UK Used Vehicle Market Flooded With Year-Old Plug-In Vehicles


Nissan LEAF in UK

Nissan LEAF in UK

Over in the UK, The Times notes there is “glut of second-hand electric cars on sale,” including a ton that we’re originally registered in 2013:

Vauxhall Ampera in UK

Vauxhall Ampera in UK

“Almost half of the plug-in electric and hybrid vehicles on the AA’s used car website have a 2013 registration. Of the 1,369 hybrids and EVs on offer, 624 were registered in 2013.”

The Times says that this “may indicate that drivers don’t like their early experiences of low-emissions motoring,” but we think there’s something else going on here.

The UK, like the US, offers incentives for purchasing plug-in vehicles.  In the UK, it’s a £5,000 Plug In Car Grant.

So, could it be that these buyers are taking advantage of the grant money and then trying to sell the vehicles on the used market before they depreciate significantly?

That seems most likely to us, but what do you think?

Source: The Times

Categories: General


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33 Comments on "UK Used Vehicle Market Flooded With Year-Old Plug-In Vehicles"

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They are realizing that they are not Telsas and waiting for Gen. 3.

I can’t help but wonder if a “glut” of a few hundred vehicles all registered at the same time where perhaps all from the same customer? perhaps a trial that has now finished or a company that has gone bust? Anyway good time to pick up a bargain

>>So, could it be that these buyers are taking advantage of the grant money and then trying to sell the vehicles on the used market before they depreciate significantly?

I doubt it. The used price should take into account this credit to a certain extent, unless the credit has suddently ended. Otherwise buyers would opt for a new one that they could get the credit on, vs. a used one that could not unless the used price took it into account.

I expect a similar “glut” in the US around 2015/2016 as tons of those cars are coming off the lease.

Majority of people leased them and the newer and better versions of those cars are either cheaper or newer. So, there is NO incentives NOT to lease the new ones. There will be a huge pressure on those used LEAF especially.

I hope so. I wouldn’t mind a cheap used Volt.

I think you should search on some of the Hottest Volt states.

CA is one of them.

Those Volt that comes off lease (2011) today without HOV sticker should have decent price.

I don’t think we have to wait that long. Look at the chart from the earlier article on CARB EV rebates:

There was a large ramp up in rebates from March-June 2011. With a typical 3-year lease we should see a good number of EVs hitting the lots in the next couple months in California.

Sales quickly fell off after that, though, so it will be late 2015 before we see another influx of used EVs coming in off-lease.

The only fly in that argument is that a lot of early adopters opted to buy the LEAF instead of leasing – IIRC Nissan was surprised by the number of people who bought instead of leased.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

Is the HOV sticker transferrable?


But I don’t see how the cop is going to pull you over for it if you didn’t violate other traffic laws.

I think you are right.

In particular Leaf models without thermal battery protection.

Nissan has already scared the public with their extra battery warranty tied to capacity loss, covering 5 years of 60k miles and that it’s acceptable to have 30% capacity loss.

Then adding fuel to the fire, they offer a new Battery Lease for $99/mo, but you only get a battery pack with 80% capacity.

Which tells consumers that it’s a good deal to lease a new Leaf, and if you bought one, dump it within 3 years before capacity loss is visible(1 bar loss).

But clearly, buying a used Leaf is a really bad decision.

Just lease a new one, if you can’t afford $199/mo and zero gas and almost zero maintenance, you don’t need a car.

But the Volt, Model S, Focus Electric, Energi models and other EVs with thermal protection will do very well as used, due to their much longer battery life expectancy.

If you only commute 40 miles a day a used leaf would be cheap. If you only use the car for commuting the slow charger version would be cheaper also. I’m thinking in a few years a 3 year old with the 3K charger will be about 10K

A lot of people can’t qualify for the lease, but could qualify for a 5 year car loan. Either way, used Leafs showing up on the market for $14,000 or so are very affordable cars, even missing some capacity. The Nissan warranty should continue to cover most of the used ones for several years to make sure they have at least 70% capacity. That range is still useful to a lot of people.

The other thing is, when you buy a used car, it is much easier to re-sell that used car if you decide you don’t like it anymore. With a lease, you are stuck. If buying a brand-new car, you are still stuck because you’ll be upside down. Buying used is smart in this regard, because you can get out of it easily.

The leasing dones’t explain this, where cars are just 1 year old. in US, these leases are for 3 years. But may be, in UK it is just 1 year.

“So, could it be that these buyers are taking advantage of the grant money and then trying to sell the vehicles on the used market before they depreciate significantly?”

Why buy used when you can buy new and get a 5000 pound subsidy?

I suspect, that this cars were bought by companies as a marketing gag. Buy it, drive a little around and make some press photos and then dump them.

My 2012 Leaf will be going back when its lease expires in September 2015. Why?

While the battery degradation is normal, it will have degraded 13% by then, and the range will start to become problematic. I’m not interested in seeing it go down to an unusable level.

Uncertainty on this issue is exactly why I chose to lease instead of buy. I also figured the resale value on a purchased car would be horrendous. A casual check of resale prices on Leafs already tells me that my buyout price will be far too high. If I do choose to buy out the lease, they’ll get a very lowball offer because I know Nissan will have to give them away as used vehicles.

I love the car and EV driving in general, but more range and less loss would be nicer.

Like others, I predict a glut of Leafs in 2015 & 2016.

Oh, good. I could use a cheap used car that has a stupdendously cheap cost of ownership to go the whopping 26 km (16 miles) to work and still have more than enough room to spare for other stuff.

That is, on the days it’s too rainy to bike.

In addition, if the rumored 48KWh LEAF ever comes out, then why would anyone buy the 24KWh used version without significant disount?

Or in another couple years the Model E should be close to launch which will put a dent in the new LEAF sales as well (that will lead to further reduction in value of the used LEAF).

This is just another anti-EV article from the UK press. They use an image of an EV, but the 629 used cars are Hybrids AND EVs registered in 2013 that are for sale. But they neglected to mention that the number is based on 32,715 hybrids and EVs sold in 2013. This by no means does this indicate ‘disillusionment’ by the consumers, but only that some are trying to profit from the 5,000 incentive, others may have upgraded when more models were available in 2013 and 2014. For instance, the Model S just started hitting dealerships in 2013, so anyone who could afford it, would jump out of a Zoe and into a Model S with no hesitation. The e-Up! was not available in 2013 but is now, and an option to trade up and end a never ending battery lease on a Twizy or Zoe, and still get the 5,000 incentive works make sense. Renault knows this and it’s why they are ‘reluctantly’ but quickly working a way to end the manditory battery lease cash cow. So yeah, it’s just a Times fluff piece trying to get the attention of those already against electric vehicles. But those that do… Read more »

You pay for the battery via the lease, so the incetive makes still sense. You also get an incentive when you lease a complete Leaf. So… whats the difference?

“Huge strides are being made in the UK with sales of the British-built Nissan LEAF increasing by more than 1000 percent in January versus the prior year.”

“The Times” seems to crossed some facts. How does the percentage of EVs & percentage of Hybrids for sale compare with the percentage of vehicles in general. Numbers seem a bit cherry picked and lack context.

On I counted just about 90 used plugins (inicluding 1985 milk float) , so just another anti EV article.

The credit is deducted at the time you buy the car in the UK and is not dependent on your tax status.

Saying that when I was looking at Amperas there did seem to be quite a few nearly new where they were asking more than the RRP for new, but only by a small amount.

Anyway plenty of the UK press are haters and it’s probably going to take them another five years to come around. The motoring press generally seem much better with fairly objective reporting.

Business leases in the UK are often 1 year – that’s the same for all cars, not just electric. It’s how my family have always picked up good deals on last year’s ranges. A ‘glut’ of electric cars onto the market means there’s been a decent uptake of electric cars into the business leasing market – which I’d say is a good thing.

If you want to test the theory, just check what percentage of other popular business vehicles are available second hand 1 year later 🙂 Certainly Renault, Vauxhall and Ford all seem to work this way – from personal experience.

Well you could say the same for Volts for sale in Australia if you did not understand what is going on. There is quite a number Volts first registered just over a year ago now being advertised in the popular car sales sites. Firstly, the article relates to both hybrid and plug-in electric. Investigation might reveal the data highly skewed to hybrids. This is possibly not a new phenomenon, and perhaps there is a systemic reason. How does the dealer car demo system work in the UK? How many dealers are there in the UK selling hybrids and plug-ins – more or less than 625? Do dealers have incentives to hold demo cars for a certain length of time and are they then popularly sold on the AA site? The hypothesis might also be tested that once a hybrid is sold to a real customer, it stays off the market for a long time. The data would then be proportionally skewed to newer vehicle sales. Rather than the implied suggestion that new owners are disappointed customers, it could be that most owners are very happy customers and retain their hybrid for a long time (less churn on AA site). Regarding… Read more »

This kind of crap happens in the US too. Several dealerships around Texas purchased LEAFs (in particular, but not exclusively), took the $7500 rebate, then sold the vehicles as “used” at nearly MSRP. Most of these vehicles had fewer than 10 miles on the odometer.

I’m not sure I believe that. Well, unless Texans are even dumber than I think they are. And that is a pretty low bar to go under. 😉

Looking forward to “a glut” of Tesla Model Ss. A used one from California will still have that government incentive inbred.
Here in Alberta you get a government incentive if you buy the biggest, thirstiest pickup truck (sort of).
Or am I dreaming?

“So, could it be that these buyers are taking advantage of the grant money and then trying to sell the vehicles on the used market before they depreciate significantly?”

That’s exactly what is happening. Which is the reason why social engineering through the tax code is rarely successful beyond the expiration of the incentives.

“social engineering through the tax code”? Really? What’s wrong with incentives? Particularly incentives that encourage cleaner living?

Every system has loopholes, and there is always a group of assholes that look for the loopholes and exploit them. Just look at Wall St….

No, that is not what is happening unless buyers of the used versions are amazingly stupid. Any used EV buyer will look at the new car price, subtract the subsidy and start with that as highest possible price for the car.

Last year (March 2013 to March 2015) … Nissan’s Sutherland plant built over 13,000 Leaf’s for Europe. Not a bad first year production!

Note: The Times article quotes “used” EV & hybrid numbers, but omits numbers on new vehicle sales and registrations.