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. Look, 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, right? Being a used car purchaser in 1923 was not much different than in 2023. You have to check out the vehicle, make sure it is in good shape, negotiate a price, haggle, and buy the car. You’re done. However, electric vehicles are a little different. 

Here’s a really good article from CNBC about buying a used electric vehicle and what it entails. And let’s look at one important part of it. First, the EV range will decline when you buy a gasoline vehicle combustion vehicle. Sure, there may be repairs needed over time, but how far the car is going to go doesn’t change, right? If the car deteriorates, either it runs or doesn’t, right? It’s not that you can go as far.

One of the other things is that batteries are the most expensive part of an EV and cost over $10,000 to replace. It’s not like a gasoline engine on a vehicle where if it needs a new spark plug, you spend a couple of hundred bucks. Maybe if it needs new brakes, you spend a couple of hundred bucks. The battery is either all or nothing. You either buy a new one, or it doesn’t work, right? There’s no in-between. And it degrades. It could be excessive. It can lose five or 10% of its power in the first five years. So if you have a vehicle that has, let’s say, a 200-mile range, well, after a few years, it might be down to 180, 190.

Here’s the worst part: battery life is hard to measure. Determining the exact condition of a battery’s life can be tricky. It’s not just as simple as looking at the mileage. Battery life is notoriously more complex to determine, but there are some things you can do that are a prediction based on mileage, age, climate, and other factors. But that’s not going to tell you how many times it had a fast charge or how many times it was charged up when it’s cold or run down when it’s hot. Also, the mileage of EVs is different than the mileage of gas cars.

Sustained cruising at highway speeds tends to drain batteries faster than stop-and-go driving. That’s the opposite of gasoline cars, the ones you’ve always heard about having high miles, but they were highway miles, not stop-and-go. It’s the opposite of electric vehicles. Also, finding deals on electric vehicles differs from finding deals on gasoline vehicles. What you’re going to find is that luxury EVs are the best deals, and you can check out the website You’ll find a lot more deals on luxury EVs than on lower-line EVs. Also, you may find that there may be some tax credits even on used electric vehicles, not just on new ones.

Either way, you want to make sure you check out that battery because, really, you’re not buying a vehicle. You’re buying a battery with four wheels. And unless you check out the battery, the condition of the tires, the dents, and the doors, warm seats aren’t going to mean anything. If the battery doesn’t work, you now have a lawn ornament that doesn’t go anywhere until you replace a $10,000 or $15,000, or even $20,000 battery.