New Study Suggests Buying These EVs Used Saves A Ton Of Money


Buying a used car can be a solid idea, especially if it’s an EV.

Cars depreciate immediately after you drive them off the dealer lot. Some cars lose value quicker than others. As we’ve shared before, electric vehicles tend to lose value even quicker than gas-powered cars, due in part to the fact that the original buyer may have taken advantage of the U.S. federal EV tax credit. There are many other variables involved, which we won’t get into at this point. The fact of the matter is you can buy some EVs super cheap if you search the used market.

According to automotive research firm and search engine

The average lightly used car costs 23.2 percent less than the new version of the same vehicles. However, certain new cars have a price difference as high as $24,690. In some instances, purchasing a car lightly used can save you the entire price of a second vehicle!

The advantage of iSeeCars is that it has the ability to analyze a massive number of car sales to put together its data set. The firm looked at numbers for more than 7 million new and used cars sales over a short, six-month time period (August 2018-January 2019). It used the data to compare pricing for “lightly” used cars versus new cars. The goal was to provide a list of the best cars to buy new, as well as those which are better to buy used.

On iSeeCars’ list of the top hybrid and electric vehicles to buy used (ranked by the total cost difference between buying used instead of new), we find three plug ins. The following list shows the average percentage reduction found when choosing the used car over the new car, as well as the average dollar amount saved:

  1. Nissan LEAF -40.0% $13,524
  2. Kia Optima Plug-In Hybrid -32.9% $11,929
  3. Ford Fusion Energi -32.5% $11,144

Another benefit not mentioned in the study is that, oftentimes, you can buy a plug-in car used in markets that it may not have been sold in new. This means that while many electric cars and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles are only available new in some U.S. states, they may be available used in more widespread areas.

If you’re looking for a used EV, check out our sister site,

Categories: Buying Advice, Deals, Ford, Kia, Nissan

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32 Comments on "New Study Suggests Buying These EVs Used Saves A Ton Of Money"

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I’m a huge proponent of buying used. Used Tesla market right now is a great example- go take a look at how much car can be purchased now compared to new.

Tesla?! That is the worst example! Tesla has the highest residual value of all evs so they will be more expensive…sure are cheaper compared to new but they are not the biggest bang for the $.

A 2014 P85D stickered around $125-130k brand new. Can be found for as low as $45k right now. Considering the AWD, Autopilot, lifetime free Supercharging, 0-60mph in 3.2 seconds, and continued over-the-air updates, not sure what more bang you’re looking for your buck? And you really don’t find P85D’s without Ultra-Hifi sound, sunroof, and cold weather package, either. Most of the ’em are loaded, to boot.

It’s what I’ve been saying!

P85’s are in the $30,000 range with FREE SUPERCHARGING

that is the greatest value for a vehicle on earth

Yeah, I think the 1st Gen Model S’s with the old nose cone and lifetime Supercharging are gonna be unicorn cars one day. There’s only so many lifetime SuperC cars on the road, and I think 10 years from now the rare 1st Gen car will be super rare and actually kinda cool. But maybe that’s just me.

Yeah, I do agree to some extent. I’d love an older Model S 85 (non-P, with 19″ wheels so that tire replacement cost doesn’t kill me). The problem comes as they get older and fall out of warranty, the potential repair bills are staggering.

I’ve also heard insurance is expensive for them, though I’m not sure how much more a standard S 85 would be than my Volt.

The insurance was higher than my Volt to be sure, because Tesla Model S are aluminum and hard/expensive to repair. But not cost prohibitive. I think my insurance went up $60 per month for my 2015 Model S.

The repair bills can be expensive, but fortunately not altogether common. Tesla has a one-time out of warranty good faith handle repair (because it’s so common) and out-of-pocket cost about $275 now. Tesla’s are for sure more expensive to operate and own than the Volt, but the trade-off of using the Superchargers and travelling long distance in pure BEV is pretty awesome. I always hate transitioning to gas mode in my Volt.. I think the increase in your driving joy when driving a Tesla may be worth the extra expense. Just one man’s opinion.

For the record, I’m really stoked that my 2nd car is a Volt, they’re still pretty phenomenal!

Sure that is a great discount on the P85D, but that’s par for the course for any expensive sport-luxury car. Operation and maintenance of the P85D is very expensive because of the tire cost and insurance, and depreciation is going to continue to cost a lot as well as it drops from $45k.

If you’ve got the money that’s great, and it’s a heck of a lot better value than a comparable used BMW, but it’s still a rich man’s game.

Wait another year, then they’re be in the low $30k’s, and then the math may pencil for you- and I hope it does. I hope that everyone who wants to drive a high-end EV (like a Tesla) gets to at some point.

It’s what you mean by “biggest bang for the $”. I think buying a CPO TSLA is the “biggest bang for the $”. There is not another car on the road that compares to the Model X. A 2016 X P90D with 36K miles for $75K out the door, just is the biggest bang for the $.

Free Supercharging, dual motors, 4 yrs warranty, Falcon doors, panoramic windshield, great performance, 7 seat config, interior upgrades, super standard sound, the list goes on and on. No other car offers all this and is clean driving to boot.

In other startling news, water is wet and the sun rises in the East. Enjoying my 2013 Tesla model S85 purchased used for $43,000.

My hunch is the used car market stabilizes soon. It already had for my 2012 Volt when I sold it, and I suspect some of these other EVs will become less good deals. Even if a used Leaf has only 60 mile range it can be a great kids car or second car to have around when you can pick them up for $6000. Low maintenance and reliable, albeit short range. The battery can be replaced for around $6k, which given low price of used car might not be a horrible idea if the battery gets too low range to use.

I also think it will stabilize but a big part of it is because newer EVs are more practical. We can talk about how most people only drive 20 miles a day, etc, etc, but a lot of people don’t buy it. Also as an owner of a Leaf with about 60 legit miles, I can say I’ve run into situations where it hasn’t been enough. It doesn’t change the fact that the car is perfectly fine 95% of the time, but people’s concerns are grounded on a real fact.

However, a lot of those concerns go away when the range is 150 miles or 200 miles and by the same token I expect consumer acceptance and demand to be much higher. That will help transfer over into the used market as well.

And where’s the definition of “lightly used”? Without that, the entire article has very little value (and that’s being charitable). In an ICE vehicle, it mostly likely refers to some combination of age & mileage. In a BEV, the remaining battery capacity & battery warranty should obviously also be taken into account. In a PHEV it’s not clear.

I bought a 2014 i3 in 2016 for a bit less than half-price. It was a lease return… the “owners” had taken very good care of the vehicle, and it had fewer than 6k miles on it—that’s a good example of “lightly used.”

Having said that, it’s probably near-worthless now and,
as with nearly all my previous vehicles, I’ll drive it into the ground.

2014 i3 with standard trim and no range extender $8k to $10k when in good condition with 40k miles according to

Bought a MSRP $58,000 2014 i3 Rex with Terra Package, Leather, etc which included CPO Extended Warranty to 6 years and new 20″ tires for $27,500 USD after a one year lease return in 2016 with only 11k mileage.

Best Car Deal to date! – Driving for free with all the Free Fast Chargers in my area!

The average American drives about 1,000 miles a month. You can find many Nissan Leafs with an average mileage listed at 2/3 of that or lower. Used BMW i3s have similar mileage listings. That’s definitely lightly used.

I’m going shopping for a used BEV next year. If the 2018 Nissan Leaf SV keeps dropping in price like the 2017’s, I’m buying one. Even if the 2018 Leaf loses half it’s range, it will still be a good commuter car, here in Western Washington.

Agreed. My Fusion Energi purchase was a 2 year old off-lease, with 43k miles on it. That is high mileage for 2 years, but the HV battery was hardly used at all measured by doing a cycle test on it. So it performs like new (<3% degradation) yet is a "high mileage" car. I'm now at 65k miles and the battery is still in great shape because I take good care of it.

Should the study read August 2018 instead of August 2019?

We leased our 2016 eGolf for $79/month. Bought it at lease end for ~$12,250 and sold for $14,500. Not sure that could be accomplished again! Surviving with one car for now, next car used electric for sure. Probably Tesla

I hope I can do it with my 2017 Optima PHEV – buy it in 2020 for 12k and sell for 14k:)

I’m really surprised about that. The eGolf is a nice car but I didn’t expect it to hold up that well when it still has a pretty low range. I wonder if my used Leaf may have gained value since I bought it?

Buying used cars is cheaper than buying new cars. Shocker!! A study had to be commissioned to figure this out? Lol

Actually, the concept is lost on so many who complain that EV’s are cost-prohibitive and unattainable.

Hence an article that speaks to that misnomer.

I am going to guess that when the 7500 tax credit runs out, the used prices will rebound.

I rather think that car-makers will have to lower prices in order to keep selling the same volume, so there won’t be any bounce in used prices.

I do think that some used plug-in vehicles will hold their price relatively well going forward if/when their reliability continues to be good, especially if major repairs like battery, engine, electric motor, etc … are kept very low.

I’m pretty optimistic that my purchase two and a half years ago of a 2012 Volt Premium will pan out well. Operating costs have been very low: only significant expense was a new (used) charging cable (~$350) after the OEM failed. 1 oil change, wipers, wiper fluid, couple tire rotations, and some cleaning expenses are the only other expenses. 2-year oil change interval as standard maintenance for my usage is amazing to me and saved about $200 bucks or so. Doesn’t seem to have been much depreciation, from what I see on AutoTrader, though I got a very nice price at the time by waiting for a good deal then driving several hundred miles to get it.

Of the 5 EVs I have purchased, My first, in 2014, was new, then three CPO, and another new but with the MSRP offset with a $10K corporate rebate. The used EVs have been as good as buying new!

The additional cost of a new EV over a new ICE still does not make financial sense.
Buying a 3-4 year old Nissan Leaf is the cheapest way to commute to work if you drive a car. Nothing comes close to the value; not even a new or used Prius or Tesla