You might think that buying a used electric vehicle is the same as buying any other used car, but there are a few important differences. Buying a gasoline vehicle with a combustion engine has been the same for a hundred years, right from the early 1900s to the early 2000s. Being a used car purchaser in 1923 was not much different than in 2023. You had to check out the vehicle, make sure it was in good shape, negotiate a price, haggle, buy the car, and you’re done.

The Challenge with EVs:
Electric vehicles are a little different. Batteries are the most expensive part of an EV and cost over $10,000 to replace. It’s not like a gasoline engine, where you might spend a couple of hundred bucks on repairs. The battery is either all or nothing; you either buy a new one or it doesn’t work. Furthermore, battery degradation can be significant; it can lose five or ten percent of its power in the first five years. So, if you have a vehicle with a 200-mile range, after a few years, it might be down to 180 or 190 miles.

Understanding Battery Life:
Battery life is hard to measure. Determining the exact condition of a battery’s life can be tricky. Predictions are based on mileage, age, climate, and other factors, but they won’t tell you how many times it had a fast charge or was charged up when it’s cold. Additionally, mileage on EVs is different from mileage on gas cars. Sustained cruising at highway speeds tends to drain batteries faster than stop-and-go driving.

Finding deals on EVs:
Finding deals on electric vehicles is different from finding deals on gasoline vehicles. Luxury EVs are often the best deals. You can check out websites like to find a lot more deals on luxury EVs than on lower-end models. Additionally, there may be tax credits available, even on used electric vehicles.

The Importance of Battery Inspection:
Regardless of the deal you find, it’s crucial to check out the battery. When buying a used electric vehicle, you’re essentially buying a battery with four wheels. Without a properly functioning battery, other aspects like the condition of tires, dents, or worn seats become irrelevant. A faulty battery could turn your purchase into a costly lawn ornament until you replace it with a $10,000 to $20,000 battery.