What do you need to know before buying a used electric car?

Battery rental, loss of autonomy, format of charging sockets… Buying a second-hand electric car requires checking some specific points on these vehicles. Not to be fooled, follow the guide!

As with gasoline and diesel cars, buying a used electric car requires studying a few crucial points. Its expensive battery packs most of the problems specific to electric cars. Detailed review.

What autonomy do used electric cars offer?

In the second-hand electric car market, there are both the electric Citroën Saxos, which did not even reach 100 km of range when they were launched, and the almost new Tesla Model S Grande Autonomie, with over 600 km of range. There is therefore something for – almost – every need, depending on budgets of course.

However, it is important to properly assess your needs accurately. A homologated range of 300 km, for example, cannot be achieved in all situations, let alone on the road at 130 km/h. The approval cycles must be taken as indicative elements. They are quite optimistic; especially the old NEDC cycle. Since 2019, the autonomy is indicated according to the WLTP homologation, more severe and taking into account the exact version of the car. The selected options can thus vary the certified autonomy. On average, the WLTP range values ​​are about 20% lower than the old NEDC standard, but still quite bullish. Therefore, it is better to provide a small margin.

In addition, the range of an electric car can decrease over the years. In fact, if they are generally unreliable, batteries tend to lose capacity. This phenomenon is more or less significant depending on the model and depends on many factors, such as fast charging that particularly wears out the batteries.

Some manufacturers may provide a certificate attesting the SoH (health condition, or health status that expresses the capacity of a battery compared to its initial capacity) of the battery. This is the case with Renault and Dacia, which allow individuals to access from their respective apps. La Belle Batterie also specializes in providing battery certificates for most models on the market, while mobile apps allow you to assess the SoH of certain cars by plugging into the OBD-II socket. . We also plan to test these proposals.

Note that while the vast majority of electric cars use lithium-ion batteries, this is not the case for all. For example, the Bolloré Bluecar and Bluesummer, as well as the Citroën e-Mehari, are equipped with lithium metal polymer (LMP) batteries. They have the particularity of requiring them to be kept at a temperature between 60 and 80°C, which requires significant electrical consumption, even when stopped.

In terms of charging, there are still some models that stand out from the rest of the market. While most of them use a Type 2 socket, or CCS for those that support direct current charging, this is not the case for all. Tesla Model S and Model X manufactured before May 1, 2019 must, for example, use an adapter to CCS connect to third-party networks or V3 Superchargers. Some manufacturers have opted for the Japanese CHAdeMO charging standard for direct current charging. This is particularly the case with the Nissan Leaf and this can make finding compatible public terminals difficult.

Is a used electric car battery still for rent?

In France, Renault entered the electric car market with a battery rental offer. This allowed the manufacturer to bring the purchase price of its models closer to that of an equivalent thermal vehicle, eclipsing fears about battery wear. Nissan also offered a similar offer. Today, those battery rental offers have disappeared, but cars purchased under this model continue to require a subscription to their battery if it hasn’t been purchased from the manufacturer since. Therefore, it is important to take this cost into account in your calculations, as it can reach around one hundred euros per month.

What warranty for a used electric car?

The contractual warranty period for an electric car is equivalent to that for a gasoline or diesel car, generally between 2 and 3 years from the date of first registration, with or without a mileage limit. At this level, Kia stands out for guaranteeing all its models for 7 years or 150,000 km.

However, the battery usually benefits from separate treatment, warranted for 8 years or 160,000 km by most manufacturers. These define an SoH below which the battery will be replaced free of charge during the warranty period, usually around 70%. For rental batteries, they are guaranteed “for life”, always for a certain SoH (75% on Renault, with the exception of Kangoo ZE 22 kWh guaranteed for a SoH of 60%).

In addition to the manufacturer’s warranty, which may have expired for a used vehicle, the buyer is covered by the legal guarantee against hidden defects, whether the seller is an individual or professional, and by the legal guarantee of conformity, if the car is purchased from a professional. To this can be added a commercial guarantee from the seller, if it is a professional (independent or from the manufacturer’s network), of variable duration and which may or may not cover the failure of certain elements.

What are the subsidies for buying a used electric car?

Used electric cars are now eligible for a €1,000 eco bonus. It is granted to all buyers, but also compatible with rent for a minimum period of two years. The main eligibility condition is that the vehicle purchased has been registered for the first time for two years or more.

This bonus can be combined with other aids, such as the conversion bonus. This requires having an eligible vehicle to be scrapped. For the purchase of a used electric vehicle at the maximum rate of €60,000, the amount varies between €2,500 and €5,000, depending on the taxable income.

Finally, regional aid can be added to this list. In addition, it is up to the regions to define an exemption from the regional tax. It’s 100% in almost all regions for electric cars and so your gray card is almost free.

Rating: What to Remember

In the end, you should therefore bear in mind that battery wear is the main reliability weakness of an electric car, in addition to the points common to other vehicles, but there are simple ways to know the state of your health. In addition, it is important to take into account the possible rental of batteries, for the models in question. Rest assured, batteries most often benefit from a specific warranty that includes a minimum charge level. Finally, good news, there is an ecological bonus that can be combined with the conversion bonus and regional aid. Moving to a used electric car is therefore no more risky than opting for a used car with an internal combustion engine.

Once these few points have been analyzed, it remains to make a choice between the many models of second-hand electric cars available. A second file will be published soon on our website. We will analyze the offer and give our opinion on the best-selling models on the second-hand market.

Leave a Comment