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Used EVs cost a lot less than you think, study says

A new survey could flip consumer perceptions of used electric vehicles.

2018 Nissan Leaf

Consumer perceptions of electric vehicle cost, range and reliability go from confused, to misguided and right on into Crazytown. recently conducted a study that goes a long way toward proving the doubters and haters wrong.

Electric vehicles are, for many, a strange and unknown quantity in the world of wheeled transportation, and with unfamiliarity comes fear and mistrust. In addition to range anxiety, many buyers have concerns about the continued reliability of a used EV and very little practical knowledge of how much a decent example should cost, with many buyers believing that a decent used EV should be as much as $5,000 more than its gasoline-powered counterpart (see above, re: Crazytown).

Aside from the charging point and a few badges, you'd be hard-pressed to tell this Focus apart from its gas-powered brethren.


The Autolist survey of 1,249 subjects shows that many EV owners enjoy above-average reliability over their petrol-powered rivals, with the Nissan Leaf beating out even the venerable Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla. That said, if you bought a Ford Focus Electric, then this doesn't apply to you (according to the study), and we're sorry.

Pricing for used EVs can also be a little shocking. Of course, we're seeing higher-end EVs like the Tesla Model S hold their values relatively well, but more pedestrian models such as the Fiat 500e and the Leaf can be easily had for around the $10,000 mark (if not well under).

Is there a downside to this low cost and reliable used EV party? Well, yes. These smaller and cheaper models have significantly shorter ranges than the high-zoot, fancy-pants Teslas. Most can expect under 100 miles per charge, particularly if there is any highway driving involved. Those drivers planning for short-hop commutes in the city will benefit most here, especially if their city has a robust network of charging stations.

This all goes a long way toward explaining why the Chevrolet Volt, a range-extended electric vehicle, has remained kind of pricey on the used market. An EV with a gas-engine backup plan makes for an easier pill to swallow for the newly converted.

If you're feeling like ditching your dead-dinosaur burner for something powered by electricity, then it could be a great time to opt in with an extremely low bar for entry.