According to CAA-Quebec, a new car loses almost 30% of its value in its first year. A second hand plug-in car is a more economical purchase option than a new car... with all the benefits of running electric.
And there is nothing to worry about with regards to reliability. According to CAA-Quebec, Protégez-vous and Consumer Reports, EVs are even more reliable than a combustion engine.
Second hand EVs are also a much more environmentally responsible choice than new EVs, because the environmental footprint of its battery has potentially already been amortized or even offset!
Choosing a used plug-in car is a great way to experience EV life at the lowest possible price. The difference in price between a gas-powered car and its electric counterpart has been partly or completely absorbed by the previous owner.
Opting for an electric car that is only a few years old can be more advantageous than buying a new gasoline car at the same price. According to Carfax valuations, the average price for 3 year old EVs (2018) is between $18,000 and $23,000. When the substantial savings that result from running electric are taken into account, these cars can become the equivalent of the cheapest new vehicles on the market!
Some second hand 100% electric vehicles are eligible for a $4,000 government subsidy (3 to 4 years, original vehicle warranty honoured in Quebec). Some conditions apply (see here for full program details).
First generation EVs
First generation EV models (2011 to 2015) are a great choice for a small budget, as a second vehicle, or for someone who generally doesn’t generally drive very far. Ranging between $10,000 and $15,000, these models are unbeatable with regards to cost of ownership. Compared to a similarly priced gasoline car, there are considerable savings, even just with the savings on gas.
The CAA Driving Costs Calculator is a good tool to compare the cost of ownership between two models: https://carcosts.caa.ca/
Luxury EV… at a more affordable price
If you are in the market for a luxury vehicle, the second hand market opens up possibilities for a range of vehicles that are much less affordable when new.
EV Proven reliability
Most plug-in vehicles are considered more durable than gas-powered vehicles. The motorization of 100% electric vehicles is much simpler and more robust, which means that EVs often have a longer lifespan and require less maintenance.
EVs are generally covered by an 8 year/160,000 km transferable warranty on the electrical powertrain and batteries.
The powertrain of plug-in hybrids is more complex, but they are still considered more reliable, as are conventional hybrids, which remain the preferred choice of taxi owners. Kilometers driven in electric mode reduce wear and tear on internal combustion powertrain.
According to Consumer Report, almost all plug-in models receive an above-average owner satisfaction rating.
You can therefore consider a used plug-in car with confidence!
More and more used plug-in vehicles are available from dealerships and other companies that sell of used vehicles. Some even specialize in electric vehicles.
Specialized used car sites will make it easy for you to find the used car of your dreams, such as Otogo.ca, powered by Corporation des concessionnaires d’automobiles du Québec (CCAQ) or AutoUsagee.ca, powered by the l’Association des marchands de véhicules d’occasion du Québec (AMVOQ).
With a variety of available second hand models, you can choose the one that really suits your needs. Newer models, with a larger battery, can meet the needs of almost all Quebecers. First-generation models (2011 to 2015) often offer less range than newer models, but they can be a great choice for those who generally drive smaller distances.
All experts agree: when choosing a used EV, battery health is essential.
Over the life of the vehicle (10 years or more), there can be an average decrease in range of 10% to 15%. The decrease is a little more pronounced during the first years: on average 1 to 2% per year depending on the models and the type of use. The curve then fades.
Taking this into account, a 3 year-old electric vehicle could have an average range of 3 to 6% less than it was when the vehicle was new.
However, battery wear is not a problem if the vehicle is chosen according to the driver’s needs. Furthermore, the overall performance of the vehicle is not affected and the battery is still considered healthy.
Plan for winter when estimating your needs
To estimate the ideal range that you need, first consider your general usage, taking into account that the plugged-in vehicle always begins the day at 100% capacity. Then factor in the winter, where you might see a 20-30% drop and even up to a 40% on extremely cold days. On those colder days, access to charging stations at your destination or even on the way may be necessary. If you want to avoid at all costs having to recharge on your typical commute, even if it’s just a few days a year, aim for a range with a margin of 40% on your general usage.
Advice for purchasing a used vehicle is generally the same as advice for purchasing any car, plug-in or not.
CAA-Quebec has compiled a Buying Guide for choosing the right used EV.
Have a look at the Running Electric webinars (in French), that will help answer all your questions on buying a used electric car.
Studies confirm that over their entire life cycle, electric cars pollute less than their gasoline equivalents, though the fact remains that making an electric vehicle is very energy and resource intensive.
When choosing a used EV, the manufacturing impacts have already been offset in part or completely by the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions on the kilometers that have already been driven.