If you’re buying a second-hand EV, you’ll need to pick a type, a model, then make a few final checks to get the right car for you.
What type of used electric car should you pick?
The best kind of EV depends on your usage and circumstances. Choose from a full battery electric vehicle (BEV), a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV), or a range extended vehicle (REx).
BEVs or 'Battery Electric Vehicles' run on a battery alone. Their technology is rapidly advancing, with increased range and expanded features on every new model. Buying second hand, you can still pick up an EV that more than covers the range of your daily drive. Remember, you’ll ideally need a charging point at home.
PHEVs or 'Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles' run on a battery and a backup petrol motor. This gives you the reassurance of never being without charge, but both electric and petrol power sources are typically a bit less efficient. A second-hand PHEV could be a good introduction to EV driving.
What to look for in a used electric car
Once you know what type of EV suits you best, talk to your dealer about the available second-hand models. As with buying any second-hand car, be sure to check for a few important details:
- Check the state of the battery. It may have degraded with use, particularly in a BEV, reducing its range. The dealer should have access to diagnostic tools to show you how the battery is holding up
- Take a look at the maintenance record. EVs need less maintenance than petrol cars but you still want to look at the log and check the previous owners have been doing their jobs
- Ask for any model-specific issues. Check EV user forums or subreddits to see if the model you want throws up any age-related problems
- Make sure you can charge your car easily. Either look into installing a home charger or see where your nearest public charging stations are