Glass: Electric Cars Among Worst First Year Depreciators

JUL 29 2015 BY MARK KANE 20

Citroen C-Zero Gets Plugged In

Citroen C-Zero Gets Plugged In

Glass, a vehicle data provider, released a list of the worst first year depreciators in the UK.

The title shouts that Renault Fluence ZE, Citroen C-Zero and Nissan LEAF lose more than three-quarters of their value!

“Three electric cars are among the worst first year depreciators in a “Bottom 10” released by motor trade valuation market leaders Glass’s.

The Renault Fluence, Citroen C-Zero and Nissan LEAF E have all lost more than three-quarters of their value after covering 12,000 miles during the last 12 months.”

Well, we strongly believe that there would be different results without the Plug-In Car Grant, which affect depreciation math off the MSRP (which is rarely, if ever, actually paid by an individual).

Rupert Pontin, head of valuations at Glass, said:

“The motor trade and the used car buying public remain interested in electric cars but are still reticent to actually buy them in numbers – and these depreciation figures reflect that fact.

“To be fair, these three EVs are among some of the least attractive on the market – the Fluence and C-Zero both have a ‘last generation’ feel while the LEAF E is on the bottom rung of the LEAF range – but their presence does reflect the fact that the EV sector remains sluggish.”

Nissan LEAF

Nissan LEAF

Pontin notes also that other models (ICE) include lowest-powered, entry level versions, which is the main reason for their high depreciation.

“There is very little enthusiasm in the market generally for poorly-equipped cars and if those cars are also becoming dated and have an older power unit, it really hits their prospects in the used market.”

Well, maybe it’s then a good opportunity to seek used EVs:

“It would be difficult to recommend a new Renault Fluence costing more than £22,000 but one that is around £5,000-£6,000 at 12 months old is arguably a good buy for someone looking to try EV motoring.”

Bottom 10

1. Renault FLUENCE E Z.E. (95bhp) Expression+ saloon four door auto
2. Vauxhall MERIVA 1.4 16v (99bhp) Expression MPV five door (2010 MY)
3. Chevrolet CRUZE 1.4 (100ps) 4X4 LS station wagon five door 1398cc (2014 MY)
4. Citroen C-ZERO E hatchback five door auto
5. Nissan LEAF E hatchback five door auto
6. Renault MEGANE 1.6 (100bhp) Extreme estate five door
7. Vauxhall INSIGNIA 1.4i 16v Turbo (140ps) SRi saloon 4d 1364cc (2012.5 MY)
8. Peugeot 207 SW 1.4 8v (75bhp) Access estate five door
9. Chevrolet ORLANDO 1.4 Turbo (140ps) LS five door 1364cc (2014 MY)
10.  Peugeot 308 1.6VTi (120bhp) Access hatchback five door 1598cc (2013.5 MY)

Percentage retained value after 12 months/12,000 miles.

Categories: General, Nissan, Peugeot / Citroën, Renault

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20 Comments on "Glass: Electric Cars Among Worst First Year Depreciators"

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Fuel and service savings are higher than depreciation :-D.

$28,000 (new LEAF) X 67% = $18,760 depreciation.
$18,760 / $2.50/gal = 7504 gal
7504 gal X 30 mpg = 225120 miles.

Wow, you sure drive a lot in a year to pay for your depreciation.

Not really Rick. Depreciation isn’t a cash cost, so you don’t have to pay it at all. In fact if you plan to drive your car for ~ 10 years and 100k+ miles depreciation hardly matters. If you plan to trade in after 2 or 3 years you should lease, in which case depreciation once again hardly matters. Now savings on gas, that is very real and measurable!

One problem with your maths there Rick, petrol is $8.26 on average a gallon in the UK. This is a U.K. market report.

That changes the equation a little

Unless it’s a Tesla. 😉

The average car depreciates very heavily in the first year in the UK. This is why I never bought a new car when I lived there. That and the crappy salary I earned 😉

Speaking for the American market, steep depreciation on EVs should be expected as long as the federal tax credit is in effect. Why would anyone buy a used 2013 Volt for $25k when they could buy a brand-new 2016 Volt for the same price after tax credits?

1. A car isn’t an investment, it’s an expense.

2. Depreciation of electric cars is largely a symptom of the tax credit.

3. Electric cars are improving at a much faster rate than ICE cars, which is a good thing but it also contributes to depreciation.

I don’t see where it was stated or implied that cars are an investment. Nobody keeps a car forever, therefore depreciation is a real part of that expense. If you buy a car for $30k, and then sell it for $10k, it cost you $20k to own it (plus other expenses incurred).

It wasn’t stated or implied, just my own statement of fact.

We are in agreement regarding it being an expense.

Brian said:

“I don’t see where it was stated or implied that cars are an investment.”

It’s implied right here:

“The title shouts that Renault Fluence ZE, Citroen C-Zero and Nissan LEAF lose more than three-quarters of their value!”

If you accept the reality that buying a car is an expense, not an investment, then you shouldn’t care how much of its value it “loses” in the first year of ownership. Unless you’re planning on buying another car in just a year, the loss on paper over just one year is unimportant. What’s important is the TCO — Total Cost of Ownership — over the entire period of ownership, not just one year. Depreciation is just one part of TCO.

Exactly! Who gives a rat’s rear end what first year depreciation is, unless you are planning on dumping your car after 1 year. If you plan on keeping it for the life of the car, depreciation is largely a non-issue. And you pointed out the Total Cost of Ownership which is an excellent metric. If you look at Edmunds they estimate TCO for the first 5 years, and even with wretched depreciation the Leaf still smokes everything in it’s class thanks to low fuel and maintenance. And I think Edmunds is dramatically over-estimating the maintenance for the Leaf, which (if they corrected this) would make the Leaf look even better on TCO.

My point is that depreciation still matters, even without saying that a car is an “investment.” Therefore, a discussion of depreciation does NOT imply that the topic at hand (in this case a car) is an investment. In fact, it implies exactly the opposite; only a fool would “invest” in a depreciating asset.

We all seem to agree that a car is an expense. And we all seem to agree that depreciation is part of that expense. The period over which depreciation matters is the period in which you hold onto your car. If you sell it after a year, you had better believe that the numbers above matter.

I also agree that 1 year is somewhat arbitrary, and mostly meaningless. It was probably chosen to highlight how “bad” EVs are. 5 years is a much more reasonable time frame to talk about depreciation; most people keep their cars for 5 years, or longer. If you are planning selling your car in less than 5 years, you should probably be leasing anyway. Then again, as they say, Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.

realdb2: Thank you! I guess someone had to point out the obvious.

Grammar Nazi says:

“Glass: Electric Cars Among Worse First Year Depreciators”

In the headline, “Worse” should be “Worst”.

It’s a shame that a report out of the UK has to be reminded how to write in English.

On top of what has already been mentioned here, the price of a car in the UK includes VAT tax. Where prices in the US don’t include tax/title/license. So that adds another layer of complexity when trying to compare UK depreciation to the US.

1. Renault FLUENCE Z.E.
2. Vauxhall MERIVA 1.4 16v
3. Chevrolet CRUZE 1.4 (2014 MY)
4. Citroen C-ZERO
5. Nissan LEAF
6. Renault MEGANE 1.6
7. Vauxhall INSIGNIA 1.4i 16v (2012.5 MY)
8. Peugeot 207 SW 1.4 8v
9. Chevrolet ORLANDO 1.4 Turbo (2014 MY)
10. Peugeot 308 1.6VTi (120bhp) (2013.5 MY)

so a Chevy Cruze depreciates faster than a C-Zero / i Miev

so four of the ten are from GM

It’s a meaningless report. How do you measure the depreciation of the ‘top’ car – the Fluence – when it was discontinued some time ago. Of course it won’t have any value now since it’s not supported any more.