If you have never owned an electric car before, plan to buy a used electric car can be intimidating. Electric vehicles need different thinking than petrol or diesel-powered ones. When looking for a used electric car, you need to keep in mind a few extra factors.
Oct 16, 2021—6 min read
A great deal on an electric car can always be found but you need to do some pre-planning and study to make the right decision.
Types of electric cars
There are typically three types of electric cars including BEV, PHEV, and HEV. Here is how they differentiate from each other.
A battery electric vehicle runs entirely on electricity and has no gasoline engine. A battery pack needs to be recharged on the grid to operate the car. BEVs and EVs are both common names for these types of cars. BEVs are zero-emission vehicles since they don’t emit any pollutants into the atmosphere as traditional gasoline-powered vehicles do.
PHEVs, or Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles, are cars with a petrol engine and an electric motor. With a regenerative braking system, they can recharge their batteries much like a regular hybrid car.
Hybrids with a larger battery and the ability to plug into the grid are different from conventional hybrids. Instead of going 2-5 kilometres before the petrol engine kicks in, plug-in hybrids can go anywhere from 30-40 kilometres before it needs to use the petrol engine to assist them along. Once the PHEV’s all-electric range has depleted, it becomes a regular hybrid and can go several hundred kilometres on a tank of petrol. Most PHEVs cannot handle fast charging, although all can use an EVgo L2 charger to charge.
Hybrid electric vehicles, often known as HEVs, are cars with a gas engine and an electric motor. The gasoline engine receives energy from regenerative braking during acceleration, which recovers energy wasted while braking. This braking energy generally wastes heat in the brake pads and rotors of a traditional internal combustion engine car. Regular hybrids can’t use EVgo to recharge because they can’t be plugged into the grid.
In the automotive industry, vehicles that use fuel cell technology to generate the necessary electricity for driving are fuel cell electric (FCEVs), also known as fuel cell vehicles (FCVs). As opposed to those that burn fuel, chemical-powered vehicles convert chemical energy directly into electrical energy.
A fuel cell electric car differs in its operating principle from a plug-in electric car since it uses a different power supply. Fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) are unique because they produce all of the electricity they require.
What to look out for before buying a used electric car
Check the battery’s health
While the performance of a conventional car’s engine is an important consideration when purchasing a pre-owned model, an electric car’s battery – effectively its fuel tank – will disclose whether it is adequately maintained or not.
The battery pack of an electric car comprises several individual lithium-ion cells and delivers energy to the vehicle’s electric motors. Like a petrol tank, if it’s running low on fuel, it needs to recharge.
However, using high-voltage rapid charging stations, driving in harsh temperatures, or leaving the car parked for lengthy durations can damage the battery.
Using lower-powered AC outlets more frequently and draining the battery’s capacity to near empty before charging will help prevent – or reduce – battery degradation.
Most electric vehicles (EVs) monitor the battery’s health and display the information in the instrument cluster or infotainment system menus.
Evaluate this before buying a used electric car, and be sure to speak with the owner regarding charging and driving behaviour.
Size of the battery
A vehicle’s operating range can be determined by the battery’s size. Therefore, knowing this information is critical.
Some EVs come with different battery packs or improved over time with larger batteries or other longevity-enhancing features like cooling systems.
The battery’s capacity is measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh), and the higher the value, the more energy the battery can store to extend the driving range.
Some of the more recent EV batteries feature measurements for both total and usable capacity, with a so-called buffer in between the two. To maintain a consistent driving range, manufacturers use the buffer on the top and bottom of the battery.
Check the vehicle’s technical specifications to know about the vehicle’s driving range and battery safety measures before purchasing. Apart from the car’s overall condition, it will eventually determine its value.
Determine whether the battery is replaced or not
Battery failure is uncommon but it may happen. Electric cars with higher mileage are more likely to have had their batteries completely replaced.
If this has occurred — and the seller can provide documentation verifying the work — it is a significant coup. It means that someone else went to the trouble and expense of performing this task before you.
Battery pack being one of the most expensive components of an electric car; examine all the documents carefully to ensure you are receiving receipts for the car you are considering purchasing. Additionally, consider the estimated range on a full charge and the battery health reports provided by the car’s computer.
Even if the dealer or seller is unaware of the battery replacement, there is a chance that the service document may reveal the fact of battery pack replacement. Asking one is usually a smart idea.
A brief history of service
Lower electric car maintenance expenses and longer scheduled maintenance intervals are two of the most enticing features of EV ownership.
It’s because electric cars have fewer moving components and don’t use fluids like lubricants and coolants. Electric cars are also more energy-efficient.
However, owners should not neglect the more traditional elements of their cars, which require regular maintenance. Always look into the service history of a used car before purchasing it to ensure that any previously reported recall concerns were addressed correctly.
Range you need from used electric car
The development of electric vehicles has accelerated dramatically in the last decade. The Tesla Model S, for example, can go nearly 600 kilometres on a single charge, but early electric cars were lucky to get even 150 kilometres from a single charging. This number will likely to increase in the future.
Decide how much driving range you would need on a regular basis. While a range of 400 kilometres may seem adequate, electric vehicles with this range come at a high cost. For example, if you want to use your electric car to get to work, a car with a range of no more than 200 kilometres miles may be suitable. Longer journeys can be accomplished by renting a car. Many drivers benefit financially over the long run from this cost-effective method.
You should be aware that not all electric cars charge at the same rate
Cars with larger battery packs take longer to charge because they use more energy. However, with today’s electric vehicles and batteries, you’ll be able to recharge considerably more quickly than older models.
It’s essential to get an electric car that charges quickly if you’re going to use it frequently at public charging stations or if you plan to top it off at work. Used electric cars can be more cost-effective if you plan to charge them overnight at home or during work.
Investigate the remaining battery warranty
Battery packs often have extended warranty coverage from all carmakers. Hence, there is a good chance that warranty coverage is still available on many pre-owned electric vehicles’ battery packs. However, read the fine print carefully.
After the original purchase, most battery coverage plans are valid for eight years or 160,000 kilometers, whichever comes first. Some warranties, however, aren’t transferrable to new owners. Warranties can also change from model to model and year to year.
By far, your best bet is to get in touch with the automaker’s customer service department. Inquire with the customer service department to learn when your warranty expires and whether or not it’s transferable.
Check that all of the car’s charging cables function correctly and include them in the purchase. Installing a charger in your house will be another consideration, both logistically and financially. For those who live in apartments and don’t have off-street parking or charging, it’s a good idea to find out if there are any fast public charging stations nearby so they may charge while they’re still in the home or on their way home.
Also, don’t forget to include in the price of electricity. Charging at home is most effective when done during non-peak hours. You’ll save a lot of money on fuel while using electric vehicles (around ₹ 1 per mile, compared to around ₹ 7 with a petrol engine).
Electric cars depreciate faster than an internal combustion engine powered car. Hence, you may get a used electric car at a cheaper price but don’t expect a good bargain while selling as its depreciation will multiple more in the coming years.
When it comes to the future of transportation, electric vehicles is the answer. Electric cars will be the primary mode of transportation due to their reduced impact on the environment. Due to a lack of charging points, it may be challenging to purchase an electric vehicle at this point in time. Driving an electric car can be both fun and good for the environment for those who research and consider all the options.