Used Nissan LEAF, Chevy Volt On Top 10 Biggest Depreciation List


LEAF and Volt Among Top Depreciators

LEAF and Volt Among Top Depreciators – Image – Kicking Tires

2011 Nissan LEAF

2011 Nissan LEAF

“Gas prices may be on the rise, but that’s not necessarily bolstering demand for used electric cars.”

States Kicking Tires.

On its latest “Top 10 Biggest Price Drops” list, we see the Nissan LEAF as the biggest loser and the Chevy Volt placing fourth.

“The all-electric Nissan Leaf saw the biggest price drop in June; asking prices for late-model used Leafs dipped 4.2 percent ($819) to $18,692 on average. The Chevrolet Volt, an electric car with a range-extending gas generator, experienced the fourth-biggest price drop, with its average price falling 2.9 percent ($710) to $23,984.”

It should be noted that both the LEAF and Volt have 2015 Model Year versions coming soon.  For the LEAF, the 2015 Model Year is already available in Canada and will be shortly in the US.  The 2015 Volt is right around the corner too.

Lastly, we’ll point out that this Kicking Tires chart only takes into account 2011 to 2013 Model Year vehicles, or early LEAFs and Volts.  In particular, it’s well known that 2011 and 2012 LEAFs do not hold value well (incremental improvements from 2013 on make newer LEAFs, and even Volts, much more desirable).

It will be interesting to see how Nissan’s newly introduced full battery replacement program for the LEAF, priced at $5,499 + install will effect residuals on the car.

We assume that the majority of the used vehicles assessed in making this “Top 10 Biggest Price Drops” list were from 2011 and 2012, as most 2013 are still under lease contracts.

Source: Kicking Tires

Categories: Chevrolet, Nissan

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39 Comments on "Used Nissan LEAF, Chevy Volt On Top 10 Biggest Depreciation List"

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I don’t think we can assume that newer Leafs will depreciate less. Again, the majority of Leafs appear leased. Coupled with the perception of battery capacity loss, large depreciation will be a fact for 2013’s too. The recently announced, and probably subsidized, battery pack replacement cost is an attempt to prop up the price for used Leafs, but how successful it will be is anyone’s guess.

Should be quite successful. The general perception was that a new pack would go for around $10K or more.

It should not take long to find out. Within a few months the figures should reflect the new policy.

BTW a rough calculation shows that while the nominal $6500 pack cost is subsidized, the upgrade price of $5500 really isn’t if you consider that the old pack is really worth quite a bit more than $1000.

Take the extreme case of a pack that lost 50% of its capacity. That’s still 12 kWh, a quantity high enough to support night time electricity use on a house with solar panels. We are talking about $80 per kWh of capacity.

Probably more realistic to think about the old pack as worth $3000, and the new one $8500. To car users only the net matters though.

I don’t know, because basically a Leaf that needs a $6k battery pack is similar to an ICE powered car with a a bad engine. Only a select few will purchase a used car that needs that much investment.

Especially, if the new battery pack lifespan is an unknown. Nissan’s public perception about their battery packs is not the best right now. They have to establish a track record that gives a purchaser confidence.

I think Mark H got a used 2011 Volt for 19000$ but it had 97000 mi on it.

Even at 97000 miles the Volt still had near new AER.

I would think a used Volt would be a good buy. I’ll have to see what my buy out is on my 2012 Volt lease but I think it is around 29000 so maybe I could pick up a used 2013 with hold mode for less than the buy out on mine.

Has anyone heard of the lease companies coming back with a better offer on the buy out as we get closer to the end of the lease??

The buyout on my Focus is 18,500 and the buyout on my dads 2013 leaf is 14K. I thiink that those are high considering you can you can buy a Leaf in CA for around 30K-10K sunsidies and a Nissan cash back in CA for around 3K. That is a total price of around $17000 for a new leaf.

These numbers are highly misleading because they are distorted by the federal and state incentives.

Used car depreciation is based on list price and resale price, so immediately about $10k, depending on the state, is “lost” since the incentives are only available once to the original buyers.

It’s a flaw in the calculation system that is making EVs look bad.


Also it should be recognized that when the tax credits go away, the used values of these cars will suddenly go up. In fact, if you are a car dealer, it may be a good time to gobble up a bunch of used Leafs and Volts right before the tax credits expire.

+2 yes, this is how subsidies distort the market. No subsidies to buy a used leaf = low resale values.

Agree, combine the fact there was a price reduction for MY 2013. Factoring dealer incentives, the $7500 + IL $3000, I can get a new Leaf S for around $14k. Why buy used?

It really is impossible to compare the Volt and the Leaf to any other car, because it isn’t like there are gas cars out there that have gone down $5-6,000 in base price.

There just aren’t any gas cars that see that same reduction in base price. If there were gas cars that had that large a percentage reduction in price, they would see that sort of depreciation too. Instead, prices on gas cars are going up, which helps push up used car resale values.

In effect, the gas cars the Volt and Leaf are being compared to are benefiting in resale price because the price of gas cars keeps going up. Is that really what gas car makers want to brag about?

“Hey, our resale value is better, because we keep raising our prices, while our competitors keep lowering theirs — So come buy one of our gas cars…”

Exactly. A new Volt is $27,500 after tax credit. So used model for $23,984 is only a small 13% drop. I’m personally looking at a used Volt (after my current Volt lease is up) and I thought prices would be much lower.

It’s even better than that. In Wisconsin I’ve confirmed a couple dealerships that offer base 2014 Volts for just under 30k, putting them at 22.5k after tax credit. The cheapest used 2013 Volt within 500 miles of me is 21.8k, meaning than a one year old Volt with 20k miles is only $700 less than new. That’s the lowest depreciation I’ve ever seen for a vehicle.

I was looking at used Volts here in colorado, where the rebates are 13,500$. I didn’t see a single used Volt listed at less than 23,000$, which is what a new base model Volt would cost. So,.. A Volt actually appreciates after you buy it. 🙂

Extremely misleading given the tax credits. They need to look at depreciation on the price AFTER tax credits. Anything else is FUD.

Hey, QCO, David M and Clarkson.

Your argument is just a rationalization. The fact remains, if you want, you can go buy one at that price.

The fact is that you can buy a brand new one for almost the same price as used when you factor in the tax credit. That means that there is very little actual depreciation.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

I wonder how much of the $7500 subsidy is factored into these depreciation rates.

Also, I wonder where Tesla is on these lists.

Tesla used prices are disappointingly high.
I know, I look at used Roadsters quite a lot and they are still on the high side of 68,000$.

Nothing like scarcity. The Roadster will quickly become a collector’s item. The more successful Tesla is, the more so.

I would expect Tesla to be near the bottom of the list. There still a 2 to 3 month wait to get one so the used car price should be close to the new car price. Last I saw on eBay used low mileage Tesla S were selling for almost the new car price. I would think this trend would continue until supply catches up with demand.

Monthly depreciation? So, at 2.9%, someone buying a 2012 Volt after the tax-credit, on 1/1/12 or before, would be looking at ((1.00-.029)^29), or just 42.6% of the starting value?

Hurts, but ’12s can be had for below 20k w/o much hunting. As much as the 5k+ price drops were an expected, and real, gut punch, taking the MSRP and not MSRP minus tax-credit is unrealistic if we’re getting at an economic cost.

To go apples to apples with gas cars, perhaps they should make each one of them eat more of the ~60 billion a year the Rand study claimed was the defense charge for keeping Hormuz clear. The tax-credits haven’t even cost tax-payers 4 billion in total (pick your sales number, and go ahead and assume everyone gets $7,500).

Subsidies have nothing to do with this depreciation. This is the change in price for used cars from one month to the next. Only changes in subsidies would be relevant.

On the other hand, monthly changes in used price listings are mostly noise. It will vary depending on the mileage, location, and condition of the cars listed each month.

Oh, yes they do. Electric cars get an easy to spot tax credit, while gas cars get oil subsidy, blood/treasure and all that stuff, and free pollution.

You either back out the tax-credits first, or add an estimate of these other costs to gas cars, as their depreciation. You seem to think is correct, to equate the tax-credit with “depreciation”.

What do you think is equitable? Including the tax costs of one, but not the other? Defense costs are north of a half-trillion/yr. I, personally, have no trouble attributing 10-20% of them to the preservation of oil’s flow, as a national security risk. wants to keep it simple. Around these parts, that takes the scab off.

Perhaps you should look at what data is being presented. They are looking at the change in average listing price for used cars from May 1, 2014 to June 1, 2014. You do not have to make any adjustments for tax credits because no tax credits changed during that time (as far as I know). So the two prices being compared should be equally affected by tax credits.

Did anyone read the article, or is everyone just looking at the headline and then claiming it is inaccurate because they are just guessing at what it means? This article has nothing to do with the relative price of new and used cars. Nothing in the article suggests that these are long-term trends. It is entirely possible that this is all noise, and these vehicles will have the largest price increases next month.

And any federal subsidies on new cars are totally irrelevant to this discussion.

Thanks, jkw. I too suspected that this was another case of distorted depreciation data using MSRPs as the base value. But as you point, out, it’s a view of changes in used car prices over a single month span.

By itself a one month drop can be attributed to almost anything – impossible to show cause-and-effect. Could it be the $3500 incentives on new LEAFs? Maybe, but maybe something else. You’d have to look at the same monthly data over a long term. Perhaps there is an annual drop in May, or in spring months, etc.

If you look at the data for a whole year I think you will find the EVs are on a much steeper curve than other vehicles, which means every month has consistently higher depreciation.

And it’s because of of the subsidies….

Why don’t we just randomly blow up gas cars. Fear is a pretty cost effective deterrent.

They do this to themselves, already, Scott Blanko, sadly, to the tune of 14 cars a day, 12,600 a month and 152,300 a year, average gas car fires in the USA!

Link Goes To National Fire Protection Association-


Thomas J. Thias


Ford Fusion Hybrid should not be on this list, since the owners just got a check for $775, so for June it just appreciated $118 above May.

I would like to see the cost of a certified used Leaf with a new battery, like Apple refurbished laptops and ipads that include new batteries.

Even tho $5500 for the new LEAF battery seems like a good price for those doing the math, I am not sure a used car buyer will want to buy one, realize the battery capacity/travel_distance limits, and then add in $5500. Then again you will have two groups of buyers. 1) only travel short distances to used leaf would work, 2) those that would want a use LEAF with a battery already installed.

I’m looking at buying a used leaf or a Mitsubishi i-miev in the next few months.

In terms of the Nissan Battery replacement as of now I’m not worried about it. I will worry about it in a few years when the range starts quickly dropping.

The thing though that would make me want to buy the new battery is if in a few years they came out with a version with double the energy density compared to the old one such as a 150 mile leaf battery.

If the leaf depreciates, then that becomes a good buy. The only cost would be an increase in lease prices.

However, none of that is happening. As another pointed out, used leaves are about $14k, which is too close to the net cost of a new one – subsidies. Similarly, lease prices are going down, not up.

I might buy out my lease at the end, 2 years is a long time, and make our family a 2 leaf one. I gave my wife the gas car because she dosen’t work, but now she is insisting on using the damm thing.

At $5000 a year savings in gas, these cars are looking pretty reasonable to me.

The Car Guy Weighs in- Today, Mike Hanley of Cars dot com has run a story stating that the Nissan Leaf EV and Chevy Volt Extended Range Electric vehicle are and I quote, “On Top 10 Biggest Depreciation List” This is the information that will e-mail out, tweet out, facebook out and circulate. Headline only readers will get a very wrong conclusion. The Press, of course will have a field day with this! This article, appearing on Cars dot coms’ “Kicking Tires Blog”, screams with this headline, “Nissan Leaf Used Prices Drop Most in June. The author then go on to state that in May, 2014, the Nissan Leaf lost $819.00 and the Chevy Volt EREV lost $710.00 in resale value. No mention is made of Mercedes Benz S-Class loss of $1,297.00 in value, Land Rover, Range Rover’s loss of $2,458.00 in value or Jaguar XJ’s loss in value of $1,779.00. These are much greater losses in reasale value for the month of May, 2014 as Cars dot com claims, percentage drops aside. See information on posted chart, above. The author at InsideEVs dot com, Eric Loveday adds the Chevy Volt Extended Range Electric Vehicle to his headline this way:… Read more »
Electric Car Guest Drive

Excellent post, thanks Thomas.

Smartphones also depreciate like rocks, BECAUSE THEY GET MORE AWESOME EVERY QUARTER.

Supply & demand. A bunch of the original Leafs & Volts are now coming off their 3 year leases and hitting the market. Increased supply reduces the price.

Economics 101. It is good news for people looking for a used Leaf or Volt.

There are several used car websites that I keep track of where it’s not uncommon to watch the used EV’s get anywhere from $500 dollars to $2000 knocked off of the used car prices in a week.

There is however a flip side to this a lot of the used car prices are up to only a few thousand dollars below new.

I’ve got a 2011 coming off lease in September. We’ll see what Nissan offers if I ask to keep it. LiON batteries are a huge problem for these cars. Mine has 30k miles, 12 bars but is down 15-20% range. I can’t imagine that anyone is going to be enthusiastic about continuing EV programs unless there is some real progress in batteries for the next gen vehicles.