Nissan LEAF, Chevy Volt Among Top 10 Cars With Highest Depreciation


How about a great deal on a used electric car?

According to a recent 2018 depreciation study by iSeeCars, the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan LEAF make the top ten list of cars with the highest depreciation. In fact, the LEAF sits at the top of the list with an average five-year depreciation of 71.7 percent. The Chevrolet Volt isn’t far behind, as it places in the two-spot, with a depreciation figure of 71.2 percent.

This information can be framed a number of ways. If you plan to buy a brand-new vehicle and keep it for about five years before you sell it or trade it in, these cars should probably be avoided. However, if you plan to buy an EV and keep it for a long time, then depreciation is less of an issue. Most importantly, this also means that you may be able to snag a used Chevrolet Volt or Nissan LEAF at a really fantastic price. As we’ve reported before, plug-in electric vehicles tend to spend less time on dealer lots than their ICE competitors.

Check out our sister site to search for a used EV or to sell your electric car: is the first-to-market car shopping platform dedicated exclusively to the buying and selling of electric vehicles and offers intuitive tools that make finding the right EV simple, easy, and straightforward. MYEV stands to combat the lack of EV-specific search tools as EV ownership and adoption rates skyrocket globally. MYEV is 100% free for buyers and sellers and offers unique content to help shoppers overcome the most common concerns around EV ownership.

Here’s a look at iSeeCars’ up-to-date chart:

The publication’s study explains: analyzed more than 4.3 million new and used car sales to identify models with the lowest and highest loss in value after five years.

“While the average new vehicle loses 50.2 percent of its value after five years, there are vehicles that retain more of their value and depreciate less than average,” said iSeeCars CEO Phong Ly. “For consumers who buy new vehicles and sell them around the five-year mark, choosing a model that retains the most value is a smart economic decision.”

Source: iSeeCars


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130 Comments on "Nissan LEAF, Chevy Volt Among Top 10 Cars With Highest Depreciation"

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some quick math that calculates depreciation on the volt’s after tax credit price:
MSRP on a 2013 volt was $39,145 for the base model
after 71.2% depreciation, resale value would be $11,274.

If we calculate depreciation from $31,645 which is what people paid for the volt after federal tax credit, $11,274 represents 35.6% residual value or 64.4% depreciation.

still high, but not in the top 10.

the difference is even bigger for the Nissan
The base 2013 was $28,800 so 71.7% depreciation leaves the value at $8,150.

$8150 represents 38.3% of the after credit price of $21,300, or 61.7% depreciation.

Thanks for calculating these. It’s the first thing I thought of when reading the headline.

It’s even less depreciation than calculated here since most people pay a few thousand less than MSRP, and also get state rebates.

I think it’s criminal that they calculate depreciation without factoring in the credits and rebates. Paints a horribly misleading picture.

Inaccurate, Yes. Criminal, No.

But it won’t be inaccurate when the tax credits go away and I wouldn’t expect the depreciation of the Volt or LEAF to change. GM will hit 200K in 2018 4th quarter per GM.

Yes, this depreciation bs for evs is getting old. I’m personally tire of hearing about it.

Yes! Really for it to be meaningful you would need to know the actual transaction price less dealer rebates when new (minus credits/rebates for EVs and PHEVs) and an actual sale or trade in price. You will usually do better selling your car privately (and buying a used car privately). An other real issue in states like CA with an 8-10% sales tax (it varies locally and you pay based on where you live with vehicles), you lose that money too.

None of this applies if you don’t sell the car; I have a 2011 Leaf and it meets my needs so I’m keeping the car and figure at $8k every 8 years for a battery, worse case. I’m still way ahead in the game. To me a car is an appliance not a flag of manhood(ha) which is how car makers sell cars to the stupid among us.

We still own a 2000 Tacoma; Quit falling for the PR long ago…If the car economy depended on thinking practice people, there would be no car economy…I laugh when I read the comments about how people are sucked in by new car salesmanship…the fair deal in automobiles is and always will be a used car in excellent condition…you should be shopping for a used Leaf tomorrow if it meets your needs.

Totally agree, no need to change cars every 3-5 years. We are such a consumerist and wasteful society that the ways cars are built today, they can certainly last more than 5+ years easily. Depreciation means absolutely nothing to me and should for most people as well!

It only means something to you if you plan on selling it, which you clearly don’t.
I Bought a 2015 Leaf last year, while I like it, I still think it looks fugly. I am hoping to trade it for a better looking EV in the future, hoping maybe a 2017 Bolt in a couple years for 15k ish, we’ll see. On a sidenote, it’s astonishing to me that you can’t buy a aftermarket third party headlights for the Leaf, ones that don’t stick out like frogs eyes. That is the worst part of the car. It drives great though.

Unless you place a very high value on that HOV lane sticker – which needs to be renewed every 3 years. The “hours saved” from traffic – what I call a hidden cost has quite a bit of value. But yeah, if you need a used EV and don’t face a mountain of traffic every day – great deal.

And the 2011 Volt started out north of $40,000. The price has decreased over time while the value proposition has increased. The 2019 is a formidable value except of course the basic fact that it’s a sedan with limited rear space and people now want SUV’s. And it has a Chevy badge when probably Buick would work better.

My suspicion is that depreciation will improve over time.

great point, there is no way a 2013 with on average probably 50k+ miles would sell at market average 50.2% depreciation (~$19.5k) When a brand new 2019 volt with 15 more miles EPA electric range can be had at around $28k-$29k after tax credit. This is pretty much the only car that got cheaper by thousands of dollars from 1 generation to the next.

And to represent the trust cost reduction, the 2011 price has to get bumped up to 2019 model which makkes an even wider shift in value.

I suspect that this story is flawed. I leased a Leaf and after all incentives the lease document shows the full cost of the car being just under $20k and the residual value at the end of the lease being just less than $10k, however the sticker price was something over $32k. I regularly meet people who buy 4 and 5 year old Leafs for $9k – $10k. I can’t say what the original price was, but I suspect is was not far off from my paperwork.

What I find even more surprising is the depreciation of the 7-Series and S-Class. These are far more expensive cars and the losses will be more than the list price of a Leaf or Volt. The story should be how luxury cars are such a bad purchase choice, and on top of that there is no environment benefit.

It’s no suprise for BMW and Mercedes. It’s been that way for 20 years. They make junk. Prior to the 90’s they made decent cars but now they are status vehicles for the nouvelle rich, Dr’s and Lawyers and Real Estate Agents who lease them as a tax write off, or poor people who want to project an image.

Such a sad and ignorant point of view.

Why? It’s in line with every single study I’ve seen in the past 5 years.
I also recall studies in the late 1980s (I believe numbers were for Europe, but almost identical in the US): On average a Mercedes car was on the road ~19 years before being taken off. Volvo, ~17.5 years. Every single other brand: <12 years.

A funny thing is that a lot of wealthy people want to *hide* it…at least in the tech place that I work at. There have been a few Model S’s in the parking lot over the years, but mostly these guys earning comfortable 6 figures seem to take pride in driving true clunkers such as 90’s manual transmission Mazdas and beat up pickup trucks. The CEO tops everyone with a 70’s clunker. I always felt a bit of shame with my nice SUV.

You must be from the midwest where it is considered rude to show off money. I have seen what you are describing a great deal of the time. So much so that when I had a business associate fly from the east coast to the midwest and we visited CEOs of several highly profitable businesses and I would say something like ‘this ceo is also the founder….he’s filthy rich. To which the out of towner asks ‘where’s all the expensive cars in the executive parking lot’? And I said ‘nobody does that here…it’s considered rude’. Whereas where he’s from everyone from junior VP on up drives high end German cars or has some kind of exotic vehicle. there’s one particular billionaire that drives around in a $500 clunker economy car.

See also Warren Buffet.

Few new luxury car buyers keep them out of 2-3 year period. It doesn’t represent status afterwards, and out of warranty repair costs are very high for one-of-a-kind over-engineered luxury.

2 year leases are common for luxury cars. Even 1 year leases for really high end brands.

Luxury cars will allways fall in price. The average luxury car customer want, and can afford to buy new cars. The used cars may be a really good deal, as long as it is treated well. Just have to keep in mind that maintenance, parts, and just about anything about the vehicle may be very expensive. Also.. The same money could but a new car with a warranty. Some luxury car models may increase in value over time – but that is very few models. I friend of mine bought a used BMW 7 series, with all extras , a powerful engine and it was even armoured. He paid less then a new VW Golf cost, and picked up a lot of women with it. It worked flawless for the 10+ years he owned it. I just remember he complained about the price for suspention parts which was even more expensive then normal, being an armoured car and all. Also, a normal oil and filter change was so expensive- he did the job himself after paying for it once. Think he paid close to $1k. That was for like oil, 3 filters and some other stuff. Was a sweet ride… Read more »

Trouble is you cannot count a tax credit the buyer may have gotten in depreciation as they apply to a new buyer car and only if they qualify. Buying the car used doesn’t get the credit and there is no connection to the previous owner (who may not have gotten the credit or if this was a second used sale). You can only go by the new car price as that is what it was sold for in the initial sale.

James the tax credit essentially pushes the new car price down $7500. That is what it was designed to do and that is what it does. Every Volt and Leaf sold in the US has been eligible for it and I’d wager that more than 99% of these are claimed. You can bet 100% of those tax credits are claimed on leases (because the leasing company “owns” the car so they get to claim it). So now consider a used car buyer. He knows that the first owner of a Nissan Leaf got an effective discount of AT LEAST $7500 off the price, more in states with state tax breaks. That used car buyer will start his negotiations from that point. It absolutely affects used car prices. This is something that doesn’t happen to fossil fueled vehicles. Sure manufacturers throw “cash on the hood” all the time, but it is highly seasonal and driven by many other factors. There is nothing comparable to the federal tax credit. So when you see 2 EVs as the top depreciating cars, it is pretty obvious that the federal tax credit was a huge factor in it. Your average person will see that EVs… Read more »

I was told there would be no math.

Buy them second hand!

Nissan wouldn’t let me buy my leaf at market price. I had the car 5 years, with multiple lease extensions, but the lease residual was $16k, and the blue book/retail price used was $7k. They wouldn’t let me buy at anything but $16k, so I bought a tesla…

Good job ‼️

Nissan treats people like they are stuck in time.

Just trying to buy from multiple Nissan dealers convinced me they have not advanced in over 20 years.

Ditto for Kia. A very competitive vehicle offering but crappy dealers who are used to talking sub-prime borrowers to go upside down on their loans just so they can get a new car.

I hate to break it to you but a Kia is never a competitive vehicle offering…..

Yep. I purchased my Fiat 500e that was 3 years old and less than 10,000 miles for $9000. They are even cheaper now. I wanted to try an electric car right after putting a deposit on a Model 3.

Yep! I’ve had my 2012 Volt for about 2 years now. It’s a Premium, and was in cherry condition with pretty low mileage (34k) when I bought it for $14,000. Down from a retail price of over $46,000.

When I took it in for its first oil change late this summer after 2 years, the techs said it still looked like new. 🙂

I did have to spring for a new charger, but that’s the only issue I’ve had, other than disliking some of the user interface and design decisions.

I have a battery electric hybrid too (Ford fusion) but I read that after 5 or 10 years since it has two separate power plants and drivetrains the chance of breakdown is twice as high and eventually they bankrupt you since repairs are much more expensive than Manufacturing. That’s why I’m glad I have a lease and I just got my Tesla 30 days ago….

RIght, because we have so much experience with PHEVs after 10 years.
The greatest experience comes from the Volt and that has not been the case. Ford is a different story of course but twice as high is unlikely. Twice as high as what – a non PHEV of the same car. That would imply that the electric component was as prone to failure as the ICE component and that is unlikely.

Saw an article about a Volt that had 400,000 miles on it, WITH THE ORIGINAL BRAKES. So you can make assumptions based on repair rates for typical vehicles, but they’re probably going to be wrong. On many Volts the IC engine is used 1-2,000 miles per year, just enough to keep it lubricated. And there’s not much to go wrong on an electric motor. The battery cells are over-engineered to compensate for capacity loss, I know people with 2011 Volts who have had almost no range drop.

BTW, not to knock Tesla, but I saw a fun video by a guy who got fed up with Tesla’s repair record (and the high prices they charge) so he rips apart his Tesla to make his own repairs (which they do NOT like), and puts up videos showing how they basically rip you off by charging an arm and a leg for something that can be fixed quickly and easily. Food for thought.

Yes, this depreciation calculation is very misleading. People don’t “pay” $39,000 for a Volt. For most people it’s $7,5000 less. In CT, it’s $2,000 for the CT rebate as well. Some other states have rebates, and there are other programs as well.

Don’t forget the tax incentive for Tesla EV’s is rapidly disappearing. How many people will decide to cancel their Tesla orders remains a mystery.

You seem to be really obsessed with Tesla…

Probably because he is both anti-Ev and especially anti-Tesla as the leader of the rEVolution.

Well, it may be a mystery to most of us, but Tesla doesn’t care, and neither do I. They are seeing net 5000 new orders a week, and many people are still buying their Model III sight unseen. People cancel for a lot of reasons, such as buying a used Model S instead, and that’s the only reason I hear about in town.

They cancel mostly because they need a car and cannot wait.

That is a good point.

Also looking at the iseecars website, they are measuring 5-year depreciation.
Since the 2018+ Nissan Leaf is very different from the weirdmobile previous generation, I don’t think it is reasonable to assume the same rate of depreciation. The website iseecars should have referred to generation number or model year range to make this clear.

I think the article’s statement: ” If you plan to buy a brand-new vehicle and keep it for about five years before you sell it or trade it in, these cars should probably be avoided” is wrong (or at least not necessarily right) regarding the current generation Leaf, since it is very different from the previous generation.

The current gent leaf is very different from the weirdmobile first gen.
In addition, at some point, the Leaf will have active thermal management.

Also a list of top depreciating cars over 3 years yields a different list, although there is some overlap.

Not to mention that biggest EV market California throws in another $1500 on top. Which effectively knocks down $9K for it from the start. PG&E also throws in another $500, combined with various regional and dealer incentives, you have almost another $3K to $5K off the list price.

That is anywhere from $13K to $15K off that $39K price. Don’t forget that GM dropped the price on the 2014 by $5K which effectively dropped actual sales price of the 2013 by at least $5K at the dealer.

So, most of my friends who bought Volt back in 2013 paid around $25K for their Volt after all the incentives. If we use that number to do the math, then an used car price of $11.3K price is actually only a drop of 54% over 5 years!!!

The Leaf is self explanatory with its problematic battery.
The Volt, probably due to it’s being discontinued soon, and the fact the phev, by their nature, just have more things to go wrong.

“Leaf is Self explanatory”

Does it come with a huge disclosure on the rear view mirror?

Try charging the Leaf more than twice in succession that should explain it to your self.
Also known as Rapid-gate.
The older models had even worse batteries which could not tolerate heat well either.
All of this is well known.

That is clearly unknown at the time of purchase.

Got a source for the Volt being discontinued?

My Car Has Four Wheels

I think you jumped too quickly to write this article, as the link also has a list based on alternative fuels. According to that site, Prius and Model S has lowest depreciation followed by rest of Toyota/Lexus line up. Bolt and Leaf are still at the bottom.

Correct. However, almost every car on that list is a hybrid without a plug (which we don’t cover). The Tesla Model S is an exception, but it still doesn’t qualify as a cheap used car. We have another article planned for that portion of the study. Also, the premise was that these plug-ins have higher depreciation than traditional models and are cheaper to buy used, so the other chart wouldn’t make sense here. Thanks!

I think everyone jumped too quickly into an EV. I expect the current EV’s to depreciate rapidly within 5 years due to better batteries at lower prices in newer EV’s.

Toyota’s are reliable and their hybrids are top notch. If I were a hybrid fan, I’d go for the Camry LE hybrid, which has a Li-ion battery and gets close to 50 mpg average. Still, improvement is needed in all hybrids if I’m ever going to be interested in one.

You can’t jump “too quickly” into reducing CO2 footprint…

You don’t reduce CO2 footprint by making 100 kWh batteries that create 17 ton CO2 footprint before even reaching the road. It is marketing hogwash, but believe this nonsense if you want.

Stop eating beef if you want to reduce CO2 footprint.

You may also get a bicycle or at least e-bike, but personal transportation is of secondary importance in CO2 footprint.

If you are replacing an ICE that gets 40MPG it will take 62K miles to balance off that 17 tons. If you’re replacing something that gets worse MPG it will take less time. That’s not hogwash, it’s fact.
“The Union of Concerned Scientists … found that even when you add in emissions from battery manufacturing, EVs generate half the emissions of a conventional car over the course of its life.”
Yes, there are large upfront emissions manufacturing a battery, but the lower operating emissions make up for it.

And all of that is just half the story!
This dependence on oil has kept is in constant war state for the past 30+ years. You wanna talk about how many will die due to climate change induced by dino juice? I say let’s talk about how many already died because that dino juice!
This CO2 is a very convenient way of forgetting that the the main benefit, an instant benefit, of evs is a better air to breathe for everyone. Trolls like zzzzzzz always forget what they never known.

More anti-EV BS for fool cell shill zzzzzz.

Check out this video that will answer your concerns on battery manufacturing…..

“Stop eating beef if you want to reduce CO2 footprint.”

Hear. Hear.

what a tool this guy is!
we should all sit on our asses like him and do nothing to improve out lives.

I don’t know. My Leaf maybe down 60% in 5 years (after TC adjustment) but I spent next to zero to fuel it. You have to include that part in the math. It is super quiet, super reliable, no maintenance etc.
Even if you just say $1000 a year saved in fuel, my $21k in depreciation is really only $16k. I live in a super low electricity cost area and had solar panels (recently moved).
And not planning on selling either.
Not that maintenance is a huge charge but most comparable cars would have spent another $1000 by now – at least.

But – sure – using dollars alone, buying a new Leaf in 2013 wasn’t the cheapest decision. A Camry Hybrid is a nice car and would have cost similar.

I wonder what the depreciation on a Foolcell car is ,like a Mirai?

It will be 100% at the time interval they decide to crush them – 3 years?

I think you’ll see the same sort of issue if you buy any cutting edge technology. (Does anyone expect the hottest/best cell phone of 5 years ago would have respectable retained value compared to what can be purchased today?) I’m not saying EVs have advanced as fast as cell phones, just that the same issue of quickly improving technology driving down cost is in play. I also agree that the Fed, State & local incentives also bias the story as others have pointed out.

Wow great way to skew facts. Of course if a car starts $7500 less than their MSRP then their residual is going to appear less since the effective residual accounts for the tax rebate.

Plus the Volt got a $5k haircut for the 2014 model year. So there’s that too.

2014? Maybe that’s why all of your arguments seem so stale.

Outside of the market adjusting for the $7500 tax credit, older Volts and LEAFs both have major repair costs as they age. A new LEAF battery or new Volt transmission will cost you over $5K. These future costs are baked into the market value of these used cars.

Hmmm. I wonder what the going rate for an ICE or ICE tranmission is going for. I paid 6K for a factory rebuilt Honda Odyssey transmission once.

Volt transmissions are not going bad in any statistically relevant amount. There are coolant level sensors that mis-read, front hubs that get loose and click which need a new spacer and nut, but overall Volt is very solid. And anything related to the electric drivetrain is covered for 8 years/100,000 miles.

What is the front hubs loose thing? That is the first that I have heard. Tell me more about it, please. I am curious.

Ahh … I wonder if this is the source of some clicking I’ve started to hear when I’m braking and also making a hard left turn.

This should be a surprise to no one and is the reason most people lease these cars rather than purchase (at least the smart ones). The technology and design of EVs is changing so fast there no good reason to own one unless you commit to a full life cycle term and then depreciation does not matter.

And the smartest ones bought a used EV, Saving a ton of money!

I must not be very smart, I purchased my Volt brand new in 2012. Paid 29k after incentives/rebates which I felt was a fair price for the car. It currently has 111,000 miles, 93,000 of which are electric. I love the car very much and have no desire to purchase a new car at this time. It has Voltec warranty and battery warranty until 150k so I am fine there for a couple more years. When it comes time for a new car I will probably just donate this one. I don’t understand why people have to get new cars so often and care so much about resale value.

The newer the car the safer you are.

Bought a brand new 2014 Volt in January 2015. $36,000 MSRP, out the door with taxes for $26,500 (GM Rebates; Dealer discounts; GM Card Top Off; $500 chevy website coupon). So about $19,000 once I got my $7500 back. A dealer here in Ohio had bought out remaining inventory of a dealer that had gone out of business, or, so they said. It’s considered a 4 year old car now, and roughly speaking on trade-in, I’d get maybe $10,000 for it, so it’s slightly above average across all cars, only thanks to steep discounts up front.

Are you saying that buying a Model 3 is not smart?

This will also happen to Tesla as battery technology improves and prices come down for EV’s made by other manufacturers.

In the mean time you’re driving an awesome clean car that evolves over time at least software wise via wifi. I love my M3. Version 9 just came out with some very nice improvements and some Atari games which are the only games I familiar with.

Tesla used high-density batteries from the beginning — so they are seeing only incremental upgrades, not the massive jumps other makers are doing as they are slowly catching up with the state of the art…

This will also happen to your stinky gassers…and they don’t even have batteries.

I’m curious how the Honda Clarity will fit in the list (if at all). It’s a PHEV like the Volt, but Hondas keep their value batter than Chevys.

Honda always has and always will.

For the most part reason being Honda don’t like to sell to rental car companies.

I must say that the depreciation on the Volt is ridiculous. I have almost 100K miles on my 2013 Volt with about 60% of those miles on electricity. Everything on the vehicle works flawlessly with very little maintenance required and the battery shows little sign of degradation. There are Volts with 2,3, even 400K on them with little problem. Definitely worth taking a look at one of these as a used car if you have a place to plug in. You do want to do due diligence on a used one though. Make sure it has a good maint. history and has all required updates.

The depreciation is unfairly high. (On the bright side, high depreciation means more EVs get in the hands of people who otherwise couldn’t afford them — aiding the goal of greater EV adoption.)

Here in Colorado our local dealer had new Leafs for 11,400$ out of pocket after discounts and rebates. A co-worker just sold his beat up 24 kWh Leaf for 9500$. Find me another car you can drive for four or five years and nearly get your out of pocket costs back

Please provide the details, It would be worth going there to buy one even though I’d have to pay Calif. sales/use tax when I register it here.

That’s why you lease these cars new and you don’t buy them.

If you buy them new you don’t own the car, rather the car will actually own you for a long long time.

Being an 2011 Volt owner that I paid $6k I think that it is very easy to explain the devaluation on it. The range of 35 miles is very limited, the 3kW charging speed is molasly slow, once running on gas it gets only 40MPG of PREMIUM gas (which ends up being more expensive to run than any other small car like a Cruze, or even worse, a Prius). The Volt does not have a very stellar reliability and is not very comfortable to ride and only has 4 seats. I bought it because I find it cool, despite buying a Prius of same year and even if paying a little more would have been a more financially rational choice.

if you charge every night you’d have to drive a lot of miles every day for the prius to have a lower fuel cost. Like around 100 miles a day or more, depending on your local gas cost and electricity cost. The only way the prius would be the rational choice vs a 2011 volt is if you need 5 seats or drive over 100 miles a day.

If you need 5 seats, or if you need the much better and easily usable cargo space of the Prius. I sometimes have to throw my lawnmower in the back of the Prius: easily done. It’s possible with the Volt, but much, much more difficult.

I rarely need 5 seats and the extra cargo space, but when I need it is upsetting that I don’t have. It is not like it has but it is cramped, it is like it is simply impossible to fit one more person.

My commute is 20 miles round trip and can charge at work, but not at home. I average 50 miles a day, however, if the weekend trips are counted, since I have some weekends were I do easily more than 300 miles, so these miles end up being on gas or sometimes I have some longer errands during the weekdays, which also end up being partially covered up on gas. My Volt displays that I’m doing 90MPG (thus, about half of my mileage ends up being in gas), assuming that the electricity comes for free. I drive slowly to improve MPG, so I could be easily doing 55-60MPG on a Prius. I end up spending $0.07 in gas and electricity combined, which, at local gas prices, a gas car doing 50MPG would cost the same. Of course this denies the maintenance in the gas engine, but I don’t have high expectations on the reliability of the 1.4 Ecotec of my Volt.

Let’s make a simple use case. I can get 40 miles out of my Volt’s battery. If I usually do my 20 miles commute 4 days a week, one single extended errand that makes a total of 50 miles during the weekday and usually drive 220 miles in a weekend and I charge every single week day and leave every Friday with a full battery, I am driving basically 50 miles a day on average, but more than a half of my mileage will have to be on gas.

Still means that you are only using gas on 180 miles per week out of the so called 300 miles weekly drive. For a 50mpg Prius, you would use 6 gallons. For the Volt, you only use 4.5 gallons!! Still less than the Prius. Not to mention the Volt drives better than that POS Prius.

Remember that it would be 4.5 MPG of premium gas plus the charging costs, which will end up being not so far from the cost of doing all in a Prius. However, I agree with you that the Volt drives much better than a Prius (I had one before).

Do you have to pay for charging at work? If not then the charging costs don’t matter to you. If you do have to pay at work then you’re probably paying per hour. The volt’s slow ~3kW on-board charger makes hourly charging very expensive. Unfortunately, even if your gas was $4/gallon it would be cheaper to run the volt on gas than to pay over $1/hr to charge it at ~3kW. I charge my volt at home and pay around 10 cents per kWh. This puts the volt at around 2-3 cents per mile to operate on electrons.

Yes, I pay to charge at work. Around $0.18 per kWh. The ends up cost me around $0.05 driving on electricity or $0.10 on gas, ignoring other costs, like an upcoming oil change.

35 miles EV range is still good enough to beat 90% of the PHEV out there today. It is still sufficient for about 80% of daily commute in US.

40mpg is still better than Cruze’s mpg rating and better than 95% of all non-PEV on the market today.

If you think it is so bad, then you are the sucker who paid $6K for it.

Personally I think $6K is a steal and it would work great for my daily need.

Remember that this 40 MPG is on Premium gas, which translates to around 35 MPG of regular gas, cost-wise. I already explained that the problem is not with the regular commute (which I almost always do electric), it is the extended errands and weekend trips that end up being on gas and this ends up counting a lot in the running expenses of the car and negates the savings of driving it on electricity the rest of the week.

Me a sucker for paying $6k for it? Hell no! I love my Volt, and I would not sell it for even $10k.

A Prius would be cheaper to operate, but it is not a Volt 😉

Why can’t used car publisher, and especially a EV publisher understand the reality here?
The Leaf, a $30,000 car, lost 24% of its value just by purchasing it, not really even driving it off the lot! That’s because the fed tax credit kicks in.
If you remove 25% of the depreciation because the car really didn’t cost that much, then it falls into a better than average depreciation car.

Because used car publishers are there to inflate the prices of used cars and mask defects on certain cars. The worst is KBB. I lived in Germany back in 2001-2003 and noticed I could buy a used 1995 base model BMW 740i for $5000. I had to pinch myself and almost bought one till I talked to a German mechanic. He told me that the Germans didn’t want them because about 1/2 of them, the 8 cyl engine block would crack and if I bought one with an original engine, it was playing roulette. The original retail back in 95 for that car was around $60K. That was 95% depreciation over 5 years. When I checked KBB in the US, 95′ BMW 740i was $25-30K – 5X the price. I asked the German mechanic what German car should I buy, he said don’t get a Opal.

Check those numbers again in 12/24/36 months.

It will shock the hell out of you…. 👻

My 2014 will be 5 years old in a few weeks.
What is the math for 71.2%?
The MSRP was $38k.
Is it now worth $10.9k?
I claimed the tax credit so total was $30.5K.
Is it now worth $8.8k?
Let’s take the 2nd number. I negotiated a $3k discount. Drove away at $27.5k. Per year cost is $3,740.
To me this not horrendous. The only long distance alternative with an electric motor at the time was a Model S that would have cost twice as much.
I feel good about my choice. I still enjoy driving it and intend to keep it for a few more years. Those additional years depreciation cannot exceed $8.8k so no worries.

2013 Leaf is $7500, a 2013 Volt is $10,000 with average miles.
I would say the Volt has held its value.

In 2015 I bought a used 2013 Nissan Leaf SV with 15k miles for $10K. In 2017 Nissan replaced the battery under warranty with the newest (at the time) which gave me 108 miles range. The invoice from the dealer showed it would have cost $4500 if not under warranty. I love the car and it’s perfect for my 16 year old daughter because she can’t go too far.

When Preowned car shoppers, start to see some of the 2018 (40kWh) Leafs, coming off of their three year Leases, along with some of the Honda Clarity PHEVs, and Chevy Bolts, in mid to late 2021, I would think that the Honda Clarity PHEV will have probably retained the better % of its MSRP resale value, as a certified POV, of the three different EV/PHEVs mentioned.

The Chevy Volt is the one that will quite probably be in the middle of the deprecation % pack, in the 2021 PHEV certified POV market, not far, or possibly right behind Prius Prime.

This is sadly true only in US. In Europe, depreciation is slower then ICE vehicles.

“This is sadly true only in US. In Europe, depreciation is slower then ICE vehicles.”

The sadly part is misguided.

Some of the depreciation is BECAUSE the US has a $7,500 tax credit (and some states have credit) and this wasn’t taken into account when calculation deprecation.

Think about it this way, if someone has a used Nissan Leaf or Chevy Volt that is 1 year old, not only is there depreciation because it is a 1-year old used car, there is depreciation because you can’t get the $7,500 tax credit on the used car but you can on new cars.

The study reduced the initial price of the Leaf and Volt by the $7,500 since it is a US-based study. They should have also made it clear that it was the previous generation Leaf (not the current one) since they measured 5-year depreciation.
Steven Loveday should have made this clear as well.

” If you plan to buy a brand-new vehicle and keep it for about five years before you sell it or trade it in, these cars should probably be avoided.”

This statement isn’t necessarily correct for the the current generation Leaf, which is quite a bit different than the previous generation.

Let’s be clear that the Leaf that was being referred to was the previous generation. It is reasonable to infer this because iseecars states, “… with the Nissan LEAF losing 72.7 percent of its value after five years.” Since 5 years hasn’t passed since the current generation 2018 Nissan Leaf, this doesn’t apply. iseecars should have made it more clear which range of years it was referring to.

Since they were looking specifically at 5 year depreciation, models with new generations which are very different from the previous generation don’t necessarily apply.

My experience is different. In most countries there is a large tax credit or something similar. From the government, but also from provinces and cities. So you should use what people really paid as a starter. You can see it with second hand EVs that only have a few hundred kilometres: they seem to have depreciated a lot, but in fact their price is just under that of a new car with all possible tax cuts..

And after that the real depreciation stays low. I bought my 1 year old 2015 Kia Soul EV for € 18.750 and now, two years later, the 2015 Soul EV with my amount of kilometres sells for € 17.000. Would I sell now I would have driven two years for only € 1750!

Steven —

You showed photos of the wrong Nissan Leaf generation.

Since they measured 5-year depreciation, they were measuring a very different generation, the weirdmobile Leaf. It is impossible to measure 5 years of depreciation of the current generation Leaf since 5 years haven’t passed.

You are aware that depreciation can vary significantly from one generation of a given model to another when there have been considerable changes, aren’t you?

I didn’t add any photos of a LEAF in the article. There is a LEAF gallery at the bottom beyond the source link of the post, which goes in LEAF-related content. I can remove it, but it was unrelated to the story itself. That’s why I didn’t use a LEAF picture as the lead image in the story or in the story itself and I linked and older LEAF in as a possible candidate for used car purchase.

OK, good to know, and thanks for responding.

But regarding this statement, ” If you plan to buy a brand-new vehicle and keep it for about five years before you sell it or trade it in, these cars should probably be avoided.” We don’t know if it is true for the current generation Leaf, do we. It is very different from original “weird mobile” Leaf generation, and no one has 5 years worth of depreciation on it.

I don’t think it is fair to assume that depreciation will be the same as for the weird mobile generation.

One reason the 18 Leaf is a sales turd is its terrible expected depreciation. And that depreciation directly correlates to battery degradation, accounts of which are rampant. Cheap used EVs like the Leaf are a blight on the new EV market – why should anyone buy new instead of used, or buy instead of lease? This is exactly why I leased my Leaf – I didn’t trust its battery for the long run, and I was right. My 12 Leaf depreciated 80% in 3 years, not 5. And this was *after* the Federal incentive. Here’s the math: MSRP = 38250 I paid = 37500 Fed subsidy = 7500 Net price = 30000 After the 3 year lease, the car was traded, and went to auction. It soon reappeared in a used car lot three states away for 9000. Here is more math: List price, used = 9000 Likely sale price = 8000 Likely investment by used car store = 7000 (6000 + 1000 in transport + new tires + detailing) Likely auction price = 6000 6000/30000 – 1 = -80% Some of the True Believers here will accuse me of lying or wrong math. But you can’t have it both… Read more »

The study is flawed because it uses MSRP as the basis of calculation. We all know that nobody pays MSRP for any of those cars and there is additional federal and state incentives on top of it all.

For example, one of my friend just got a brand new Volt for $19K (MSRP $34K) after all the incentives included. By calculation, that is already a depreciation of 41.2% if he sold it immediately for $20K. But he didn’t actually lose any money on it at all.

The calculations presented here are somewhat dishonest. The tax credit should not be factored into the depreciation at all. The used pricing for 2016/17 Volts in my region (if you can get them) represents the deduction of the $7,500 tax credit and $2-3k for mileage from MRSP at the most, not much less what I paid for my new Volt LT in 2017 after deductions. It is understandable for the <2016 Volt models and the older Leafs to more strongly depreciate. I am thinking buying a used Volt Premium in 2-3 years, should become a great deal.

All depends on where you live….8 months ago I sold my 2012 Ampera ( Volt) for the same price I paid for it two and a half years prior. The reason was these cars were always expensive and rare and as GM “pulled the plug” (pun intended) on UK sales electrics have become “flavour of the month” with new models appearing. This newfound interest in EVs and the Volts rarity has stabilised prices over these last three years with nil depreciation.

Let’s use actual numbers. I bought my 2017 Volt LT in early 2017 for $29k. After federal and state incentives, it cost me the equivalent of $19k. On TruCar, the cheapest 2017 Volt is asking $23k. Even if it got bargained down to $20k, if I sold mine for the same price I would have made money. The stats in this article are very misleading, to say the least.

Exactly. That is why using MSRP to calculate depreciation is as dumb as it can be. Of course, it is easy to use that number.

Also, most domestic cars are sold with heavier discounts than import brands. So, on average, their depreciation (domestic) will show up even worse.

Bought my 2014 Leaf used yet KBB shows private party price 500 dollars more than I paid a year ago, happy with that.
In the real world I figure if I was to sell it would loose a couple hundred, but it’s not for sale so doesn’t matter.

In the UK, new electric cars are so short (waiting lists so long) that used Leafs, Zoes etc are increasing strongly in value (from a position at the top of the depreciation charts like the US). If the battery shortage continues this trend may spread beyond Europe.
If you cannot afford new, I would therefore suggest to US residents that a used EV is a real no brainer right now.

So many BMW’s on the list….

Of course the USD7500 tax credit (available only to the original, new car, purchaser) is counted as part of the depreciation, inflating the percentage wildly.

This study is brought to you by the oil and gas industry! Now go out and buy a 55 gallon drum of oil!

Even higher in Australia, but I still love my Volt!

That’s great news for used car shoppers. That $7,500 tax credit is an instant depreciation. In some areas you can get into a new LEAF for less than $20,000USD. Meanwhile it has never been a better time to make an offer on a new or used Tesla. Go to their newly redesigned Inventory website, find a inventory lot in your region, select the car you want, and make them an offer.

This reminds me, I saw a really nice looking Volt this morning. IF your an apartment dweller or you make frequent unexpected trips out of town, you cannot go wrong with a Volt. Great cars. Some of my work buddies have them and they really like them a lot.

Advances in tech are the only real reason to jump for a new car, and for EV’s that’s amped up (no pun intended) by the fact that they’re cutting edge tech. Each generation gets much better range and other improvements, so the older versions lose their value significantly. If anything, I think it’s admirable that Leafs retain as much of their value as they do (based on calculations others have done regarding true paid-for price after rebates etc, not just MSRP). After all, an original Leaf with a sub-100 mile range is at a huge disadvantage in the marketplace now that there are numerous EVs with 100+, 200+, 300+ mile ranges.