Is buying a used electric car right for you?

Electric cars have been rapidly increasing in popularity in the new car market, but most recently they have shown growth in the used car market too.
In Q2 of this year, overall used car transactions in the UK rose 108.6% compared to a previously weak year during the height of the Covid pandemic, but this also led to sales of both used plug-in and battery vehicles tripling year on year.


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Could this be an indication that drivers are gradually trialling an electric or hybrid ahead of the 2030 ban on new petrol and diesels? And with the current fuel shortages affecting the UK at the moment, many will be looking to join the battery-power club sooner rather than later.

So, if you’re considering buying an electric car and wondering if a used option is the best for you, here are some points to consider based on the current used car market.

Does an electric car suit me?

The reasons for switching are obvious, from the benefits to the environment to the various health benefits and, of course, the reduction in running costs over time. Thanks to the lower CO2 emissions and the fact there’s very little overall pollution, electric vehicles are largely exempt from tax.

The government is also offering grants for purchasing plug-in vehicles, the maximum available is £2,500 for cars and various amounts for other low-emission vehicles like bikes and vans. Although this is set to be a main focus at the upcoming COP26 conference and could be under review by the Chancellor so we could expect changes to grants available in the immediate future.

Another big consideration is driving range. The kinds of journeys you make will decide whether or not having an electric car would be appropriate for you. EVs have a limited charge when it comes to how far they can travel but this has been a big focus for brands and large improvements have been made to driving range on a single charge.

If you’re someone who has to travel long distances with reasonable regularity, they may not be a good option for you but with more charging facilities being installed across the country, this may not be such a worry, especially with rapid charging points now being able to charge a battery up to 80% by the time you’ve done your weekly food shop. There are also government incentives available to get an EV charging station set up at your home, and this can reduce charging times by up to 60 per cent. You can currently get up to £350 off a home charge point installation, although you need proof of ownership of an EV before you can apply, so this will be something to consider once you’ve bought an electric car.

When considering a battery in a used electric car you need to ensure that it doesn’t have issues maintaining a charge, something you shouldn’t need to worry about with a new electric car. Think of it in the same way you would consider the mileage of a conventional used car. Most EVs come with a separate warranty for their battery, and this usually runs for longer than the car’s warranty. There is an industry-standard eight-year warranty on many models, although some later cars have a shorter five-year term. Either way, this should give you added peace of mind that the battery should keep its charge and you’re covered if there are issues.

Another thing to double check when buying a used electric is the ownership of the battery itself. In the early days of electric cars, some manufacturers would sell the car but lease the battery separately as a way of making the price seem lower. Renault is an example of a brand that did this initially, but this system has almost universally stopped now. When you buy the car, you also buy the battery too. But a question to ask the dealer before purchasing.

Buying a used car

In general, the main factor in buying a used car is the lower price tag. If you have a lower budget for your car then a used car ticks all the boxes. But with current used car prices increasing due to dealer stock shortages, some used cars at the moment are priced higher than their new car alternatives. The problem with new cars currently is the global chip shortage, which is affecting production and causing huge delivery delays, so many car buyers are opting for used or nearly new to avoid a long wait for a new car which in turn, is making the used car market extremely competitive.

Our advice for those considering purchasing a car soon is to start your search now. Luckily you can search a range of used electric and hybrid cars from trusted dealers at Exchange and Mart and s1cars. 

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