A Guide to Buying a Used Electric Car

Buying a used electric car is becoming more and more common in the UK. With an increase in sales of EVs more than 80% greater than 2020, more and more of us are looking to make the switch, and for many still, that switch is all about the used electric vehicle, or EV, market.

The process for actually buying a used electric car is relatively similar to buying a typical combustion engine vehicle. The differences and small tips that do exist however really make the whole process a lot easier. As we inspect so many of them when people are making the switch, it only stands to reason that we have exactly the advice you need to do it.

1. Price up electric charging point installation

As a great starting point, even before you look at some possible candidates, you should look into the availability of charging point installation. Getting a charging point fitted at home is a massively convenient step in the process. While you can use the classic three-pin wall socketed plug to charge up, this is certainly now the easiest, cheapest or quickest way to get the job done.

Instead, it’s a great idea to look into the specifics of having a charging point fitted. That includes understanding if your home can or does have one already if you have access to a communal space nearby, how much it may cost, and if you require any special planning permissions too (which is very rare). Once you know the situation, you can move forward in the buying process.

2. Find the model you like

Buying a used electric car is of course dependent on which cars you actually would like to purchase. EVs come in all shapes and sizes in the current market. Whether you’re looking for some of the cheaper and more accessible vehicles available or simply the best performers that are available to you, there is a huge range of options to choose from.

Again, just like with any car, choosing the best fit is always going to be about finding a car that works for you practically just as much as what your preferences are. Seat capacity, boot space, head and legroom, performance and overall size of the vehicle can all be major factors here. It’s always worth seeing vehicles in person and looking online to find the best fit.

3. Inspect the Vehicle:

After you’re finished with the research stages and you know exactly what you want, it’s time to get down to the more granular side of buying a used electric car. This is where things like seller profiles and vehicle conditions really come into play. After all, you want to buy safely or you could end up with serious regrets.

Electric vehicles do have their problem areas, just like all cars do, but with the right know-how and a bit of online research, you can check for some of the simpler areas yourself, like wear and tear or the legal and financial standing of the vehicle, or you can hire a specialist inspection service like CarExamer to do it all for you too.

Check the battery health

The first thing you need to be looking at when buying an electric car is the battery condition. Although EV batteries can outlast even many combustion cars’ lifespans, there can still be issues when buying used. The best possible way to check this on the most simple level is to take a look at the battery status when fully charged (request to see it fully charged before you buy) and see the range from this, and any other information provided with the manual and onboard display accordingly. This is often the best way to understand what you’re working with,

Cables & Apparatus

Another key factor when buying a used electric vehicle is that the charging facility works correctly. Check both that the cable functions properly and that there are no issues during the charging process. This is actually one of the more common issues when buying a used EV, but it should be one of the easiest to fix, too.

Brake health

The condition of the brakes is an important area to factor into the price and condition of the vehicle, as due to the regenerative braking property of EVs, brakes are an important component. Always take a look both before test driving and while using the brakes to see if there are any signs of problems, and you may be able to have them replaced before you buy or reduce the cost should you need to.

Wear and tear

Wear and tear in general needs to be considered when buying a used electric car, just like it does with any other car. Check all the basics, from electrics, tires and bodywork through to unpleasant noises and dysfunctional equipment. You can never be too careful, and it’s always better to find these niggles before you commit to buying the car.

Warranty

Warranties can be an important feature of an EV that often go unsung. Some EVs actually come with very large warranties to protect the battery health even in addition to the general vehicle warranty. In fact, these battery warranties often last even longer. It’s always a good move to learn what the EV you’re buying has in this regard, and to find out how long is left too. For older models especially, this is extra important.

4. Get to Grips With Charging

The final step in the used electric car buying princess is to understand how the charging system works, and how it will fit into everyday life. You can of course have facilities installed in your house, but you can also often look into having them installed at work too. Many of these options are actually subsided by the government, at least to some extent.

There are also specific energy packages out there for EV owners as well to help reduce charging costs instead of using standard energy tariffs which can be very useful. The same goes for setting up accounts for public charging facilities too, and many of these will need you to have a smart charging system account in place before you’re able to use them. Aside from these, you then have charging stations located at specific sites and at fuel stations too, often using their own simple systems, or just contactless payments like fuel does currently.

FAQ’s

How Long Do Electric Cars Last?

A common misconception about electric vehicles is that the battery life is very short-lived. In reality, that is not the case at all. EV batteries last years if not decades with current technologies. With both new software and hardware being released all the time, this is only getting better. Even now, some of the very early generations of EV are still on the market and still renaming highly sought after because of their practicality and reliability,

How do EVs perform?

Because of how they operate, used EVs actually often outperform most combustion vehicles. Their difference in powertrain means unrivalled acceleration, even in the notoriously slower models. For example, even with a 0-60 over 10 seconds may have a 0-40 of well under 5. Aside from that, they are typically less noisy, more comfortable, and tend to come with more features even as base model level as well. The battery positioning and weight also offer a very different centre of gravity, keeping the vehicles in a combined position of acceleration, handling and comfort all rolled into one.

Which is the Best EV?

The best EV on the market is completely down to opinion and what matters most to you. You have everything from the latest Porsche, Tesla Model S or 3, Audi E-Tron, VW E-golf, BMW i series and so many more all getting incredible reviews across the board. There is something for everyone no matter what you’re looking for in your next car.

Are EVs Cheaper in the Long Run?

Almost always, yes, EVs are cheaper than combustion engined vehicles. That actually comes from three areas too. They need fewer repairs on average throughout their lifespan, being rated more reliable by many than all other categories of vehicle. EVs typically retain their value when it comes to selling much better than alternatives, making it easy to upgrade too. Lastly, of course, charging an EV is much cheaper than fuelling a car, so all three of these aspects tend to make for a much cheaper purchase all in all.