The Used-EV Buyer's Guide



The automobile industry has faced multiple challenges in 2020, among them shut factories, shuttered dealerships, and a pandemic which has kept potential buyers at home. Because of this, some brand new electric car models have been postponed, along with the supplies of the others are limited.

That makes this a excellent time to buy a used EV. Just take the low-mileage 2016 Nissan Leaf in my driveway, covered in bird blossom and leaf debris! It has proved to be a tough sell, given its modest variety and the challenging social-distancing logistics of test drives with me in the passenger seat.

It’s not surprising that consumers are choosy–we are in a buyer’s market. By way of example, the private-sale worth of a 2016 Leaf SL that cost $36,800 brand fresh is currently around $9,800, according to Kelley Blue Book. A few EVs fare better in the used-car sector. A 2017 Tesla Model S 90D that originally sold for $87,500 currently has a rather respectable private-party quote of $57,300.

When you search for a used EV, scope is paramount. Battery technology has improved dramatically. My previous Leaf can officially travel just 107 miles (less in real life conditions) before requiring a charge, but now 300 miles per fee is a reasonable expectation. You will need to think of an old EV as a second or backup car, since it will not be taking one to Grandma’s house two countries away.

Following is a short guide to some of the better used EVs on the industry today.

Chevrolet Bolt

CHEVROLET BOLT (2017 to 2019)

GM made a significant commitment to the Bolt, which currently offers 259 miles of variety. It’s a fantastic little car, very innovative for its day, although early models suffered from a gremlins. Expect to pay $17,000 to $26,000. Note that some owners have reported battery-pack problems.

Honda Clarity plug-in hybrid


This hybrid vehicle is justly renowned for the smooth ride, upscale interior, fantastic handling, safety enhancements, and ample storage room. The 2020 model may travel 47 miles with just the battery and 340 miles to a tank of gasoline. (Avoid the 2017–2019 battery-electric version of the Clarity with its laughable 89 miles of variety.) Expect to pay $20,600 to $29,000.

Kia Niro plug-in hybrid

KIA SOUL EV (2017 to 2019) AND KIA NIRO PLUG-IN HYBRID (2018 to 2020)

The quirky but adorable crossover Soul EV surfaced in 2017 with a variety of just 93 mph, but the 2019 model gets 111, and the 2020 model boasts a commendable 243. The 2019 Niro plug-in hybrid (pictured above) provides a battery assortment of 26 miles and goes 560 miles on a tank of gasoline (105 miles-per-gallon equal ). Expect to pay $13,000 to $34,000 for a Soul EV, $20,000 to $26,000 for a Niro. Problems: The older Souls have range issues, and utilized Niro PHEVs are tough to discover.

Tesla Model 3

TESLA MODEL 3 (2017 to 2020)

Tesla provides Model 3s with battery life ranges between 250 and 322 milesper hour If you are able to afford them, these automobiles are practical to possess and excellent to drive; the performance model reaches 60 mph as few as 3.2 seconds. Expect to pay $39,000 to $50,000 to get a more expensive model. Not everyone enjoys the huge touch screen, which has had reliability problems.

Also worthy of consideration will be the AUDI E-TRON (a stylish hauler), JAGUAR I-PACE (performance and off-road capacity ), TESLA MODEL S (sense its age; still striking ), FORD MUSTANG MACH-E (a fresh direction for your new ), CHEVROLET VOLT (the initiating plug-in hybrid), and the VOLKSWAGEN E-GOLF (a hardy performer). Don’t count out the NISSAN LEAF PLUS, which extends the capabilities of the foundation model and contains a variety of 226 milesper hour

The article appeared in the November/December 2020 version with the headline”The Used-EV Buyer’s Guide.”

This article was financed by the Sierra Club’s Clean Transportation for All campaign.

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