NerdWallet: When buying a used EV is a smart move—and when it’s not

by | Oct 7, 2022 | Stock Market

This article is reprinted by permission from NerdWallet.  You’ve probably heard the horror stories of crazy-high battery replacement costs for electric cars. Fears of battery failure, limited range and high purchase prices might make you wonder if buying a used EV is a smart decision. This answer is, it depends — it depends on the condition of the EV you choose and how much you pay for it.

If you can find an older EV with a battery in good shape, it could be a bargain, says Ivan Drury, senior manager of insights for auto site Edmunds.com. But if you buy an EV that is being flipped at a premium that doesn’t qualify for a tax credit, it could be a trap. While used EVs cost more than gas-powered internal combustion engine, or ICE, cars — with the average transaction price at about $41,000 — you have to look at the total cost of ownership, says Jesse Toprak, chief analyst for Autonomy, an EV subscription service. For example, he says driving an EV could save as much as $5,000 in gas costs in one year. Buying an EV is different in many ways from purchasing an ICE vehicle. Here’s a look at the key differences and how they change the buying equation.It’s all about the battery The lithium ion battery in an EV is comparable to the motor in an ICE car. But with a battery, after a number of recharging cycles, it begins to lose the ability to fully charge. This means that the range will gradually begin to decrease. Battery degradation doesn’t happen overnight, and it won’t leave you stranded by the side of the road. But as the range decreases, the car is, in a sense, less valuable. Also read: Thinking of an EV? Here’s your guide to shopping for an electric car.How quickly, how much? Consumers should expect EV batte …

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