafs. Get a 12 bar car if your shopping for the Leaf.

    1. q says:

      there’s a few 12-bars for $6k in my area too. it’s good news. means access to EV is still on its way to permeating the whole market 🙂

  12. Spoonman. says:

    Plenty of used FFEs for under $10k…and new 2016s for $18k.

  13. Murrysville EV says:

    This is terrible news for the new EV market.

    You can’t have it both ways – demanding $35k, 200-mile EVs, while celebrating the fact that older versions lose 75% of their value in 3 years.

    Why would anyone buy new (says the Model 3 reservist)?

    1. Jay Cole says:

      Hrm, kinda/not really

      The low residuals on plug-ins that have a MSRP of around 30k can mostly be explained due to the effect of the $7,500 fed credit (and sometimes a few more thousand at the state level).

      ie) Ford has a $129, $0 down on 2016 Focus Electrics, and you can pick up a 500e now for $69 a month with $2,500 down, or a LEAF for $99 with $1,500 down

      So with that kind of pricing availability, the incentive to buy a used plug-in at all is fairly muted…especially given the amount of used inventory that floods into the market each month.

      On the positive side, people who otherwise have no financial means to buy any new or slightly used cars now have the ability to drive electric.

      1. MTN Ranger says:

        I can pickup a brand new 2017 Leaf S 30Kwh for around $12,500 after $7500 tax credit and $10,000 NC Leaf discount program. That’s a better deal than a 2012 Leaf with 40k miles for around $9-10k. The incentives are really good.

        1. Just_Chris says:

          And there you have it, In Australia a 2012 leaf with 22,000 km on the clock will cost you $27,000 AUD ($21,000 USD). More than you are paying for a brand new leaf.

          http://www.berwicknissan.com.au/stock/used/nissan/leaf

          Compare that to the US, sub $10k USD, and you get an idea of the effect of the tax credits and incentives. The price of a used car will always be dependent on the actual price of a new car.

          My opinion is that we should be winding back the carrots and moving to a more stick based incentive system. I think that as electric cars become more affordable and there is more choice (note we are not 100% there yet) we should be increasing taxes on ICE vehicles and fuel. My opinion is that there is a fairly large amount of choice in the USA for cars above $50k. I don’t think the tax credit should be paid on vehicles over $50k BUT before that is removed there should be an additional tax placed on vehicles that are excessively polluting – I would go for 5% tax on all cars costing over $50k that emit more than 100 g-CO2/km but less than 130 g/CO2/km and a 30% tax on all cars that are over $50k and emit more than 130 g-CO2/km. Obviously these would have to be translated into mpg for the US market and the tax should be paid on every additional dollar over $50k (so a $51k gas guzzler would see an increase of $300 with a $100k gas guzzler seeing an increase of $15,000). Once the bolt, model 3 and leaf 2.0 are in the threshold should be reduced to $40k. There should be almost no exemptions from the tax – company cars, fleet cars, etc. should all pay. The only time I would see an exemption being sensible is if a specialist vehicle is required for a particular industrial reason like for farming or park rangers. I could see this happening in a European nation but pretty much no where else but that doesn’t make it a bad idea.

          1. John says:

            Finland has a very steep CO2-based tax. I mean, over 50% of the price of your Ferrari is tax and it costs twice as much as in US. Still the number of EVs there are miniscule.

        2. John says:

          Wow,but is NC state incentive good only for if you need to pay $10000 state tax that year?

          1. BenG says:

            It’s not a state incentive, it’s a rebate from Nissan available within the state through an EV organization.

      2. Murrysville EV says:

        @Jay_Cole:

        Numbers for my former 12 Leaf (I leased mine):
        MSRP new = $38250
        Fed subsidy = $7500
        PA subsidy = $2000
        Net = $28750

        In 2015 I returned the car with 26k miles on it. It turned up on a used car lot in NC shortly afterward, listed for $9000, fully reconditioned and with new tires. This means my dealer sent it to auction (likely price $7000), and the 2nd dealer put maybe $1000 into it for transport, reconditioning, and tires.

        I’ll assume the car sold to its second owner for $8500.

        So the depreciation on the net selling price of $28750 was $20250, or 72%. It would be 78% if you just look at MSRP, or 82% if you look at the likely auction price.

        So no, I don’t see an upside in the new EV market when it’s well documented how cheap used ones are.

  14. Tony Marco says:

    This is great news!

    Purchased my BMW i3 Rex fully loaded with the 20″ rims for $27k last August – 50% off previous year new list price!

    Always buy 1 year lease returns. They are devalued greatly with still the same new car smell & feel!

  15. Gouldness says:

    I’m jonesing for a ’14 BMW i3-REx w/all the options, trading up from my base ’12 Volt. It’s a step change on my path to a Model 3 or CPO Model S. Can’t wait to go full electric. At least the i3 will handle 95% of my weekly driving carbon free. But would love to have a 500e daily + Telsa on the weekends. Self-driving car sharing can’t come soon enough.

  16. DJ says:

    The Leaf prices have to be a misprint. You can get a new Leaf for that price when you factor in the rebates!

    2012-2013 Nissan LEAF, $13,896-$16,749

  17. pjwood1 says:

    I’ve had a ’13 Volt FS, 80k mi, that is getting calls at 11.9k ask. Black ;). Good higher miles opportunity.

  18. Ocean Railroader says:

    I did see a Mitsubishi i-miev for $4800 and a used 2011 Nissan leaf fall to $4200.

    That off lease website looks good with the $6000 2013 and 2015 leafs.

    I do think a $3000 dollar leaf might show up in the next year though.

    1. A used iMiEV, seems a reasonable good choice, if short range still works, high performance is not critical, and 4 seats are needed, especially if CHAdeMO is more prevalent in ones driving area!

      1. John says:

        That’s a horrible “car”.

  19. Chris says:

    The price for the Ford Focus Electric is too high also. I just checked online and there are several 2013s and 2014s for around $10k.

  20. CLIVE says:

    My buddy picked up a 2014 Leaf S w 20K for $6000 bux.

    Not bad except he had no idea what he was buying and ended up with 3.3 charger and no DCQC.

    1. Oooops! Yes, the 3.3 kW charging really means that the available range really HAS to work for you, or else stock up on good boiks to read, while you are charging away from home!

      At least, with the iMiEV, I think they all had the CHAdeMO included! That helps a bit to have an opinion, since it is also still 3.3 kW for AC Charging. (Still! I wonder why they never upgraded to 6.6 kW L2 charging?)

      1. alohart says:

        Our 2012 i-MiEV did not have CHAdeMO which was an option even on our higher trim version. Maybe CHAdeMO was standard on later models.

  21. Bill Howland says:

    I would have loved to pick up a 2014 leaf s for $6000.. unfortunately leafs around here are almost non-existent and therefore the rare one goes for the list price.

    My 2012 volt is just an interim car until the BOLT comes, so I really didn’t want to spend as much money on it as I did.

  22. Web4us says:

    Our local utility is partnering with local Nissan dealers to offer a $10K rebate until March 31 for purchasing a new 2016 Leaf. With the $7500 tax credit, we’re looking at about $21K for a new EV.

    1. BenG says:

      Isn’t a new Leaf 30k? Take away $17,500 in rebates and tax credits that makes $12,500 net purchase price.

  23. needa says:

    Six months ago there were at least a dozen options from sub $7,000 Volts and Leafs here in Nashville. There were 2014 models for ten. Now I can’t touch a 2012 for less than $12k. I wish I knew where you are getting your information from.

  24. Steve Withers says:

    EVs now are progressing like smart phones after 2008. The early ones cost a lot and were superceded quickly. Anyone buying an EV new today should seriously consider selling and trading up every 6-9 months for the next 3-4 years.

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