Report: Used Nissan LEAF Prices Fall To $15,238 In March

APR 12 2015 BY JAY COLE 46

The Nissan LEAF Faced Some Re-Sale Headwinds In March

The Nissan LEAF Faced Some Re-Sale Headwinds In March

While most of the time we concern ourselves with what the latest retail pricing is on EVs – and how well they sell, it is also good from time-to-time to check in on the used market too.

Just Take Your Pic (Image via Scott F for InsideEVs)

Just Take Your Pic (Image via Scott F for InsideEVs)

According to’s recent survey, the Nissan LEAF, which faced a lot of new model anticipation and retail discounts in March, got hit hard on re-sale valuations:

“Average asking prices for used Nissan Leaf electric cars fell 4.4 percent to $15,238 in March. That’s $700 less than at the beginning of the month. At the same time, the average price for all late-model used cars edged up slightly to $23,215, a gain of 0.6 percent.” further states that since the start of the year, only the GMC Savana 2500 has depreciated more than used LEAFs – the EV has fallen 9.8% YTD.  The Nissan LEAF was the only electric vehicle on this month’s list.

To be eligible for the list, more than 250 vehicles have to be in national search inventory, so the sample size is not small.  We should also note that the sampling is taken from 2012 to 2014 cars.

As always with electric cars, to accurately gauge true depreciate to the owner overall, one has to reduce the starting MSRP anywhere from $7,500 to $13,500 depending on the EV, and the point of sale state.

Looking at it another way, the Nissan LEAF which has an average new transaction price around $32,000, has a net cost to the consumer of between $18,620 and $24,500.  So, a $15,238 used price would still represent a pretty decent residual compared to a gas vehicle overall.

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46 Comments on "Report: Used Nissan LEAF Prices Fall To $15,238 In March"

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Jay, this is really useful info. I think as a lot of folks come off-lease, this could help determine a counter buy out price, if the owner wishes to do so.

Additionally, I wonder if anyone has a breakdown of what percentage used-EV sales are to previous/current EV owners versuses first time EV buyers.

wondering if could just top 3-5 states to estimate. eg: CA & GA likely may a good sampling at over 50% of the market in terms of registerations

The devil is in the details.

Let’s say a new Leaf MSRP is $29000. After federal incentive that comes to $21500. Which means there is no way the resell value of a used Leaf should exceed $21500.

Now lets say a used leaf sells at $15238.

Did its value drop 29% (from 21500 to 15238)?

Or did its value drop 47% (from 29000 to 15238)?

It depends on wherther one is able to get those incentives.

If not, then 49% is yes then only 29%.

And if somebody would not get 7k due to low incomes, Then depreciation of Leaf is… too low! 😉

Sorry, I miss your point. The Federal incentive of $7500 is available to everyone in the USA, except those who do not buy/lease an EV.

If for some unusual tax reason anybody would only get a reduced incentive if they purchase a new car, they could first lease the car for a few years and buy it out after the lease in which case they still got the complete discount.

Or if your point is that some people get $7500 incentive and some do not, do you have any idea what the average incentive is?? My guess would place it very close to $7500.

Buying the car you jut leased may not be all that great a deal. You would have to pay sales tax again as well as processing and tags. You might be better off money wise if you can talk your leasing company into adding 2 more years on to the existing lease at a much lower monthly payment thus avoiding the sales tax and processing fees. They might say yes.

Buy vs Lease usually depends how long you want to keep the car … so I cannot really say whether your suggestion lower costs, but I think that we are moving far away from the topic that Jay covered above.

The problem is that some people think a Leaf seems to depreciate about 25% the moment you buy it, but this depreciation is a confusion created by the Federal incentive.

Sadly seems to be confused by this, and I added an actual example with numbers to show how big the difference is.

Some states do not require a buyer to pay sales tax when purchasing a car at the end of their lease.

Actually in Oregon, we don’t have sales tax. I am leasing my LEAF right now, LOVE MY LEAF! Even though I drive it all over the place, it has very low miles because my local trips are frequent but short, perfect for me. When my lease is done next year, I will probably either turn it in for a new one or get a Tesla. Looking forward to a 150 mile range LEAF or even a 300 mile range. Now that would be phenomenal.

In order to qualify for the full $7500 federal tax credit you need to have a minimum tax liability of $7500 in the year you purchased your electric vehicle after all other tax deductions. People with high incomes will likely have more than $7500 in tax liability after the year, but people with lower incomes will likely have less than $7500 and qualify for only a portion if any at all. In this case, it would make much more sense to lease the electric vehicle (assuming the leasing company passes on the full $7500 to you, which most do), or purchase used.

Something to consider is there will been over 100,000 LEAFs purchased by Dec 31, 2015. At ~33,000 EVs sold in the US, Nissan EV buyers will see a phase-out of the $7,500 federal incentive. That’s likely to occur with-in the next 3 years … ie: sometime in 2018. (higher demand for nextgen EV’s could move up the date sooner in 2018)

So sometime in 2018, the incentive difference between ‘new’ and ‘used’ LEAFs will exist. What does this mean for used LEAF prices in 2018+ ??

While it is near impossible to predict future ‘used’ EV prices, IMO expect the gap to narrow substantially to that of ‘new’ pricing (effluenced mostly by odometer reading).

Your analysis is correct, based on the current law. However, I expect Volt 2.0 to be a hit and Chevrolet to reach the phase out limit before Nissan does, and petition for an extension.

It is anybody’s guess what our dysfunctional government does at that point.

We have to see what we end up for a government and elected members after the 2016 election. Much can happen between now and 2017 in politics … GM? Nissan and Tesla should be good till 2018.

I think you meant influenced. Effluenced is basically means having a bowel movement

ggpa — “Let’s say a new Leaf MSRP is $29000. After federal incentive that comes to $21500. Which means there is no way the resell value of a used Leaf should exceed $21500.” We actually have more data than that available to us when considering resale average values. Because we know that Leaf sales aren’t evenly distributed between states that have incentives and those that don’t. We know that Leaf sales are strongest in places like California and Atlanta Georgia, and Portland Oregon. We also know that each of those places have state incentives from $1,500 to $5,000. Because we know this, we know that Average Sales Price can’t absolutely can’t exceed $21,500 MINUS the average state tax incentive. Now that is harder to Statistically speaking we also know that the Leases outnumber sales. Most people lease, and leases ALWAYS get the federal incentive to the lease company. Of the people who buy, it is logical to assume that most get part or all of the federal incentive, or we would have heard much more about it. Any odd-ball examples are the exception that proves the rule. Now to my guestimate. Throw out the 47% number, because it simply doesn’t… Read more »

I would consider a lease extension on my 12 Leaf if I get a new battery pack.

how maney bars did you lose
on your leaf and how maney
miles do you have on it.

Two bars lost with 29966 miles driven in central Florida. I will probably lose another bar this summer.

Isn’t Nissan offering $5,000 cash on lease buyout? That comes pretty close to buying a new battery.

Yes, Nissan is offering lease extensions and $5k residual reduction to buy out your lease.

Only on 2012 and 2013 model years.

Good news for you, Mister G.

Not to worry, so much about the Traction Battery in your Nissan LEAF anymore. In fact, of late, the facts will surprise you.

Not only does Nissan warranty the Traction Battery 10 years / 150,000 miles in ARB states but Christopher De Morro, writing for the widely read website ‘Gas2, Burn Rubber Not Gas’, states this:

“One of the “boogeymen” that anti-EV idiots like to mention is the high cost of replacing a broken battery. It’s true, EV batteries aren’t cheap; a replacement pack for the Nissan LEAF costs $5,500 plus the old battery.

But do LEAF batteries fail frequently? New data shows that out of 35,000 Nissan LEAF sales in Europe, just 0.01%, or 3 units total, have failed.”

Link Goes To Gas2 Article: “99.99% Of Nissan LEAF Batteries Still In Operation”-

So, not so much to worry about now, eh?


Thomas J. Thias



No, the Leaf batteries don’t outright fail, they just lose capacity much faster than Nissan claimed, such that a few will benefit by getting a new battery. That means the rest of us will be left with a severely degraded battery after 5-6 years of ownership (and in my case, about 60,000 miles) with no recourse except small claims court.

Yes, the devil is in the details.


The European statistic of 3 replacements is interesting, but not accurate for America.

I think it is widely accepted that the 2013 and later Leafs have lower battery failure rates than the 2011/12 models. The European stats only include the newer cars.

No the good news is that Nissan is replacing the batteries if they fail in the older cars. I recall in summer 2013 this already exceeded 20 replacements, at a time when the total number of Leafs in the US was around 25,000.

While it is true the 11-12 batteries degrade faster, this is not necessarily a problem. As long as the car does what you need it to replacement isn’t necessary, I’m still doing my 40 mile commute with a 2011 with 50K on it(I have at work charging) and expect I will be OK for another 50K at least. I give Nissan credit for getting the car to market and helping force the other OEMs to step up and build cars, if there was no Leaf would there be a Soul EV? a Golf EV? maybe not. I even think you may want to replace your battery because better ones are available in 2-3 years even if it is still good, and since EVs require so little maintenance otherwise maybe that’s not so bad…

It would be much better to have a water cooled battery that doesn’t degrade at that fast rate. Like the one in my Focus or the Tesla.

Dave, I wrote “The European statistic of 3 replacements is interesting, but not accurate for America.”

I cannot see how your response relates to that point.

I thought the 10 Year 150k Mile Battery Warranty was only applicable to PHEVs, whereas BEVs usually only carry an 8 Year 100k Mile Battery Warranty?

+1 Jay, you ended your article this way: “Looking at it another way, the Nissan LEAF which has an average new transaction price around $32,000, has a net cost to the consumer of between $18,620 and $24,500. So, a $15,238 used price would still represent a pretty decent residual compared to a gas vehicle overall.” I could NOT agree with you more. This is not the first time that I have called out Mr. Hanley for misleading articles about Electric Fueled Vehicle and their used resale value’s. My rebutal: Cars Dot Com is reporting on actual listings of cars for sale nationally on its subscriber site. The majority of listings are from Auto Dealers. These sale prices are just that, eye catching reduced pricing aimed at catching the buyer’s eye. Sale prices, do NOT reflect true and the actual average valuation of used vehicles based on make, model, year, miles, etc. to banks, credit unions and lenders looking for a true loanable value, thus, a given vehicle’s true monetary worth. Most lenders, banks and credit unions now use the National Automobile Dealers Association Valuation Guide in Software Form. The process is simplified. The lender enters the VIN, miles, borrowers name… Read more »

In my area there are tons of ’11-’13 Leafs with 12k – 20k miles and priced $11-14k. Volts, on the other hand, are over $16k with 40k-90k miles. Quite the difference.

It’s certainly worth noting that the Volt receives a much smaller rebate than the Leaf, and the rebate is likely a major reason that the residual is so much lower than list.

Depends on where you are considering. The Volt receives the full $7500 federal tax credit because it has the minimum battery size (16.4 kWh) required for the full amount. However, state incentives vary. For instance, in California, the Volt qualifies for the PHEV $1500 state tax rebate, whereas the Leaf qualifies for the BEV $2500 state tax rebate. This obviously varies per state.

Lately Nissan has been giving pretty large rebates for financing through them, and 72 months with no interest, whereas Chevy has not been discounting the Volt quite as much. Plus the Volt has a higher MSRP than the LEAF. These play more into the difference in residual price than the difference in tax incentives.

I got a 2013 in November of 2014 for 13,500 with 7K miles.


As we start to see the ‘used EV market’ evolve and mature, the number of used EVs will grow substantially.

Has InsideEVs given any thoughts to tracking “registered EVs” in general like is done in Europe, vs. focusing on ‘new sales’ tracking in the US? Think the number of “EVs registered” tells a more balanced story of the EV industry. (IMO)

Thoughts, comments?

Thanks, @Jay

The $7500 tax-credits provide a GREAT trickle down effect for the used market.

The only problem is the boneheads that don’t understand the dynamic and write up all those articles saying “Depreciation on EVs is massive!”

The depreciation is actual. The only thing in EV’s is that the Goverment takes the depreciation.

$15+k for a used Leaf sounds very high to me. Maybe a year old one for that amount but how much appeal can a 2-3 year old EV with +/-60 miles and falling of everyday range have?

It will still have the battery warrantee so if it fails the new owner will still be able to get it replaced for free.

Good! Low used EV prices just proves that the federal tax incentives are working correctly.

Any of the complaints that wealthy people are benefiting from these incentives because they are the ones buying new EV’s is debunked by these numbers.

These numbers prove that the federal and state incentives are being passed through to the 2nd owners in the form of lower resale prices. Used car buyers are statistically lower income households than new car buyers. This means the Federal incentives are making their way down into the pockets of average middle-class Americans.

It should be noted that these are changes in ASKING prices at dealerships, and may have very little to do with the actual average SALE price. This data could simply reflect that dealerships are putting more realistic window prices on their Leaf’s, instead of going for trying to knock the heads off of potential buyers with inflated asking prices that they ended up negotiating lower final sales prices on most of the time. If the trend went from trying to make as much a killing as possible on each Leaf, to trying to turn used Leaf inventory as quickly as possible, the 9% drop in price since the beginning of the year could just reflect a change in sales tactics. To really know, we would have to know more data. We would need to know actual sale price, actual wholesale price (like from Manheim auction results), number of Days on Lot, and average number of used Leaf’s on advertiser’s lots each month. Then we could tell if this is a real change in prices, or if it is dealerships trying to turn inventory quicker as more used Leaf’s become available, by putting their Asking Price closer to their final… Read more »

One final comment for anybody who lives and pays State Income Taxes in Colorado:

Buying a used $15,238 Leaf that has never been licensed in Colorado scores you a 24% state tax incentive. That’s 3657.12 off the price on a purchase, making the final price $11,580.88 (plus taxes, fees, licensing)

You just have to make sure to get a carfax proving it was never licensed in Colorado. You have to provide a copy of that carfax to the State as proof when you claim the credit.

Don’t own a Leaf but I have found a pretty good Nissan/Lotus dealership, which works on my Tesla.

I hear all the comments about great waranties but then if this is such an Iron-Clad warranty why don’t DonC with his 35 mile range Leaf get the battery fixed? Isn’t a ‘half battery’ considered defective?