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Buying An EV: New Or Used?

For all their fantastic perks, EVs have a pretty significant downfall: their price. Despite the government offering grants to help lower the cost, new EVs remain more expensive to buy than most new petrol and diesel cars.

And given that EVs are still relatively new on the scene, there hasn’t been much of a second-hand market for them thus far. However, the used electric vehicle market is surely growing and is a great way to dodge those hefty upfront costs and drive in an environmentally cleaner way without it leaving you destitute.

But how can you be sure that a second-hand EV would serve you as well as a new one? We will take a look at the whole, rounded picture in this article on whether a second-hand EV is worth it.

Why Buy An EV, To Begin With?

The perks of driving an EV are numerous. To name a few:

  • They are zero-emissions, so they do not contribute to climate change;
  • Despite the heavy upfront cost of a new EV, the running costs of an EV once you actually own one are relatively low;
  • You do not pay road tax on an EV;
  • They have a huge mileage range;
  • EV charging stations are practically everywhere, and locating them is reasonably effortless. In this case, you can simply use a car charger app to find a local charging point. 

Need we name more advantages before you are persuaded that an EV is totally worth it?

Is There Really A Growing Market For Second-Hand EVs?

Yes! According to reports from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), sales of used battery electric vehicles (BEVs) increased from 6,625 to 14,586 in the first three months of 2022, marking a 120% increase from the same period last year.

The Benefits Of A Second-Hand EV

The Cost, Duh

The biggest perk of buying a used EV is no doubt that the upfront cost of purchase is hugely reduced. Just by being bought, a car loses around 20% of its value immediately. A used EV that is even two years old will already save you a fortune compared to buying one brand new.

If you want an even bigger saving, you may have to forfeit the size of the battery slightly and pursue an older EV with older technology. Early Renault Zoes, for instance, could cost you around £6000.

They Usually Come With Their Warranty

It is the battery pack in the EV that makes them so expensive to buy. Consequently, they usually come with an extended factory warranty to cover you for up to 8 years or 100,000 miles. Thus, if you end up buying a used EV that is three years old with 30,000 miles on the clock and a valid warranty, you will still have 70,000 miles of cover left, which could be another five years of driving.

EV Batteries Last

According to a consumer report, the lifespan of the lithium-ion batteries used in EVs can be up to 200,000 miles. That means, even if you purchase a vehicle that is two years old and has amassed 20,000 miles, the likelihood that you will have to splash on a new battery is still pretty slim.

Excellent Resale Value

Electric vehicles can be resold for more money than petrol or diesel cars. Data shows that EVs retain around 48.9% of their value after three years or 36,000 miles. For petrol and diesel cars, that figure drops to 40%. All this means that, should you decide to sell your used EV, you won’t lose too much of what you spent in the first place.

The Drawbacks Of A Used EV

Less Range

Rather like your phone, the battery in an EV degrades as time goes on. That may mean its capacity to charge is lowered, directly affecting the mileage. Still, as we said earlier, most used EVs will come with their warranty intact, so mileage isn’t too much of an issue.

Outdated Tech

While new EVs are able to do up to 200 miles on a single charge, older EVs may only do half of this. As such, they may require more charging, which could prove a pain if you don’t have an EV charging point installed at home.

The Used EV Due Diligence Checklist

As with any car purchase, it is critical to do your research before putting your money towards a second-hand EV. Here is a list of things you should check off:

Check The Range 

Try switching on the EV and looking at the dash: what does the mileage range say when at the full battery? How does this compare to a brand-new model?

Research The Model

Scour the internet and do your due diligence to see what you can find out about this particular EV model and its age. Check reviews and get a balanced picture of the car you may invest in.

Check The Charging Socket

Check that the charging socket is intact. Ensure that the car comes with the appropriate cables and that these function well, too.

Carry Out Some General Checks

As you would with any regular second-hand car, ensure you check the functionality of the car’s moving parts; look at the tires, the condition of the brake discs and pads, the servicing history, and other parts of its bodywork.

Check Its History

There are certain sites you can visit to check the history of the vehicle, such as whether it has ever been involved in a crash or if it has been stolen. Though you may need to pay a fee for these checks, it is helpful to chart the life of your EV before you buy it.


If you’re already swayed by the idea of an electric vehicle and this article has opened your mind to the notion of a second-hand EV, then we have done our jobs correctly. Used EVs are a viable option for your next car, so don’t be afraid to explore the option just because it’s relatively new.

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