USA Today contacted the folks at Kelley Blue Book with this special request: can you provide us with a list of the automobiles that are expected to depreciate the most over the next 5 years?

KBB responded by providing a list.  All of the vehicles on that list (the ones mentioned by USA Today at least) are plug ins.

As USA Today reports:

"Plug-in electric cars may be cutting-edge technology, but an analysis suggests that most will depreciate more dramatically over five years than their conventional counterparts."

"Some of the biggest value gaps involve 2014 models powered only by batteries, entirely without gas engines..."

USA Today provides specific 5-year depreciation percentages for some of the plug-in vehicles:

  • Chevrolet Spark EV - Expected to be worth 28% of its $28,305 list price in 5 years - ICE version expected retain 40% of its value in 5 years
  • Ford Focus Electric - Expected to be worth 20%  of its $35,995 list price in 5 years - ICE Focus Titanium version to retain 36% of its value in 5 years
  • Nissan LEAF - Expected to be worth 15% of its 2013 (no Model Year 2014 LEAF exists in the US yet) Model Year list price in 5 years

    Smart ED Makes the Rapid Depreciation List Too

    Smart ED Makes the Rapid Depreciation List Too

The biggest depreciators, according to USA Today, are the Smart Fortwo ED, Fiat 500e and Nissan LEAF.  Though USA Today doesn't list the depreciation values for the Smart ED or the electric Fiat, we assume they both come in at ~15% of their new value in 5 years time since USA Today lists all 3 as having the highest depreciation.

Eric Ibara, director of residual consulting for KBB, told USA Today that customers "have been willing to buy a new one, not a used electric vehicle."

USA Today even got Nissan to comment on the situation. Erik Gottfried, director of marketing for the Nissan LEAF, told USA Today this:

"We expect to see a similar adoption curve for used EVs as we have for new EVs, and we are just now reaching the point where there are used EVs on the market.  EVs are one of the most active and fast-moving segments of the automotive market."

Pure electrics are expected to depreciate significantly, according to KBB, but plug-in hybrid should fare much better.

KBB predicts the following

Prius Plug-In Expected to Hold Its Value Fairly Well

Prius Plug-In Expected to Hold Its Value Fairly Well

  • Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid to retain 35% of its value in 5 years
  • Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid to retain 37% of its value in 5 years

Of course, USA Today omitted several BEVs and PHEVs from its story on the topic of plug-in depreciation, so we don't get a complete picture of what's to be expected,

Again, in this rapidly evolving and constantly changing market, it seems leasing in the way to go for now and these expected depreciation values further reinforce that.  At least that's how we see it.

Source: USA Today