The price of new vehicles, electric vehicles, and even gas vehicles has skyrocketed. The average price for really any kind of significant vehicle is $40K-$50K, that’s going to put you at a car payment of about a thousand dollars a month. It’s pretty significant. That’s more than some people pay in rent or at least they used to before rents went up. As electric vehicles become more popular, a lot of people are going to think well should I buy a used electric vehicle to maybe save some money? Well, there’s more to it than just buying a used vehicle when it comes to electric vehicles or EVs. Used EVs have one particular risk associated with them that you really have to check into and that’s the battery.  

There’s an excellent article from MarketWatch about when buying a used EV is smart and when it’s not. The main factor is the battery’s health, according to the article. Here’s how to weigh the risks. Electric vehicles are the future. As we know they’re banning gas vehicles and in many states, they’re really pushing hard to get electric vehicles to become more of a new vehicle option. And as these used vehicles percolate through the system, there will be opportunities to save money and buy used vehicles, but it’s imperative to evaluate the battery. Here’s why. Even this article says it’s all about the battery. The lithium-ion battery is comparable to the motor in an internal combustion car. So your engine is the heart of the vehicle. That’s the core driving component of the vehicle. In a vehicle that’s run by electricity, it’s the battery. And after a number of cycles, it begins to lose its ability to charge just like your cell phone or your computer fully. And the range will gradually decrease, and battery degradation doesn’t happen overnight. But as it decreases, the car is less valuable. If you purchase an electric vehicle with a 250-mile range and it drops, you know 15-30%, you’re going to be down to a 160-170 mile range pretty quickly. And you might think well, can it really drop 30%? Well if you look at the warranties on most EVs, the new car warranties, the warranty for the battery last eight years or a hundred thousand miles. Usually in that range, however, the warranty doesn’t kick in until the battery is less than 70%. Most EV manufacturers consider a battery with a 70% or more charging capacity range to be fully functional. So you can have a vehicle that is 29% reduced battery capacity and still not be able to put in a warranty claim for a new battery. So what does that mean? 

That means you’ll be on the hook for the battery if it does need to be replaced. The cost of new batteries could be up to $20,000, and we’ve actually seen more than that. On our YouTube channel, we’ve had examples of repair orders of batteries that have been $30,000 or more for a battery, and for some electric vehicles, there aren’t even any batteries manufactured for that car anymore. So even if you wanted to pay $50,000, you couldn’t get another replacement battery. 

So here’s the takeaway. They tell you when you’re shopping for a used EV, check the range. Get a used car inspection or local EV mechanic to calculate if the range is what it’s supposed to be because if you have a vehicle that you need to count on to get you to a certain destination every day and your range isn’t going to get you there or you have to recharge it every other time that might defeat the purpose of buying a used EV in the first place.