If you’re interested in buying a used electric cars (EV), becoming more environmentally sustainable can be a very exciting experience. EVs have no tailpipe emissions and don’t require the maintenance internal combustion engine cars do. Nowadays, there are economical choices such as the Nissan Leaf or Hyundai Ioniq as well as luxury EVs like the Porsche Taycan or Mercedes-Benz EQS. Then there’s Tesla, one of the most recognized name in electric cars.

Buying used electric cars may not be simple. But this guide covers what you need to know to find one that meets your needs.

Hawthorne Auto Square’s Guide to Used Electric Cars


Can I Really Save Money?

While EVs cost more than similar gas-powered cars, purchasing a used model can help you save. There is a $7,500 federal tax credit for buying an electric vehicle. Your state, city, or utility company may also offer financial incentives, including those for installing home vehicle chargers.

According to Consumer Reports, you can also spend less on powering, fixing, and maintaining the vehicle. An EV can cost 10% to 40% or more than a traditional car, but you could possibly save from $6,000 to $10,000 on the cost of ownership over the vehicle’s life.


Types of Electric Vehicles

Both new and used electric vehicles aren’t all one and the same. There are a number of acronyms that get tossed around, but the three you need to know include:

  • Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs): Don’t have internal combustion engines and run solely off battery packs. The battery must be recharged for the car to run. When driving, pressing the accelerator causes electricity to flow from the battery to electric motors driving the wheels.


  • Plug-in Hybrids (PHEVs): Include a gasoline engine and electric battery pack. The vehicle first uses battery power; when the electricity is drained, it will automatically switch over to engine power. The battery pack is usually smaller than in a pure EV and doesn’t need to be recharged every day.


  • Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs): There is a gas-powered engine and electric motor(s); the main difference is an HEV cannot be plugged in. The internal combustion engine and regenerative braking charge the battery. This often makes a smaller engine more feasible.


How to Shop for Used EVs

The main considerations when choosing a used electric car include range, which is generally above the 100 miles that the earliest models could achieve. The Tesla Model S has a nearly 400-mile range. If you don’t travel much and plan to use your EV for commuting, a lower range may be suitable. The charge rate is a key trait as well. The faster the rate, the faster the car charges. Larger battery packs generally take longer to charge, which is fine if you regularly charge the EV overnight or during the workday.

Other factors to think of include:

  • Battery Health: Is often measured via on-board diagnostics, which can be done by a used car dealer or mechanic. It’s also possible to estimate remaining battery life (which may reasonably be three-quarters its original range); you can potentially use this to negotiate a price.


  • Battery Warranty: Look for a warranty that protects against deteriorating battery range; most run for eight years or 100,000 miles, but that’s only after the initial purchase. Warranties vary by model year and aren’t always transferable.


  • Maintenance History: Obtain any service records you can. While EVs require much less regular maintenance, the used car in question should have had regular tire rotations, brake service, windshield wiper replacements, etc.

If the car has a relatively high mileage, find out if the original owner replaced the battery. This can save you the time and expense later.


How Do I Charge My EV at Home?

The options for home EV chargers include Level 1 devices, which use standard three-prong outlets. While convenient because no additional equipment is necessary, it takes a long time to charge the vehicle. Level 2 charging requires 240 volts of power and an external device that plugs into a receptacle. It provides more miles of charge per hour. A Level 3, or DC Fast Charger, provides the most range increase per charge hour, but is available only at public charging stations.


How Do I Find a Charging Station?

If you don’t charge your vehicle at home (or every night) or go on a long-distance road trip, you’ll probably use a public charging station. Electric vehicle charging stations are now found throughout the U.S. But you can’t just rely on luck to find one. Fortunately, there are many apps and websites you can use. One is PlugShare, which displays the location of EV charging stations throughout North America.


Shop Used Electric Cars at Hawthorne Auto Square

At our buy here, pay here dealership, we sell many used EV models, including the Ford Focus, Hyundai Kona, and Honda Clarity. We offer a variety of in-house programs to help you afford the vehicle you want and need. To learn more about our inventory, explore financing options, and get pre-approved/approved in minutes, contact us online or call 866-707-7664.