With so many exciting new electric vehicles (EVs) now available in B.C., along with government incentives, many early EV adopters are trading up. This means there are plenty of good used EVs becoming available. So if you can't stretch to the upfront cost of a new EV, fear not. There are some great battery-powered bargains around if you shop carefully.
Why a used EV can be a smart choice
Used EVs are cheaper for two reasons: EV technology is continually advancing and people are uncertain about what to do if they go wrong. But with far fewer moving parts than a gas-powered vehicle, a well-cared for EV should theoretically last a lot longer. Tesla, for instance, claims their Model 3 is good for over a million miles. Here are the pros and cons of buying a used EV, along with some key considerations when you find one you like.
The pros and cons of buying a used EV
Used EV pros:
Great value: Used EVs are a bargain right now thanks to heavy initial depreciation and continually advancing technology.
No more gas: Drive a battery-powered EV and you won't need to buy gas again.
Lower maintenance bills: With no complex engine or transmission, EVs need a lot less maintenance.
Smooth and silent: EVs deliver a luxurious driving experience and speedy acceleration that even very expensive gas-powered vehicles struggle to match.
Cleaner and greener: Running an EV on BC Hydro's 98% clean electricity means you’re contributing to a greener environment.
More sustainable: Buying used EV is even more sustainable than buying a new one – you're recycling!
Runs like new: With far fewer moving parts than a gas-powered vehicle, EVs are generally in better condition and have often done fewer kilometres than equivalent gas-powered vehicles.
Longer lasting: As mentioned at the top of this page, your EV should theoretically last much longer than a gas-powered vehicle.
Used EV cons:
The cost of a new battery: If you keep your used EV long term, it will eventually need a replacement battery. However, many batteries and electric motors come with an 8 year/160,000 km warranty which is a lot longer than most internal combustion engines and transmissions.
You'll need a charger: Older EVs have less range than newer ones, so ideally you'll need a charger at home (or daily access to a public charging station) for regular top-ups.
Old technology: Older EVs run on older technology. That's not a bad thing, but they just don't have the longer ranges of newer EVs. That said, almost all will comfortably go over 100 km on one charge – which is perfect for most daily commutes.
Where can you buy a used EV in B.C.?
Used EVs are available from the same 3 main channels as any other car – private sellers, used car dealers and certified used – but with some noteworthy differences.
Private sellers: This is always the cheapest route and gives you direct access to current owner to ask any questions. However, while the manufacturer warranty might transfer to you, there won't be any other warranties or money back guarantees. Consider contacting enthusiast groups for the model(s) you're interested in via Facebook or their website. You never know, there might be a member with a well-cared-for example for sale.
Used car dealers: Used dealers, will always be more expensive than going private and will likely have no knowledge of vehicle you're interested in – although there are specialist used EV dealers popping up. They may have more choice available and might be able to offer a limited warranty.
Certified used: Certified used EVs from a manufacturer dealership are the most expensive, but carefree way to go. These EVs will have low mileages, clean titles and have undergone a proper inspection. They'll also come with a money back guarantee and the rest of the original warranty.