Although prices have dropped in recent years, even the more popular new Electric Vehicles (EVs) can seem a little costly, inspiring buyers to check the pre-owned market to save a few bucks on their “gas-free” cars. Since the residual values of EVs traditionally decrease faster than the average internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle, that amount can be significant – although used EVs typically have older technology and don’t benefit from federal subsidies offered to new buyers.

EVs like the Chevrolet Bolt, Nissan Leaf, Hyundai Ioniq, and Tesla Model 3 require less maintenance (like no oil changes) than ICEs and have fewer parts, so concerns over a lack of preventative care by prior owners can become less significant. The more important issue is battery longevity, which is known to degrade over time. The big question then becomes whether buyers can find a selection of used EVs.

Today’s EV buyers are still in the quasi-new adopter phase, said Ivan Drury, senior manager of insights for auto website, Inc. The limit for many shoppers remains whether a vehicle’s range on a full charge is sufficient. Some new EVs can now boast of 200-, 300- and even 400-mile ranges on a full charge, so used EV value retention is likely to improve in the coming years, according to Drury. Even so, a 2019 model year EV, on average, still loses 27% of its value, a 6% difference from the average ICE vehicle, according to Edmunds. An average 2017 model year loses 57% of its value, 23% worse than the average ICE vehicle.

Further complicating matters: Tesla and General Motors vehicles no longer qualify for a $7,500 federal tax credit available to new car buyers, and no rebate is currently available to used EV buyers. Like batteries in cellphones, EV batteries degrade. As a result, transferable warranties for EVs often last longer and allow for more miles than traditional cars – so there is much to consider.

One of the fastest ways to kill an EV battery is allowing it to charge fully or letting it drain to zero, according to experts. Most EVs, however, come with software that ensures they avoid either extreme, without sacrificing range. Sudden bursts of power to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph and heat also wear down lithium-ion batteries, according to Nick Di Camillo of JN Auto in Cleveland, Quebec.

“If a Chevrolet Bolt has 240 miles per charge, generally speaking, with the needs they have, it’s probably eight to 10 years minimum before you have to change the battery,” notes Di Camillo, whose dealership uses an on-board diagnostics adapter to evaluate the health of EV batteries. “The No. 1 message I try to get across is: Know what your needed range is. That will help to determine which model you need at the cheapest possible price… Evaluate your needs before going electric.”

Source: Gazette Xtra

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