While electric vehicles have gained a significant share of the market, many electric vehicles are still too expensive for the average driver. Buying a used electric vehicle may be a better fit for your budget, and the number of electric vehicles for sale is increasing as more of them are getting re-sold. However, electric vehicles differ from gas-fueled vehicles and aren’t suited to every lifestyle. We’re here to help you decide if you should buy a used electric vehicle, and what to look for when buying one.

Is an Electric Car Right for You?

It’s important to weigh the pros and cons of electric vehicles to see if they’re right for you before making your purchase.

The Pros of Buying an Electric Vehicle

Many customers purchase electric cars because of their low fuel costs when compared to gas-powered vehicles. In general, the cost of one gallon of gasoline is almost double the price of running an electric vehicle. Drivers who charge their vehicles at home and take advantage of off-peak electricity pricing are looking at even greater savings.

Electric vehicles are also cheaper to maintain because they have simpler parts than gas cars. Nixing fluid changes and regular tune-ups can save electric car owners money over time.

One of the biggest reasons shoppers are turning to electric vehicles is because they’re environmentally friendly. Electric cars don’t produce any smog or tailpipe emissions that contribute to air pollution and pollution-related conditions, and they have lower carbon emissions than gasoline-powered vehicles.

The Cons of Buying an Electric Vehicle

An electric car’s range, or the distance it can travel before running out of battery, is one of the biggest factors to consider while researching electric vehicles. Electric vehicles use most of their battery on the highway or during long stretches of driving. If you use your vehicle to travel long distances, it’s important to research public charging stations along your route. Since electric cars and hybrids are relatively new, charging stations aren’t as common as gas pumps.

Unless you’re going to rely on public or workplace charging, your vehicle will require a place to charge overnight. An electric vehicle may not be realistic for drivers who lack access to off-street parking or live in an apartment building. For the average electric vehicle owner, deciding when and where to charge their car is one of the most time-consuming aspects of ownership. While stopping at a gas station for fuel only takes a few minutes, charging an electric vehicle at a public station takes between 25 to 60 minutes. Charging times depend on a few different factors, including battery size and vehicle range. Charging your vehicle overnight using a level 2 home charger takes approximately 10 hours. Inclement weather, like hot or cold temperatures, can alter the battery’s life and shorten your car’s range.

Electric car charging - Should you buy a used electric car

Things to Consider Before Buying a Used EV

Now that you’ve weighed the pros and cons of buying an electric vehicle, let’s dive into some specifics around buying used and what to ask the dealer while negotiating.

Battery Health

Just like other battery-powered devices, electric car batteries can degrade over time. Extreme temperatures and repeated charging can accelerate the process, so it’s important to ask the dealer for a report on the car’s battery health. Charge the battery to 100% to check for range or look at the car’s display screen to see its battery health. While looking for an electric vehicle with a battery life of 100% is unrealistic, you might be able to secure one with around three-quarters of its original range.

Battery Replacement History

It’s uncommon, but some used electric cars have had their entire batteries replaced. If your dealership confirms that the car’s battery has been replaced, that makes it a good option for drivers looking to save on maintenance down the road. If the dealer doesn’t have the information you need, vehicle history report websites are a useful alternative.

Battery Warranty

Electric vehicle dealers typically extend the warranty for the car’s battery longer than the rest of the vehicle. Examine the fine print to see if your car is still under warranty.

Charging Capacity

Electric car manufacturers usually change their vehicles incrementally every time a new one is released. Charging capacity is one of the variables that changes the most frequently. Check the car’s battery capacity through its display screen to determine if it’s equipped with fast-charging capabilities and the battery’s original capacity.

Charging Accessories

Don’t forget to ask the dealership about charging accessories, such as a charging cord, so you don’t have to purchase one yourself. If you’re purchasing your electric car from a private seller, you may want to ask if they’re also willing to sell their level 2 charger.

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