Four Tips to Know Before Buying a Used EV
Electric vehicles (EVs) have been gaining substantial popularity with buyers in search of an alternative to a gas-powered vehicle due to concerns over fuel prices and greenhouse gas emissions. As with any type of used vehicle, there are several factors you’ll want to consider before making a purchase.
Check the battery
When it comes to EVs, the battery is the most important component of the car. The performance of an EV battery will gradually deteriorate over time, even if the vehicle was not in use. Temperature swings, repeated charging, and extra milage can accelerate the breakdown of an EVs battery’s ability to hold its maximum charging capacity.
“Make sure to also ask about maintenance history and if the owner has any service records they can provide.” - Kevin Quinn, VP, Claims
“Always try to obtain a detailed report on the battery health when purchasing a used EV,” said Kevin Quinn, Vice President of Auto Claims at Mercury Insurance. “The batteries of higher-mileage electric cars are more likely than those of lower-mileage cars to have been replaced. Make sure to also ask about maintenance history and if the owner has any service records they can provide. Where the vehicle has been driven is also important to know as colder climates like those in Michigan may reduce the life expectancy of the battery.”
A vehicle history report should reflect any battery service. Pro tip: Check the estimated range on a full battery and battery health reports from the car's computer when test driving and compare it to the manufacturers’ website.
Range also plays a major role in an EV battery’s life and it is something you should consider. Unlike the unlimited range of internal combustion engine cars, electric cars make the most sense when they have enough range to meet your needs. Before purchasing a used EV, determine how much and how far you’ll be driving to make sure you purchase the vehicle that fits best.
Most automakers include a warranty coverage for battery packs and many used EVs may have batteries still under warranty. The warranty on most batteries average eight years or 100,000 miles after the initial purchase, whichever comes first. However, not all warranties are transferable to the next owner. You may have to contact an automaker’s customer service department with the EVs vehicle identification number (VIN) to find out when they warranty expires and whether it can be transferred from one owner to another.
Verify how the EV charges
The rate at which an electric car charges varies depending on the model. A Tesla has a different charging rate than a Nissan Leaf, even though they are both electric cars.
There are several factors that affect a used EVs charging time including battery pack size. Verify if the EV you are interested in can take the charge from your outlet source and how fast it will be able to charge.
Access to a charger is another thing to consider. Do you live in an area that has charging stations readily available and at the level you would need if you are unable to charge at home? Are there any along your normal driving routes? The quality and accessibility to the charger your vehicle needs when you are traveling may be something to think about when deciding to purchase a used EV.
Used EVs may qualify for rebates and discounts
While most electric car tax rebates apply to new vehicles, some apply to used electric cars. Starting in 2023, the federal tax credit for purchasing an electric vehicle has been extended and includes a benefit for used EV purchases.
Many EVs also qualify for insurance discounts too. Mercury offers a discount on EVs in 10 of the 11 states it operates in with personal auto insurance.
The most affordable used EVs to insure
Mercury has developed a list of the most affordable recent and late model EVs to insure to help consumers save money on car insurance.
The most affordable late model EVs include:
- 2016-17 Chevrolet Spark EV
- 2016-19 Fiat 500 Electric
- 2016-19 Kia Soul EV
- 2016-19 Nissan Leaf
- 2016-19 VW E-Golf
The most affordable recent model EVs from 2021 include:
- Hyundai Santa Fe
- Kia Soul EV
- Nissan Leaf
- Hyundai Ioniq
- BMW i3
Visit Mercury’s most affordable vehicle lists to learn more about the most affordable EVs to insure.