How to buy the best used electric vehicle

James Raia

It’s been about 15 years since hybrid and electric cars first entered mainstream global automotive market. Which means, led by the Toyota Prius, car buyers in the market for second- electric cars now have an expanding versatile selection.

Toyota introduced the Prius in 1997 and its global sales have now surpassed four million, far exceeding all hybrid and electric sales combined.

As a result, used Prius models, which now also include the Prius Liftback, Prius C, Prius V and Prius Plug-In Electric, are plentiful and logically a best choice among shoppers seeking a used electric car. There are plenty of parts and plenty of mechanics who know Toyota intimately.

Of course, there are other choices. In 2011 more than 30 hybrid cars, sport utility vehicles and trucks from more than a dozen manufacturers were on the market. And in 2012, nearly two new hybrid or electric models debuted in 2012, according to J.D. Power & Associates, the global automotive market research company based in California.

In recent years, with the influx new hybrids — the Ford Fusion and Ford C-MAX and the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid to the Honda Civic — there’s a new niche auto industry. It’s sites like www.motors.co.uk, automotive site specializing in used car sales, including electric vehicles.

Determining what hybrid or electric car is the best second-hand car for you is largely the same as determining what gas-fueled used car is the best. Do you need fuel economy, reliability, a vehicle for a family or specialty needs like all-wheel drive?

Like gas-engine cars, car-buyers looking for the best in a second-hand car electric car should consider the following must do steps: test drive, get a comprehensive inspection and get the vehicle’s history documentary.

Additionally, since electric vehicles have varying ranges, consider your driving habits. A Chevy Volt, for example, is an electric vehicle but it also has a gas engine. It has a combined 300-mile range. The Nissan Leaf is entirely electric and has an estimated range of 100 miles.

If you’re driving a second-hand car only a few miles to work, a Leaf is suitable. But the Volt will likely be more practical if a longer commute or other longer driving distances are routine.

Another consideration for second-hand electric car buyers is the convenience or lack of convenience charging the battery. In cold weather climates, it’s better, of course, to have indoor recharging capabilities.

And, finally, electric vehicle warranties are different than gas-powered car warranties. Batteries on electric and hybrid vehicles, for example, are at least eight years and 100,00 miles. Make sure to check what battery (and remaining car) warranty is available when purchasing a second-hand electric car.

Article Last Updated: July 27, 2023.

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