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Going Green on a Budget Below $25000: Buying Used Electric Cars Made Easy

Last Updated on October 21, 2023 by SPN Editor

The market for used electric cars is offering the best deals, with some branded used electric cars priced under $25,000. Deciding to buy a used electric vehicle (EV) depends on several factors. Today, some pre-owned cars may cost more than newer models based on their features and demand.

Purchasing used Electric cars can be a wise move if the previous owner maintained it well and followed smart charging practices. However, if the vehicle’s history is unclear, it’s best to have a thorough inspection done, with a focus on the battery’s condition. The battery is a critical component of any EV, impacting driving range and performance.

Considering the availability of charging infrastructure is crucial too. If you live or commute in areas with easy access to charging stations, a used EV can be a great choice. However, if you frequently drive through rural regions with limited charging options, buying a used EV might not be practical and could become inconvenient. Assess your location and driving habits to determine if a used EV suits your needs.

Why Are Buyers Hesitant to Embrace EVs?

The transition to electric vehicles has been slow for a couple of key reasons. Firstly, the charging infrastructure in many regions still leaves much to be desired, although there are ongoing efforts to improve it. Secondly, the initial purchase price of new EVs can be relatively high. However, the used EV market is changing the game, offering cost-effective alternatives that make electric driving more accessible than ever.

Finding the Best Deals of Used Electric Cars Under $25,000

To identify the best EV deals under $25,000, we’ve assessed three critical criteria:

  1. Availability in Multiple Markets: We’ve focused on models widely available in various regions, ensuring accessibility for a broader range of buyers.
  2. Factory Warranty: Each selected vehicle either retains its full factory bumper-to-bumper coverage or, at the very least, maintains powertrain coverage. This ensures peace of mind for used EV buyers.
  3. Savings Delta: We’ve considered the price difference between the new manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) and the current price of the used vehicle. This factor helps identify vehicles that offer exceptional value for money.

Furthermore, many of these used Electric cars may qualify for the federal used EV tax credit, which can provide savings of up to $4,000. To be eligible, the vehicle must be at least two years old, purchased from a dealer, and priced below $25,000. Specific income and filing requirements should be reviewed on the IRS website.

These electric vehicles are available at prices below $25,000, making them budget-friendly Electric cars for eco-conscious buyers.

YearMake and ModelMileagePrice
2020Nissan Leaf S21,000 miles$19,998
2017BMW i3 Deka World Range Extender29,000 miles$21,998
2020Nissan Leaf SV Plus32,000 miles$21,998
2018Nissan Leaf SL39,000 miles$18,998
2018Nissan Leaf SV5,000 miles$20,998
2019Hyundai Kona Electric SE48,000 miles$22,998
2020Nissan Leaf SV10,000 miles$20,998
2019Hyundai Ioniq Electric Limited37,000 miles$23,998
2021Kia Niro Electric EX38,000 miles$23,998
2020Chevrolet Bolt EV Premier15,000 miles$24,998
2017BMW i3 Mega World44,000 miles$18,998
2019Hyundai Ioniq Electric Limited40,000 miles$21,998
2019Volkswagen Golf Electric SE32,000 miles$19,998
2015Chevrolet Spark EV LT40,000 miles$11,998
2014Mitsubishi i-MIEV ES10,000 miles$12,599
Price of used Electric cars in the US (Note: price may fluctuate.)

Challenges of Buying Used EVs

While used EVs can offer incredible value, they do come with their own set of challenges:

  • Range and Charging: One of the most significant concerns with older EVs is their reduced range due to battery degradation. This issue can be especially problematic in colder regions, where older models may not perform as expected.
  • Battery Warranty: Most EVs come with a battery warranty that is limited to eight years or a specific mileage, often around 160,000 kilometers. Buyers of used EVs need to be aware of the potential costs of battery replacement.

Benefits of Buying a Used Electric Cars

  1. Cost Savings: EVs generally have lower operating costs compared to traditional gasoline-powered vehicles, with savings on fuel and maintenance expenses.
  2. Energy Efficiency: Electric motors are highly efficient, converting electrical energy into vehicle power with minimal losses.
  3. Government Incentives: Federal, state, and local governments often provide tax credits and rebates for electric vehicle purchases, making them even more cost-effective.
  4. Quiet Performance: Electric vehicles offer smooth and quiet driving experiences, with instant torque delivery for efficient acceleration.
  5. Newer Technology: Many new EV models come with innovative features and emerging technologies that are constantly evolving.

Drawbacks of Buying a Used Electric Cars

  1. Driving Range: EVs have limited driving ranges compared to gasoline-powered cars, which can be a concern for long road trips.
  2. Charging Infrastructure: Reliance on public charging stations can be inconvenient, especially if you lack a home charging setup. Installing one can be costly.
  3. Charging Time: Recharging an EV takes longer than refueling a traditional car. Fast chargers can still take around 20 minutes to reach an 80% charge.
  4. Battery Lifespan: Over time, EV batteries may degrade, reducing overall driving range. Replacing a battery can be an expensive undertaking.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Buying a Used Electric Cars

When considering the purchase of a used electric car (EV), there are several crucial factors to keep in mind. Used EVs can offer substantial savings compared to new models, but it’s essential to make an informed decision.

Leverage Battery Life as a Bargaining Tool

Much like any rechargeable device, an EV’s battery degrades over time due to usage and environmental factors, including temperature fluctuations. To assess a used EV’s battery health, you have a few options:

Visit a car dealership’s service department, where they can provide a detailed report on the battery’s condition.
Charge the used EV to 100% and check the estimated range. Compare it to the original rating to gauge the battery’s health.

Utilize the EV’s built-in display, which often shows battery health information.
While it’s unlikely to find a used EV with a 100% battery life report, a range of around three-quarters of its original capacity is acceptable for most daily commutes.

Investigate Battery Replacement

In some instances, higher-mileage used electric cars may have had their entire battery packs replaced. This can be a significant advantage as it demonstrates that a previous owner invested in maintaining the vehicle. Look for documentation confirming the battery replacement and ensure it aligns with the car you’re interested in. Carfax or AutoCheck vehicle history reports may also provide relevant information. Additionally, remember that EVs have conventional 12-volt batteries for accessories like radios and power windows, which usually last about four to five years.

Determine the Remaining Battery Warranty

Many automakers offer extended warranty coverage specifically for EV battery packs, often exceeding coverage for other vehicle components. Typically, this warranty spans eight years or 100,000 miles from the initial purchase, whichever comes first. However, not all warranties are transferable to subsequent owners, and the terms can vary between model years. To confirm the remaining warranty on a used EV, contact the automaker’s customer service department with the vehicle identification number (VIN).

Inquire About Maintenance History

While EVs require less maintenance than traditional vehicles, it’s still valuable to inquire about the maintenance history. Ask the previous owner or dealer for any available service records. Due to their regenerative braking systems, EVs tend to have longer-lasting brake pads and fewer maintenance needs. Utilize Kelley Blue Book’s tool to identify any potential recalls that might affect the specific used electric vehicle you’re considering.

Evaluate Battery Charging Capacity

Different electric car models offer varying battery capacities, which can significantly impact your driving experience. Check if the vehicle’s battery capacity aligns with your requirements, taking into account factors like commuting and long-distance travel. Newer EVs tend to have more extensive ranges compared to early models, so assess your specific range needs accordingly.

Assess Your Charging Needs

Understanding your charging requirements is crucial when buying a used EV. Consider the following:

Level 1 Charging: Uses standard household outlets for slow charging. Suitable for topping up small amounts of charge during extended parking.
Level 2 Charging: Provides faster charging through 240-volt power outlets, ideal for daily charging at home or work.
Level 3 Charging (DC Fast Charging): Offers rapid charging at public stations but may come at an additional cost.
Evaluate your access to charging infrastructure, whether you have a private garage or need to rely on public charging stations.

Explore Government and Utility Incentives

While most electric car tax incentives primarily apply to new vehicles, some incentives extend to used EVs. Consult with your tax preparer or local motor vehicle office to determine if any specific deals or incentives are available to you. Additionally, some utility providers offer discounts on charging equipment and lower rates for off-peak charging hours.

Verify Charging Accessories

Before finalizing your used EV purchase, ensure that essential charging accessories are included. Check for the Level 1 charging cord, typically provided with new EVs. If buying from a private seller, inquire if they are willing to include their Level 2 charger, which can be a significant expense when purchased separately.