Compare the best used electric cars
Best second-hand electric cars in the UK in 2023
The car world is turning electric. There are plenty of sound reasons to make the switch, whether you’re concerned about local pollution, the wider environmental impact of petrol and diesel cars, or simply find the idea of lower running costs appealing.
There’s no getting away from the fact that new electric cars are pricey, though. Fortunately, the electric revolution is now in full swing and there are plenty more affordable examples to be found on the used market. Here are 10 of the best.
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Advice about used electric cars
Used and second hand electric cars FAQ
Let’s start with all the usual used car stuff, such as going around the car’s exterior and interior looking for any damage and leaning towards examples with full service histories.
Electric vehicles tend to be comparatively heavy, and as a result can use tyres more quickly, so be sure to double check the rubber has a good amount of tread left. Also check with the owner what charging cables are supplied, as these can be expensive to replace. Research the battery warranty that comes with the vehicle, too. Some cover more than others, for example with the level of battery depletion that is deemed acceptable.
Speaking of which, battery degradation has long been a concern with EVs. All batteries, whether in a car or a smartphone, will lose capacity over time, and in the case of a car that means less range as they get older. Studies show that degradation shouldn’t impact range too much over the life of a vehicle, but when test driving older cars in particular, take a look at the battery’s state of charge and the predicted range on the display. If this is considerably lower than you’d expect when new it might be worth questioning the owner or simply walking away.
Generally electric vehicles are more reliable than a typical petrol or diesel car, so there shouldn’t be any concerns in that regard.
However, it’s important to consider how you plan to use the vehicle. If you drive quite a bit, it would be a good idea to avoid cars with low battery range, otherwise you’ll constantly be charging. This might be less of an issue if you can easily charge at home overnight, but will be more problematic if you rely on public chargers.
For pure low cost electric motoring, the Nissan Leaf and Renault Zoe are two of the cheapest electric cars you can buy. The former is arguably the more appealing of the two, being a bit more practical.
If your budget can stretch to it, the MG ZS EV is also great value. Being the lowest cost electric SUV when new means that used prices also represent great value for money.
A used electric vehicle can make for an excellent purchase for those looking to cut their emissions and lower their running costs. However, it’s important to note that your money will almost always go further in a petrol or diesel vehicle – whether that means you’ll get a newer, more spacious or better-equipped model.
Electric cars are in-demand so prices are strong, which is good for avoiding big depreciation but can make it trickier to justify making the switch. But bear in mind the savings on running costs, including fuel itself, plus servicing, congestion and low-emission zones and Vehicle Excise Duty.
A used electric car can be any age, but the modern electric car revolution started around 2010 with the introduction of the Nissan Leaf. Most cheap electric cars will be from this era, but will typically be very low on range. Batteries degrade over time, so higher mileage models in particular might have lost some of their capacity, which is worth bearing in mind. However, concerns over this being a big problem have not turned out to be true.
Used electric car prices are currently quite high because there is a lot of demand in the market. New EVs tend to be more expensive than an equivalent petrol or diesel car anyway, which also affects used values. Prices will come down eventually, as more new cars are sold and then enter the used market so supply matches demand. However, it’s not entirely clear when EVs will hit similar prices to petrol and diesel models.
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