Increasing Access to EVs: How to Buy a Pre-Owned EV and Save Big

June 17, 2022 | | Financing

Electric vehicles (EVs) offer a lot of great benefits like zero tailpipe emissions, less maintenance and service, lower lifetime cost, and fast acceleration. Yet many consumers are unable to adopt EVs because of their high initial cost. Fortunately, as the EV market matures, purchasing a new EV isn’t the only option available to consumers will increasingly have the option to purchase a used EV. This post will guide you through the decision-making process of purchasing a used EV.

Just like in the traditional gas vehicle market where both new and used vehicles are available, EV drivers eventually upgrade their EVs and either trade in or sell their previous EV into the market. Used EVs have a lower purchase price than new EVs, making them more accessible for consumers with smaller budgets.

Where to find a used EV in Minnesota

Wondering where to find a used EV? See the following reputable national and local resources:

Franchise dealerships also can sell used EVs, and vehicles may be certified pre-owned with an extended factory warranty. For example, Nissan Leaf’s warranty is eight years/100,000 miles and Tesla’s is eight years/unlimited miles.

Questions to ask when buying a used EV

Once you have chosen a prospective used EV, ask for proof of the battery’s state of health, which can be measured through an on-board diagnostics test administered by the dealer or mechanic. Although EV batteries typically last 12-15 years, some first-generation models may need a battery replacement. Determine if the vehicle’s battery health will meet your driving needs.

Some questions you may want to ask the seller include:

  1. What is the current range of the vehicle? (The vehicle range is the distance or miles that the battery could power the vehicle on one full charge.)
  2. What is the battery size?
  3. Is there a battery warranty?
  4. Has the battery ever been replaced?
  5. What is the battery’s charging capacity?
  6. Does the vehicle come with any charging cords or adapters?
  7. What is the maintenance history of the vehicle?

The size and age of the vehicle’s battery affects the vehicle range — like a phone battery — and can be used to evaluate accurate pricing of the vehicle. A lower quality battery should result in a lower price point. Knowing the full history of the vehicle will ensure that you are able to properly maintain and utilize the EV in the future.

While used EVs may have smaller battery capacity and may require battery replacement further down the line, they are a great cost saving option for those who consistently travel short distances. EVs eliminate over two-dozen mechanical components that need servicing, eliminating maintenance costs. EV owners avoid having to get tune-ups, oil changes, cooling system flushes, transmission servicing, and replacing the air filter, spark plugs, and drive belts.

A strong used EV market can increase access to EV benefits

The used EV market is only as good as the new EV market—drivers need to be able to upgrade their EV to trade in or sell their older model. Due to COVID-19 and global supply chain issues, new EVs are hard to come by on the lot and drivers join long reservation lists to get a new vehicle. High demand for EVs has caused prices to increase for both new and used vehicles. A flourishing used EV market would provide the opportunity for individuals who might not otherwise be able to afford a new EV to access all the benefits vehicle electrification provides.

If you are looking to purchase an EV or plug-in EV, including used EVs in your search might be a great fit for your lifestyle and save you money.

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