Here Are The Best Used Electric Cars: Slideshow

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If you’re EV-curious but cash-strapped, consider a pre-owned model.

Though some of the latest electric vehicles, like the Chevrolet Bolt EV and Tesla Model 3, can run for well over 200 miles on a charge, if you’re on a budget you can find some real bargains among used models with an 80-to-90-mile range. That’s sufficient for a frugal daily commute and/or zero-emissions around-town use.

Best of all, with the exception of the costly Tesla Model S, EVs are dirt cheap in the pre-owned market. Because new EV sales and leases are subsidized by a $7,500 federal tax credit (plus additional incentives in a few states), and their popularity is still limited, their resale values take a huge hit. For example, according to, a used 2015 Nissan Leaf with average miles on the odometer that originally sold for $29,000 now commands just around $9,000. Want to drive an EV at a rock-bottom price? If you can find one, a 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV sells for $4,000 or less.

And that’s on top of the money you’ll save in operating costs. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average three-year-old EV costs around $550-$650 to run 15,000 miles, while the typical new vehicle drinks $1,600 worth of petroleum over the same distance. You’ll also save money in maintenance costs, given that an EV eschews over two-dozen mechanical components that would normally require regular service. What’s more, given their range limitations, EVs tend to be driven fewer miles than the norm, and thus typically endure less wear and tear. On the downside, depending on where you live you may not find many – if any – used EVs for sale locally.

Which used EVs are best? Considering examples from the 2015 model year, we checked used-EV values from and long-term reliability data from Consumer Reports to come up with a short list of what we consider to be the top pre-owned battery-powered rides for the money. Range and equivalent fuel economy (“mpg-e”) estimates come from the EPA’s website. All used EV prices quoted are what used-vehicle dealers would ask for a 2015 model with average miles and in good or better condition; prices can vary according to the region and are subject to negotiation.


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While there officially was no Mitsubishi i-MiEV for the 2015 model year, that’s because dealers still had a sufficient supply of leftover 2014 units to sell. Sure, the egg-shaped i-MiEV is tiny and slow, but it’s one of the cheapest ways to own a zero-emissions vehicle. It’s EPA-rated at a frugal 126/99 (city/highway) mpg-e, but with an average 62 miles on a charge, it’s the shortest-range model on our list. A 2014 version can be found selling at retail for just $5,325 with average miles. By comparison, a new i-MiEV in 2017 (its most recent model year) started at $23,845.

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4. BMW I3

The BMW i3 looks like it drove off the set of a science fiction movie, with its funky and futuristic exterior and interior styling. Consumer Reports gives the 2015 version above average marks for reliability in most every operating category except for power equipment and its confounding in-car electronics. It’s rated at 137/111 mpg-e and has an 81-mile operating range. A 2015 i3 retails for $14,100 (brand new it starts at $45,445). Note that this is for the full battery-powered version. The i3 can also be found equipped with a small “range extender” gas engine to run the motor when the battery is depleted.

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The boxy-hip Kia Soul EV was initially sold only in California, but its availability was expanded later during 2015 to Georgia, Texas, Oregon, Washington and Hawaii. It’s roomy and practical, and makes a great zero-emissions alternative to a small sport-utility vehicle. It’s EPA rated at 120/92-mpg-e and can run for 93 miles on a charge. A used 2015 Soul EV with average miles on the odometer retails for $13,025-$13,800 (a new 2018 model starts at $34,845).

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On sale since the 2011 model year, the Nissan Leaf has been one of the segment’s top sellers, which should make finding used models easier depending on where you live. The 2015 version is rated above average for reliability by Consumer Reports, and the EPA pegs it at 125/101 mpg-e with an 84-mile operating range. Though a 2018 Leaf can run for more miles on a charge, it starts at nearly $31,000; you can find a 2015 used model offered at retail for $9,225-$12,125, depending on the trim level.

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We almost hesitate to recommend the large and in charge Tesla Model S because of its heady used-car prices (thanks to its remarkable resale value), but it still beats most new EVs in terms of its range and technology. It also looks to the untrained eye exactly like a new one. Depending on which version you choose, the 2015 Model S is rated from 88/90 to 101/102 mpg-e, with an operating range between 240 and 265 miles. Consumer Reports gives the 2015 above average marks for reliability in all respects except for its complex in-car electronics. According to, a three-year-old Model S retails for between $51,575 and $74,575 (you’ll pay $75,700-$136,200 for a new version).

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26 Comments on "Here Are The Best Used Electric Cars: Slideshow"

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There is assistance for low income people buying used EVs, this will save them on energy, clean the air and reduce oil imports.

“EVs are dirt cheap in the pre-owned market”: I wish this were the case in my country. Cheapest Leaf I’ve seen is $23,500, and that’s for a 2012 model with who-knows-how-much actual remaining battery capacity. Often, it’s hard to even find one, the web page I often look at has just two at present, the nearest of which is about 800km away – and without any DC chargers between here and there, it’d have to be freighted unless I want to make a week’s trip out of that 800km!

That is truly unfortunate Frank.
Where are you located?
I live in the wonderland of Idaho, and used EVs are fairly cheap and becoming more and more abundant. (Hand-me-downs from So-Cal and other coastal towns!)

Australia. Driving on the unpopular (left) side of the road doesn’t help us – e.g. GM can’t be bothered making a RHD Bolt, and the Model 3 will likely not be here until 2020 (for those in the new-car market / demographic). No e-Golf ever offered, nor any of a bunch of others, like the little electric Fiat. Zoe only just became available – might still be only to business customers.
The high prices in the second hand market scream of unmet demand to me, but no-one seems to care to service it…

There’s a lot of demand for EVs there so that’s why there’s a a lot of demand and prices are high for use EVs

Live in Ohio l. Cheap here too

Where you live?

I have a 2013 leaf you can buy for 5500.00 cash ,55 mile range,am buying a new one.

The joy to drive BMW i3, fully loaded, 3 years old, are going for $24,000 on the East Coast.
And they’re a blast to drive.
Also, will pay for themselves over 300,000 miles.

Waiting for 2017 models to see how much they are going to go for. If it’s $22k I’m jumping in it after taxes

Much too expensive! They have offered recently $10k off through local electric utility plus the $7.5k federal credit plus any state/local rebate. The leaf prices are also much too high given the improvements on the current model, dealer and Nissan USA rebates/financing and tax credit and state rebate.

I don’t live in jersey or in Cali

Focus Electrics can be had for low prices. Robust liquid cooling means the batteries are aging well. 2017-2018 has more capacity and CCS.

I love to get a Ford but BF is not having stoping every hour for recharge. It’s Bolt, i3REX, Model 3. BF wants me to get a Clarity 😒

Tesla is selling a CPO 60kw Model S for like 35k. 208miles, free super charging and 100k warranty.

They should preowned lease use 200k miles Tesla’s. They will make a ton of money 💰

Super Charging was an option on the S 60 so be sure it has it before buying. The S 40 was very low sales and did not have SC so be aware.

I didn’t see the Fiat 500 on this list. I’m interested in an EV for a cheap second car and I wonder if the Fiat would hold up better than the Soul.

We’ve had our used 2014 500e for a year and it’s been a great city car. The only issue has been 1 flat which required replacing the run flat canister.

I’ve had my used 2014 500e for a month and it’s been a great car. Coincidentally, the only issue also has been 1 flat which required replacing the run flat canister (and the tire).

I hope I have as good of luck as robus over the next 11 months and beyond.

I love this car. Can’t imagine why a person would go back to gas after driving electric.

Heads up….you don’t need to go for used on that one in CA!
In Socal they have right now a lease offer going for 36m/10k for $99/m and $4k down. You get $3k in credits for that one so net is around $4800….beat that! After gas savings you will be paying more on your phone bill than on your car.

Can you put a bigger battery in the iMiev?

I was reading up on that and the energy density of the batteries in the i-miev are only half that of the leaf and Tesla.

A 200 mile i-miev is possible and if it was it would be a really good car.

Can we contact ion loin to upgrade the i3 battery on the 15 model for $$

There is also the Fiat 500e, and the Spark EV, while they have been discontinued for a while now, there are still plenty to go around. Some Spark EV’s also have CCS fast charge, that will charge 80% in 20 minutes. Mercedes B250e is another option as well, also discontinued, a company is working on a CHAdeMO unit, that allows it to fast charge as well. RAV4 EV’s are also nice, if you can find one.

I’ve got 70,000 miles on my Miev. Bought it used in 2014 with 6500 miles on it for $12,000. Still does 80 miles an hour, still faster than most away from a stop light. Still gets over 60 miles to a charge, less in the winter but comes back in the summer. While no sports car it’s still fun to drive, and I with continue driving this thing until it’s dead!