Driving assessment

Thinking of buying a used electric car? Here’s what to look for

Whether it’s the ever-increasing price of fuel or the urgency of the climate crisis, many people are now considering switching to an electric car. While walking, cycling and public transport are the most sustainable options, it’s clear that car ownership isn’t going away anytime soon.

In the meantime, local governments around the world are introducing low emission zones and planning to ban new gasoline and diesel vehicles. This has made switching to cleaner and greener modes of transport, like pure electric vehicles (EVs), much more attractive.

Unfortunately, electric vehicles are considerably more expensive to purchase than your conventional gasoline or diesel vehicles at the moment. While we imagine this price gap will narrow as more EVs are produced, that doesn’t seem likely for the foreseeable future.

Since electric vehicles are expensive to buy, you might be wondering if you should look a used electric car instead. Fortunately, there are now many different all-electric models available to buy new or used. But, there are some things you should pay attention to first.

Find the electric car that’s right for you

Although it may seem obvious, researching the type of electric car you want and need for your lifestyle is very important. One of the biggest changes in driving an electric car, compared to a conventional petrol or diesel car, is that electric vehicles have a limited range.

The distance an electric car can travel before it needs to be recharged depends on the model you buy. Some electric cars have a range of well over 482 kilometers, while others can only travel 193 kilometers before needing to be recharged.

Remember that an electric vehicle’s battery efficiency decreases over time, so a three-year-old electric vehicle might be about five percent less efficient.

You need to consider how much you will be using this car for and how many miles you will be driving daily and weekly. When you think about these factors, it will be easier for you to find an electric car that will actually work for you.

If you only cover less than 100 miles a day, you might be happy with something smaller like the Renault Zoe. While those traveling further afield or with families may want a larger vehicle, in which case the Kia e-Niro may be more suitable.

Check vehicle maintenance history

Just like you would before buying a car, it’s important to check its maintenance history. You may know that electric vehicles don’t require as much maintenance as gasoline or diesel vehicles, but they can still wear out.

While it’s true that vehicles with internal combustion engines have a lot more moving parts, electric cars still need to be kept to a good standard. Any car is only as good as its previous owners.

Request a car battery report

A electric car battery is arguably the most important part of the whole vehicle. Much like the battery life of your phone, laptop or computer, the health of an electric vehicle’s battery can depend on a number of factors, including how it has been driven and how often. .

It is currently expected that the battery in an electric car will last between 10 and 20 years before needing to be replaced. That’s pretty good because it means that even in used electric cars, the battery should still have a healthy lifespan. Even some of the oldest electric cars on the market, like the BMW i3, are not yet 10 years old.

Before buying a used electric car, you can ask any electric car dealer for a report on the condition of the vehicle’s battery. This way you are aware of the whole picture and can make an informed decision on whether to go ahead with this electric vehicle or not.

See if the vehicle has had its battery replaced

While we’re talking about batteries, you should ask if the EV you’re interested in has ever been replaced. If so, the seller should be able to provide you with the relevant documentation for this.

As we said, an electric car’s battery can last between 10 and 20 years, so it could be great news if the car has been replaced. The more recently the battery has been replaced, the less likely it is that it will need to be replaced soon.

Check vehicle safety rating

Besides the battery, another important thing to check before buying a used electric vehicle is the safety rating of a car. The easiest way to check a vehicle’s safety rating is to use the European New Car Assessment Program (Euro NCAP). Euro NCAP is a non-profit organization that provides annual safety assessments on all vehicles.

Cars are rated using a star system that rates the overall safety of the vehicle. In addition to this, vehicles are rated on their modern safety technology – including how well they protect adults, child passengers and vulnerable road users.

In 2021, the Polestar 2, Mercedes EQS and Volkswagen ID.3 all came out on top. All three vehicles get five stars for overall safety, meaning they offer “excellent crash protection performance”.

When looking to buy a used electric vehicle, it may be worth looking at Euro NCAP’s previous valuation. While owning an electric car is fun and good for the environment, it also needs to be safe, stable and reliable.

The safety of any vehicle is something that we must never compromise because the risk of an accident is always there. Electric vehicles should give you the same sense of security as a conventional car.