A silver sports EV parked on the side of the road.

How to sell my electric car

Thinking of selling your old EV? Read this.
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Summary
  • Current market conditions are favourable for sellers due to long waiting times when buying brand-new cars.
  • Selling an EV is similar to selling a petrol or diesel car, but be prepared to be asked many questions by potential buyers when selling privately. 
  • There are trusted, established online car sales platforms which can help you avoid the hassle of selling privately. These include Motorway and WeBuyAnyCar. 
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As the UK government works to make the UK a carbon-neutral country by 2050, the electric car market is growing rapidly. In 2022, there were an estimated 663,700 battery electric vehicles on the road in the UK — an increase of 67% since 2021.

Number of alternative fuel cars. Source: SMMT, February 2023

As part of its plans to make the UK more environmentally friendly, the government is banning the sale of new fossil fuel-powered vehicles from 2030. This has dramatically driven consumer demand for EVs — which is why electric car subscriptions are becoming more popular. So if you’ve been considering selling your electric car, now is a good time to get it on the market.

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • Why you should sell your electric car
  • The difference between selling an electric car and a fossil fuel car
  • Where and how to sell your electric car.

Why should I sell my electric car?

The growing popularity of EVs means there are now more opportunities for owners to sell their electric cars. Some of the most common reasons for selling your electric car include:

  • Upgrading to a newer EV, or one with fewer miles on the clock
  • Battery degradation or end of battery warranty
  • Returning to a petrol/diesel car before the ban is introduced in 2030
  • Favourable market conditions for selling an electric car
  • Going car-free or reducing the number of cars used by your household
  • Choosing a more flexible way to drive, such as a car subscription.

According to the International Energy Agency, 2 million electric cars were sold in the first quarter of 2022 — a 75% increase on the same period in 2021. Greater demand can make it easier to sell your electric car (not to mention more profitable). So now’s a good time to consider it.

Is selling an electric car different to selling a petrol/diesel car?

The main difference between selling an electric car and selling a petrol or diesel car is that the car battery isn’t always included with an electric car. Whether this is the case with your car depends on whether you own or lease your electric car battery.

Original owners may choose to lease a battery instead of buying one to avoid costs and complications when it comes to replacing it. But when you’re selling your car on, this can be a sticking point. You can’t usually pass a lease on to someone else; the buyer will need to source their own car battery separately.

The cost of lithium ion car batteries has decreased in recent years, but rose for the first time in a decade in December 2022. So if you don’t own the battery in the car you’re planning to sell, now is a good time to get it on the market, in case battery prices increase again.

How easy is it to sell an electric vehicle?

Selling an electric car in today’s market can be easy. There are lots of channels for selling your electric car, such as:

  • Selling privately online
  • Part-exchanging for another vehicle
  • Selling to a dealer through a website like WeBuyAnyCar or Motorway.co.uk

But you must take all the same precautions and considerations as you would if you were selling a non-EV. To get the best price, your car must:

  • Be in good condition
  • Have had a recent service and MOT
  • Have a full service history
  • Include a high-performing battery (more on this in the next section)

If you sell privately, you may encounter some pushback from potential buyers, especially if they’re just starting their EV journey. Be prepared to answer a lot of questions.

If you sell to a dealership or part exchange your vehicle, you typically won’t get as much cash — but it’s a lot easier and quicker to sell your electric car this way.

Where's the best place to sell an electric car?

The easiest way to sell an EV for a good price is to sell it to a dealer online through Motorway.co.uk. Unlike other online car buying companies, you’re not selling directly to the site; individual car dealerships compete for your car, so you get the best possible price. 

Here’s how it works:

  1. Enter your electric car registration number on the website and get an instant valuation.
  2. Answer a few questions about your car and upload photos to complete your car profile.
  3. Motorway enters your car into an auction, displaying it to more than 5,000 dealerships around the UK.
  4. Receive your best offer within 24 hours and decide whether to accept it.
  5. The dealership collects your car for free, and you receive the cash to your bank account.

Selling your car to a private owner may yield a better price, but it’s likely to be a lot more — especially if you don’t own your car battery.

How well do electric cars hold their value?

Just like their petrol- or diesel-powered counterparts, EVs aren’t immune to depreciation. Age and mileage can both impact the value of your car. Depending on the make and model of the car, it can lose up to 50% of its original value by the third year. After this, the value of the car declines more slowly.

But EVs usually maintain their value better than fossil fuel-powered cars. Diesel cars, in particular, have rapidly lost value in recent years thanks to the diesel emissions scandal.

The good news is that sellers can capitalise on this. People looking to buy an EV can get a three-year-old model in good condition at a much lower cost than buying it new. And they won’t have to deal with such a rapid loss in value.

How long do drivers usually keep their EVs before selling?

Most EV owners either sell their car within the first year or two of ownership in order to get the best price, or keep their vehicle longer-term to get the most from their investment.

It may be time to consider selling your electric vehicle if:

  • Your battery warranty is due to expire soon
  • You don’t have the infrastructure around your home to run an EV effectively
  • The car needs expensive repairs
  • You want to invest in a newer model.

What are the top 5 most popular electric cars?

According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), here are the top 5 bestselling electric cars of 2023:

Car model Number of EVs sold in 2022
Tesla Model Y 35,899
MG4 21,715
Audi Q4 e-tron 16,757
Tesla Model 3 13,536
Polestar 2 12,542

When bought new, the Tesla Model Y starts at around £44,000. Second hand models are listed at around £33,000 as of January 2024— so sellers can still get a serious return on this vehicle.

Questions you may get asked when selling your EV

You can answer many of the commonly asked questions (like mileage, age, and battery ownership) on your car profile or listing. But you should still be prepared for extra questions at a viewing or over the phone. Many of these will be about your own experience of driving the car. For example:

Our top 5 tips for selling your electric car

Here are our top tips for getting the most money with the least hassle when selling your EV.

1. Research your car’s value

Use free online car valuation services to get an idea of how much you can expect to get when you sell your electric car. Use this as a benchmark against any offers you receive.

2. Be helpful

If you’re selling privately, understand the questions and concerns people may have about buying a used electric car, especially if they haven’t owned one before. Be honest and upfront about your experience with the car.

3. Sell online

Sell your electric car online with Motorway.co.uk. It’s a hassle-free way to sell your electric car without dealing with questions from private buyers, while getting the best possible price from a dealership.

4. Make your car presentable

Show your car in its best light. Treat it to a mini valet (or at least a trip through the car wash) to make sure it looks its best in photographs and when it’s viewed or collected.

5. Strike while the iron’s hot

Selling your electric car while demand is high is more likely to yield a good price. If you’re thinking about selling your electric car for any reason, now’s the time to do so.

Thinking about upgrading your EV to a Tesla? A car subscription is the easiest, cheapest way to test drive a Tesla without the heavy upfront investment. See all current Tesla car subscriptions for more information.

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