Consumer Reports Says Now’s The Time To Buy A Used EV


There’s more than one way to go electric.

Ok, a show of hands — who among us can afford to buy a brand spankin’ new electric vehicle? You know, a $49,000 Tesla Model 3, or a $69,500 Jaguar I-Pace. Heck, even a $37,495 Chevy Bolt? That’s not a lot of hands. Good news, then. According to Consumer Reports, now is a great time to buy a used EV for cheap.

There are a number of reasons why this is the case. Gasoline prices are staying stubbornly low, so people aren’t desperate for a super- economical vehicle like they were back a decade ago when the dino juice was expensive. Many of the first crop of all-electric vehicles offer less than 100 miles of range, making them not as practical for some folks. The result of all this is that demand is somewhat low, while the supply, fueled by vehicles coming off-lease, is relatively high. This means, of course, means lower prices (the publication notes that this doesn’t necessarily apply to Tesla vehicles, which tend to hold their value better than other EVs).

And there are good reasons to buy a used plug-in car. For one, the environment has already taken the hit in its manufacture. They make a great 2nd car for commuting or for a high-school student. For those with the occasional longer-range needs, plug-in hybrids, which are also available at affordable prices, offer all of the advantages of an all-electric and can make those longer trips when necessary.

It’s not necessarily a permanent situation, however. Given the state of world affairs as it relates to oil-producing countries — especially Venezuela, Iran, and Russia — a breakout of violence or the imposition of sanctions could result in a spike in prices at the pump. So, if you’re in need of a new-to-you ride, take a look at what’s available on and the prices being offered. There are any number of great deals to be had and who doesn’t want to drive electric if they can swing the price?

Source: Consumer Reports

Categories: Buying Advice

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26 Comments on "Consumer Reports Says Now’s The Time To Buy A Used EV"

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That’s not the case for a used Bolt EV. Dealers and private parties alike are ignoring the fact that original owners received a $7,500 tax credit plus as much as $5,000 on a state rebate. In many cases it’s actually less expensive to buy a new Bolt EV and get the incentive payments than to buy a used Bolt EV.

Markets are self correcting. If sellers are asking too much (not accounting for incentives), then they won’t move and prices will have to come down to reason. They can ask as much as they want, but if they are serious about selling them, they need to price their cars correctly.

True, but they haven’t yet (I’ve checked/I’ve tried) so now is only a good time to buy used if you want a short range EV. Another year or two and we should be getting somewhere with used longer range offerings though!

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

We searched for some used bolt for someone and thought “WTF are these people thinking?”

It seems that they will appear when they will come off-lease.

Just a thought here. Let’s say someone is retired and doesn’t have any liabilities to get the tax credit. Factoring in depreciation due to mileage, it still make sense to get a $5000 discount at purchase used, even though someone else got $7500 in tax rebate off of the car’s price when it was new.

I think it’s because there are so few used Bolts. You see the same with barely used Volts and 2018 Leafs, where the asking price for a car with 5k-10k miles is higher than a brand new one, if you include the tax credit and all manufacturer/dealer incentives.

I don’t know who buys them. I hope not many people so that the prices come down.

I have a feeling that the stellar values are short lived, or limited to models where the have short ranges like early i3 BEV and Leaf.

Use EV prices in Ontario tend to be insanely high. This will likely continue or get even worse as the new provincial gov’t has killed off the new EV incentives. Asking prices for 24kwh used Leafs tend to be in the 15G to 19G price range. There are almost no 30kwh used Leafs but the two I saw were in the mid 20G range. My 2016 SL will soon be on the market. Realizing what was happening back in April I ordered a 2018 Leaf S and it has come in just days short of the incentive cut off. We’ll see what the dealer asks for it.

I can’t believe they voted in Rob Ford’s brother. Ugh. (I know, we have clown Trump down here but still.)

Not me. I did not vote for Donald Ford.

On the West Coast of Canada we are seeing 3 year old Leafs going for about a grand more than they did just two years ago. My guess is that being supply constrained for new and used EVs has driven the prices up.

I think most used cars that are less than 4 years old are holding their residual value really well regardless of the type of engine under the hood.

I can buy a new electric or ice vehicle that’s new for cheaper than a 1 year old equivalent on the used market in most cases. It is just ridiculous in general trying to get a used car.

These 100 mile range used EVs available for $10K or less really are a bargain. They can slash your gasoline purchasing & get you back & forth to work.

I suspect that oil prices will be going up as Iranian sanctions kick in, so now might be the time to pick one up. Their value will go up if gas prices go up.

That’s what I did, got a used 2015 Leaf last year. Great condition, still seems ‘new’. I3 are also a better buy. Focus was not bad. A few Mercedes B250 are out there. Lots of Fiat 500E but all imported from California. Tesla excepted. Just do it.

In Ukraine where I live we have EV boom in progress right now. The main engine of this boom are affordable used EVs. Ukraine annulled all the taxes on EV purchase (VAT, import duty and excise), and it is possible to buy used Leaf 1 for less then 10 000 USD. And cost of driving is extremely low – about 1 dollar per 100 km in electricity cost. It looks like about 4% of Leafs sold new in USA are now in Ukraine.

That is really interesting. I’d heard that a lot of used US cars go overseas, but Ukraine isn’t one of the places I’d thought about for that. This is, to be sure, one of the reasons the flood of soon-to-be (5 years time) ‘worthless’ low range EVs (e.g. Leaf 1, of which I own a used one) will still be doing good long after their financial value in the US is gone.

My guess is that in places where petrol is far more expensive than the US, these low (especially after 5-7 years of usage) range EVs will still be good values.

Petrol in Ukraine is expensive (about 1,1 USD per liter), but electricity is relatively cheap (about 6 cents per 1 kwh). For people in small towns or suburbs used Leaf is extremely cheap to drive (cheaper than public transport), and most of owners charge them at home every night from the household plug. Furthermore, lots of Leafs are bought at salvage auctions in the USA and restored in Ukraine. As far as I know, the battery blocks are restored as well, so problem with charge loss is insignificant.

We just turned in our 2016 leased i3, and bought a used 2016 i3. 15 k miles, mint condition, leather. All for about 1/3 of what it cost 2 years ago when it was new. Our fourth electric car, it will more than meet our needs. If you want a new EV, lease. Want to own? Buy used.

I tracked my off lease eGolf (I’m in California) and it ended up in Norway. Went to auction and then was shipped. Imagine, even with shipping, it’s still a good deal over there due to incentives.

Availability is lower due to demand worldwide for used EV’s and prices might have a floor and creeping up due to this.

Remember that prices at the pump in Europe are not stubbornly low, especially in the Netherlands, where fuelcosts often nearly triple the costs of dinojuice in the US.
Right now it’s €1,70 / litre

Depreciation varies regionally… in the MIdWest, EVs and PHEVs are “red headed stepchildren”. I bought a 2017 Fusion Energi with 13,000mi on it for $18,000.

We love our used Fiat 500e. It’s a perfect town car.

I finally joined the club and bought a used 2013 Volt 2 years ago. It was just off a 3-year lease and was, to me, a bargain at $18k with 33k miles.

I love it so much! I do all my commuting on electricity (during the winter, I have to drive a slower, shorter route) and hate every time is kicks into gas mode. But I do love the fact that I can fall back to gas if I have to.

It’s made me realize how much better electricity is! I look forward to when I can replace the family Highlander Hybrid with a hauler with a plug! Right now, that’s looking like a Pacifica Hybrid, but we can’t afford to buy a “new” one. I can’t wait until those start hitting the end-of-lease deals!

Consumer reports is starting to put some of these on the avoid list. BMW I3, Leaf, and Tesla-S to name a few.

Not the case in Nissan Leafs as the vast majority of them are on 2 year leases for the 2nd gen, only first gen which sell very quickly still.