BY JIM MOTAVALLI | NOV 3, 2020
The auto industry has faced multiple challenges in 2020, among them closed factories, shuttered dealerships, and a pandemic that has kept potential buyers at home. As a result, some new electric car models have been delayed, and the supplies of others are limited.
That makes this a great time to buy a used EV. Take the low-mileage 2016 Nissan Leaf in my driveway, covered in bird poop and leaf debris—please! It has proved to be a hard sell, given its modest range and the difficult social-distancing logistics of test drives with me in the passenger seat.
It’s not surprising that consumers are choosy—we’re in a buyer’s market. For example, the private-sale value of a 2016 Leaf SL that cost $36,800 new is now around $9,800, according to Kelley Blue Book. Some EVs fare better in the used-car market. A 2017 Tesla Model S 90D that originally sold for $87,500 now has a very respectable private-party estimate of $57,300.
When you shop for a used EV, range is paramount. Battery technology has improved dramatically. My old Leaf can officially travel only 107 miles (even less in real-world conditions) before needing a charge, but today 300 miles on a charge is a reasonable expectation. You’ll have to think of an older EV as a second or backup car, because it won’t be taking you to Grandma’s house two states away.
Here’s a short guide to some of the better used EVs on the market today.
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