The image features a young woman and a man standing next to a white electric car that is being charged. The woman, to the left, is leaning casually against the car, dressed in a relaxed yet stylish white shirt and blue jeans, smiling at the camera. The man, on the right, stands with hands in pockets, wearing a smart blue shirt and black trousers, and is laughing. They appear to be in good spirits.

Buying a used electric car

Knowing what to look for in a used electric car is crucial.
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  • When buying a used EV, inspect the car's batteries, as their health and lifespan are critical for the vehicle's range.
  • Check the EV's maintenance history to understand the care taken by the previous owner.
  • Evaluate the vehicle's condition and mileage, matching the mileage with the vehicle's age.
  • While purchasing a used EV, ensure the cost aligns with the car's condition.
  • Consider popular models known for reliability and research online opinions and common misconceptions.

Ready to switch lanes from gas guzzlers to electric vehicles? It's a thrilling ride, but knowing what to look for when buying a used electric car can be, well, a jolt. We've got you covered, from inspecting batteries to scrolling through vehicle history. 

Read on and learn how to steer your decision towards the best-used EV for you. 

The basics of buying a used EV

When buying a used electric car, some key points are worth checking. I will guide you on the most crucial things to consider.

Firstly, your focus should be on inspecting used electric car batteries. Why is this important? The battery is the heart of an electric car. It's crucial to check its health and lifespan. An unhealthy battery can drastically limit the range of the vehicle and can be quite costly to replace.

Now, how do you inspect a used EV? You can do this by checking the vehicle's battery information on the dashboard. Some cars have advanced battery diagnostics that can provide detailed information about the battery's health.

The image is taken inside a bright and spacious car dealership, with large windows allowing natural light to flood the showroom. A man is standing to the left of the frame, dressed smartly in a blue shirt and dark pants, looking attentively at a white electric car, which is the closest vehicle to the camera. The car's sleek design and modern headlights are visible, and its side mirrors reflect the showroom's interior. Behind the white car, we can see the front end of another dark-coloured vehicle. The environment suggests a professional setting specialising in electric vehicles, emphasizing a clean and modern aesthetic.

Next, have a glance at the vehicle's maintenance records. You get insights into the vehicle's history by checking used electric car maintenance records. These records can show if the car has been involved in accidents, if any significant parts have been replaced, and the overall care taken by the previous owner.

Lastly, assess the vehicle's condition and mileage. The exterior and interior condition of the car can shed light on the overall care taken by the previous owner. High mileage on an electric vehicle is not necessarily a red flag, as EVs have far fewer moving parts than petrol or diesel vehicles. Nevertheless, be sure to match the car's mileage with its age and use this as a point of negotiation, similarly to how you'd assess the condition of a non-electric car.

Our top 12 tips for buying a used EV

To help you along your journey, we've assembled a set of handy tips. Not only will they guide your decision-making, but also ensure you get the most bang for your buck!

  1. Electric vehicle inspections: Like any car, an EV should be inspected before purchase. Check for any signs of wear and tear.
  2. Battery health: The battery is the heart of an EV. Make sure to assess its health. Battery degradation is normal, but if the car has lost more than 2% of its capacity per year, turn back. A weak battery can lead to reduced range and costly replacement.
  3. Maintenance and repair history: It's vital to look at the car's maintenance history. A well-maintained EV might give you less trouble in the future.
  4. Vehicle condition and mileage: Check the car's current condition. Also, rendering to the adage, 'age is just a number,' for an EV, mileage matters more than age!
  5. Cost-effectiveness: Used cars could be pretty pocket-friendly compared to their brand-new counterparts. Yet, you should assess whether the price aligns with the car's condition.
  6. Popular models: To go with crowd favourites like the Tesla Model 3 can be a safe bet. These models are popular for a reason!
  7. Online opinions: Platforms like Reddit can offer valuable insight into user experiences. Knowing common issues and standout features from real owners could be useful.
  8. Mileage and lifespan expectations: EVs tend to have longer lifespans than typical cars, given they have fewer moving parts. Yet, it's wise to check how many miles you can expect out of it.
  9. Common misconceptions: There might be a few myths about second-hand EVs. Don't let them mislead you!
  10. Best-value used electric cars: With the recent price drop, you may be in for many cheap EVs. Assess the market to find an EV that offers the best value suited for your budget and lifestyle.
  11. Take it for a test drive: What better way to get a feel for a car if not actually driving it!
  12. Chat to the EV community: The EV fanbase is massive, and there are a ton of online communities (Facebook Groups, Reddit, Tesla Motors Forum), where you can find people's actual experiences with their cars.

As you can see, buying a used EV is no simple task. But with these tips, you’ll be well on your way to making an informed decision. The key is to account for all the factors that affect an EV's value and performance. 

If you're not ready to commit and buy an EV, perhaps getting on a subscription may be a good idea! Learn more about monthly EV subscriptions.

Browse all cars available on subscription

There are hundreds of cars available via UK subscription companies.

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