Most of the news coverage in the electric vehicle industry has focused on new models, particularly those produced by Tesla. This includes information on new Tesla models, recent developments in subsidies and rebates, and other related topics. However, very little attention has been paid to the used electric vehicle market, including how many people are buying used electric vehicles. 

One article from Auto Remarketing, an excellent industry trade publication, provides some insight into this market. Buried in the data of this article is a survey conducted by Experian, one of the major credit bureaus. Experian’s survey focused on used electric vehicle financing, which is an important consideration since many EVs are financed due to their relatively higher prices. While the survey only covers financed used EV purchases, it can still provide some useful trend data.

According to a recent study, only 60,000 pre-owned electric vehicles were financed in 2021. That’s roughly 1,000 vehicles per state, which is not a lot. The study also tracked data for 2022, and as of early summer, they were tracking 42,000 financed pre-owned electric vehicles, which may reach 70,000 or 80,000 by the end of the year. While this is an increase from 2021, it still doesn’t amount to hundreds of thousands or millions of vehicles purchased. This suggests that there isn’t much activity in the used electric vehicle market at present.

There could be several reasons for this. For one, electric vehicles have only been produced in large volumes since around 2014-2016, which means there aren’t many used ones available yet. Additionally, many people who own electric vehicles tend to keep them for a long time, often as a secondary or tertiary vehicle. Unlike their primary vehicle, which people typically replace every three to four years, electric vehicles may not be swapped out for six or seven years. In summary, the relatively small number of used electric vehicles being purchased may be due to a combination of limited supply and longer ownership periods.

The low volume of electric vehicles in the used car market could be due to the limited supply of used EVs. However, this may change in the next few years as people decide whether to buy used EVs or trade in their current EV for a new one. Readers are invited to share their thoughts in the comments section, including whether they would consider purchasing a used EV to save money, or prefer a new model with a more current battery and features.

One advantage of electric vehicles is that mileage is not as important as it is for gasoline vehicles. A gasoline vehicle with 200,000 miles may have reached the end of its lifespan, but an electric vehicle with proper battery maintenance can last much longer. This is because electric motors, which power the vehicle, tend to last longer than internal combustion engines in gasoline vehicles, which wear out faster due to the explosions and burning inside the engine.

Used EVs are starting to enter the market, and it will be interesting to see how this affects the volume and sales rate in the next couple of years, particularly in 2024 and 2025.