4 Realities to Consider When Buying a Second-Hand Electric Vehicle

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Electric vehicles are becoming increasingly well-received in Australia. In the first quarter of 2020, Beyhad Jafari confirmed this trend. The chief executive officer of the Electric Vehicle Council cited it is welcome news that, even if there is a deficiency in government support or incentives, the number of Australian consumers purchasing electric cars is increasing.

The consumers’ appetite for alternatively fuelled cars has, indeed, registered a record high. In 2019, sales of rechargeable cars in Australia more than tripled, as per Jafari’s bureau. In 2018, 2,216 rechargeable battery-powered vehicles got sold. However, last year, 6,718 hybrid plug-in and fully electric cars were the numbers, confirming the surge. Over that period, combustion engine vehicle sales plummeted by 7.8 per cent. With these figures, they demonstrate the fact that more second-hand electric vehicles are entering the used market.


4 Considerations When Purchasing Second-Hand Electric Cars


The stick of diesel law and the carrot of buying incentives, combined with the guarantee of zero-emissions driving, partly explain the growing appeal for electric cars. Also, the launch of ‘Clean Air Zones’ adds to the image of electric vehicle ownership being an attractive venture. However, when availing of a second-hand electric car, some consumers may find it as an anxiety-inducing experience.

It is because used rechargeable cars surely have the question marks that go along with possessing them. The following four insights can guide prospective electric car owners when deciding whether to avail this kind of private vehicle or otherwise.


1. Electric cars tend to depreciate even more rapidly than their internal combustion engine or ICE counterparts.

Consumers will, indeed, delight in the idea that buying a second-hand electric car is a great-value purchasing opportunity. These used private vehicles, particularly the fancier models, can have the price tag of over $100,000. But, in three years, they can lose grip of one-third or more of their value.

This disadvantage comes because, in the past few years, technology in electric cars has come in leaps and bounds. The following vehicles are examples from the costing guide of Redbook.com.au for private sales at the high end. Consumers can witness the considerable depreciation rates of electric cars within one to three years.

A) 2019 Nissan LEAF
    a) Cost of brand-new: $49,990
    b) Cost at the time of writing (June 2020): $36,500
    c) Depreciation Rate: 26.99 per cent

B) 2017 Tesla Model S P100D
    a) Cost of brand-new: $232,402
    b) Cost at the time of writing (June 2020): $105,600
    c) Depreciation Rate: 54.56 per cent

C) 2017 Tesla Model S 75D
    a) Cost of brand-new: $126,777
    b) Cost at the time of writing (June 2020): $86,200
    c) Depreciation rate: 32.01 per cent

The example cars above are for private sales at the high end and serve as a mere guide. They assume that a consumer settled the full retail cost, instead of haggling with a used electric car dealer.

During a sale, a consumer can fetch the most optimal price by having his second-hand electric vehicle in sound condition and possessing an inoffensive hue. Also, the electric car should have fewer kilometres travelled compared to other listings. The car should have a documented service history as well. Consumers should keep in mind that trade-in values for these kinds of cars could be at a much lower price, too.


2. Rechargeable lithium batteries of electric cars tend to deteriorate over time.

An electric car typically has a large rechargeable lithium battery that powers it. This device can weigh over 500 kilograms. Also, batteries of rechargeable cars can last for one to two decades in general before deteriorating enough that they already require replacement. Electrek.co evaluated over 6,000 electric cars in the United States recently.

The American news portal dedicated to sustainable energy and rechargeable battery-powered cars discovered that liquid-cooled rechargeable vehicles lost capacity at a slower pace compared to lithium ion-powered ones. According to Electrek.co’s study, each year, the latter lost grip of roughly 2.3-per cent of their capability.

Consumers should understand that, similar to their smartphones, electric cars also have batteries that deteriorate over time. Among the factors that can play a huge role in this scenario are charging habits, heat, condition, and age. Potential buyers of rechargeable battery-powered vehicles should consider the possibilities which the previous owner may have performed on the car. Examples of these scenarios are poor charging practices, frequently driving in hot climates, and so forth.

Over time, these factors can compromise the life of the electric car’s battery. Therefore, the buyer should be careful to prevent getting inconvenienced by massive battery replacement costs in the long haul. Plus, consumers should ensure that the warranty transfers over to them from the previous owner. Otherwise, these buyers of used electric cars could get troubled by a costly bill if their purchase is already out of warranty.

4 Realities to Consider When Buying a Second-Hand Electric Vehicle

3. Second-hand electric cars carry substantial amounts of possible technology troubles.

Used electric vehicles, including diesel and petrol ones, can inconvenience their new owners with technology problems. Prospective owners should understand that, in the interior, these kinds of private vehicles are highly technology-heavy. Second-hand electric cars typically feature fancy transmission levers, digital seats, and sophisticated entertainment units.

Furthermore, they usually comprise digital instrument clusters, heads-up displays, and many more. Consumers cannot get the guarantee that these electronics are dependable for the long term. Similar to an obsolete and inoperable smartphone in one’s drawer, second-hand rechargeable vehicles’ technology features have the likelihood to malfunction.

For instance, in a Tesla electric car, the 12.3-inch entertainment screen is a state-of-the-art perk. It is not a mere massive piece of technology. The Tesla entertainment screen is from where the owner manages plenty of monitoring systems and vehicle controls. Hence, if that ingenious feature goes completely black, plenty of the second-hand electric car’s capability to perform its primary task of driving gets undermined.


4. Maintenance of used electric cars can be costly.

Consumers eyeing to avail of a second-hand electric vehicle can relish the fact that they will not encounter some upkeep considerations that they had with their ICE car. The latter usually demands timing belt or chain replacements, oil and fuel filters and alterations, emission checks, spark plug replacements, and exhaust upkeep, among many others. Yet, a motorist does not need to deal with all of these parts with a used rechargeable vehicle.

Nevertheless, a used electric car typically demands the maintenance of its coolant, as well as its brakes and their fluid. Above all, consumers will have to maintain their car’s tyres. They should remember that these parts of a second-hand rechargeable car are one of the essential upkeep items. Tyre replacement can be expensive. For example, the tyres of the Tesla Model S possess a 21-inch rim diameter.

Buyers of this private vehicle’s used version will need huge and possibly pricey tyres. In some retailer websites, the most affordable 21-inch rim tyres’ cost is in the neighbourhood of $200. But the more famous brands cost around $400. Hence, prospective second-hand electric vehicle buyers should make sure that they have the budget for the maintenance of their purchase.

4 Realities to Consider When Buying a Second-Hand Electric Vehicle

Used electric cars can be the right choice for consumers who opt to go green. Owning these vehicles can help the environment because they are eco-friendly. However, potential owners should understand that these vehicles are similar to any second-hand car. Possessing these used automobiles entails benefits and drawbacks. Hence, when availing of a used electric vehicle, consumers should approach this undertaking with caution.

They should perform their research and some checks and balances. Besides, they should be aware of whether a second-hand rechargeable car is suitable for them or otherwise. Availing of the newest electric vehicle which a consumer can afford is ideal if he is considering owning one. In this way, he might be able to get rid of plenty of the costs and concerns linked with used electric cars, including battery degradation.

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