Pictured: A BMW i3 is seen at a charging station in Munich, 20 April 2018. Photo credit: Jakob Härter via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Here are a few things to consider when buying a used electric or hybrid vehicle.
Electric cars are sexy. Their operating costs are low, they’re kind to the environment and they require less maintenance.
But buying one isn’t all that easy: prospective buyers often encounter long waiting lists, delays in production and high prices. One way to circumvent these obstacles is to look at the secondhand EV/hybrid market.
Here are a few things to consider:
Bargains are bountiful
The amount you’ll save going used varies depending on year and model, but a saturated market means there are plenty of deals. www.autoscout24.com lists a number of 2015 Nissan Leafs with a variety of mileage scenarios, including new battery, at under €12,000. New, the Leaf costs €25,000-€38,000. 2015 BMW i3s go for around €30,000, while the 2018s are listed in the neighbourhood of €45,000.
Fewer parts to fuss with
EVs have fewer moving parts than traditional cars so they tend to hold up longer and require less maintenance, e.g., the Nissan Leaf needs only tire rotation, brake fluid and cabin filter replacement at its third-year checkup. Because their batteries have limited range, owners tend to put fewer kilometers on the odometer, which means less wear all the way around.
Luxembourg is EV/hybrid friendly
One of the biggest factors people consider when going electric is how and where they will be able to find “fuel”. Thankfully, Luxembourg is embracing clean energy. Chargy, the country’s network of public charging stations for EVs and hybrids, will install 800 stations by 2020. Chargy’s infrastructure will offer a total of 1,600 charging points with 100% green electricity. Stations will be available in every municipality of Luxembourg to guarantee national network coverage. To find one near you, visit www.openchargemap.org.
Rapidly advancing technology means your used car may seem older than it really is next to newer performance enhanced EVs and hybrids on the road. For example, the 2015 Nissan Leaf has an estimated range of 140 kilometers on a battery charge, while the 2018 Leaf gets 243 kilometers. The 2018 Chevrolet Bolt’s range is 383 kilometers. As the years pass, your EV will age more rapidly than its combustion cousins.
Battery performance fade
As EV batteries age, their range and performance become reduced, particularly the pre-2015 models. An unreliable battery can cause a lot of stress--there’s actually a term for this: “range anxiety”. The Financial Times reported last August that, residual valued on early Nissan Leafs--the first major electric car sold in Europe, launched in 2010--were at one point only 17% after three years.” While a traditional car is valued based on its mileage and age, electric cars are more difficult to assess. A good rule of thumb is the cheapest used EVs are also the ones with the shortest range. But if you’re buying a newer used EV, it’s possible that the battery is still under warranty.
Many EV owners also need to invest in some home charging infrastructure. This cost should be factored into your expenses. Additionally, Luxembourg offers a tax deduction of up to €5,000 for new EVs and hybrids, which could change your negotiations.
There’s a lot to think about when considering going electric, but if buying a used car is anything like buying real estate--location, location, location--Luxembourg residents are in a great place to buy an emissions-free car for less.