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Buying a second hand EV

The second hand car market has boomed over the last few months. Sales of used cars have more than doubled and demand for electric cars is growing fast. With more examples to choose from than ever before now is a great time to look at a second hand EV and could even save a fortune over a new model. Once you’ve found the EV that suits your lifestyle carry on reading to find out what you should look for when buying a second hand EV.

What to look for

Buying any car is a big deal and in some cases is one of the most expensive possessions you’ll own. So, make sure it’s the right car for you. Some of the things to look out for are similar when buying an internal combustion engine (ICE), but there are a few EV specific things to look for when buying second hand.

Service History – A full-service history is vital. It not only ensures previous owners cared for the car, but it also means it will be updated to the latest software and any recall work should have been done.

Tyres and brakes –Many EV’s use the friction generated by braking to charge the battery. This is something to be mindful of when on a test drive, as it is unlikely you’ll have the chance to take the wheels off. The added weight of batteries can also mean EVs are heavy, so check the tyres have a good amount of tread.

Leased batteries – The first electric cars featured a leased battery to help make the cars cheaper to buy. The car was bought, but the battery was leased. Find out if the car is ‘battery owned’ otherwise you could be paying a monthly fee to lese the battery.

Warranty – An EV can come with 2 warranties. A vehicle warranty, and a battery warranty. These vary manufacturer so you’ll need to read the small print. But having a car with the original manufacturer’s warranty will give you added peace of mind.

Rattles, knocks and clunks – Like any car listen for any untoward noises. These should be more apparent in an EV due to the lack of engine noise, so keep your ears open on any test drives.

Charging leads – Things can go missing from cars, but charging leads are expensive to replace. Ensure the EV has a charging cable and all relevant accessories, it also says more about the owner if the cable is missing.

Battery power/health– Earlier electric cars had smaller battery cell sizes, resulting in smaller ranges. Generally, the higher the kWh, the longer the range of the car. Also, ask to view the car with a full charge, this allows you to see the batteries health and range from a full charge. Ensure the battery has more than 70% battery health, as most warranties should cover this.

Best second hand EV’s

To have the most choice when buying a second hand car, you’ll be choosing from the Nissan Leaf, BMW i3, Renault Zoe and Tesla Model S. Some of these models have been around for 10 years so are also some of the cheapest to buy. The best second hand EVs to choose from show the variety of EVs available on the market. Small city cars, SUV’s and luxury saloons, show how far EV’s have come.

1. Volkswagen e-Golf 2. Nissan Leaf 3. Tesla Model S 4. Renault Zoe 5. Kia e-Niro 6. BMW i3 7. MG SZ EV 8. Volkswagen e-Up!

To find out more about why these are considered the best second hand EV’s, click here. Some of these cars are also the most popular ones to buy new.

Electric vehicle tariffs

To make charging your EV even cheaper many energy companies offer an EV tariff. These tariffs usually have a lower nightly electric rate and gives you peace of mind that your car will be fully charged in the morning for as little as £5*. When purchasing an EV you should contact your energy supplier and enquire about an EV tariff. Smart Home Charge has a useful calculator so you can see how little charging your EV could cost.

Is it worth it?

Growth in the used EV sales market suggests that many believe, yes. The cheapest new EV still costs around £15,000, but a reasonably spec’d, 5-year-old Nissan Leaf costs around £8,200. Like a new EV, used cars are cheap to run, qualify for low emission exemptions and grants and are void of expensive maintenance bills associated with ICE – such as a new clutch, exhaust, or timing belt change.

Home Charging

When charging at home there are several things to consider. You can find out more on this in our blog ‘Charging your EV at home – What to consider’.

If you have just bought an EV or are waiting to collect yours and need a home charge point installed, please get in touch.


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