Nissan Leaf is America’s best-value used EV
Which used EVs give you the most bang for your buck? That’s the question answered by InsideEVs, and although the list pertains to the US market, it provides some clues for prospective used-EV buyers in Europe and elsewhere as well.
While most new EVs in the US cost somewhere around $30,000, with high-end EVs ranging beyond $70,000, a recent EV can be had for $10,000 or thereabouts – even half that amount, if you’re willing to go for an older model.
The huge price differential can be explained partly by the $7,500 tax credit the US federal government gives to those who buy new EVs. But also because demand for used EVs is relatively slack – used Teslas being the one exception.
One of the reasons is the fact that newer EVs have a longer range. That doesn’t mean a used EV can’t be an interesting additional car, ideal for shorter trips, such as school runs, the daily commute into work, or the weekly trek to the shops.
One major advantage of EVs, used or not: lower operating costs. According to the EPA, an average EV driver will save as much as $5,750 in fuel cost over five years, compared to a petrol-car driver covering the same distance. And since it doesn’t need oil or fluid changes nor tune-ups and contains a lot fewer moving parts, it needs a lot less maintenance.
All of which makes a used EV an interesting proposition. Based on the Residual Value of 2- to 3-year-old EVs, their range and equivalent ‘fuel’ economy, these are the top five used EVs in the US today.
1. Nissan Leaf 2016-17
- Estimated price: $11,850-$13,075 (€10,626-€13,075)
- Operating cost: $0.96 for 25 miles (€2.14/100 km; most 2016 models); $0.97 for 25 miles (€2.16/100 km; some 2016 models and all 2017 models)
- Range: 84 miles (135 km; most 2016 models); 107 miles (172 km; some 2016 models and all 2017 models)
Was sold across the entire country (pictured: Nissan Leaf recharging in Pearland, Texas), so used models are relatively easy to find – which explains why it’s the cheapest model on the list.
2. KIA Soul EV 2016-17
- Estimated price: $13,015-$15,825 (€11,671-€14,190)
- Operating cost: $1.04 for 25 miles (€2.31/100 km)
- Range: 93 miles (150 km)
New-car sales were limited to California and five other states, so this one may be hard to find.
3. BMW I3 2016-17
- Estimated price: $14,900-$19,625 (€13,363-€17,600)
- Operating cost: $0.88 for 25 miles (€1.96/100 km; 2016 version); $0.94 for 25 miles (€2.09/100 km; some 2017 versions)
- Range: 81 miles (130 km; 2016 version); 114 miles (183 km; some 2017 versions)
An extremely low RV, considering the 2017 model’s asking price new was more than $42,000. Some i3s come with a small petrol engine that helps extend the range.
4. Volkswagen e-Golf 2016-17
- Estimated price: $16,850-$17,400 (€15,115-€15,605)
- Operating cost: $0.95 for 25 miles (€1.99/100 km; 2016 version); $0.92 for 25 miles (€2.04/100 km; 2017 version)
- Range: 125 miles (201 km)
A compact hatchback with a large cargo hold.
5. Chevrolet Bolt EV 2017
- Estimated price: $24,175 (€21,685)
- Operating cost: $0.92 for 25 miles (€2.04/100 km)
- Range: 238 miles (383 km)
The most expensive car on the list, but with the longest range.