The manufacturers and sellers of electrically powered new cars must have rubbed their hands together after the last car summit: The increased purchase premium, originally planned to run until the end of 2021, was extended by four years. But the new stimulus package has also caused long faces. Namely, among sellers of used electric cars, which include not only dealers but also leasing providers. “Dealers are already having a hard time selling used e-cars. Now the situation is getting worse,” says Martin Weiss, head of DAT vehicle values, according to “Automobilwoche.”
Low price level will become “permanent state”
According to Weiss, the previously planned e-car subsidy would already have led to it taking a long time for the price level of used vehicles to recover. This will now become “a permanent condition,” according to the expert. This is because prospective buyers of electric cars now know that brand-new models will continue to be offered at heavily discounted prices for many years to come. Unlike used e-cars, these offer buyers full warranties, such as on the battery. And unlike most second- and third-hand counterparts, they feature the latest developments in battery and drive technology. What’s more, the more new electric cars are sold, the greater the supply of used cars will be in the foreseeable future. If demand does not grow to the same extent, their pressure will be even greater.
The Renault Zoe is often on the road with a rented battery.
In the slipstream of the growing new car market, the market for used electric cars has also recently been on the upswing. According to the Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA), in 2019 there were 51.9 percent more registrations of ownership of pure electric cars than in the previous year. Nevertheless, prices stagnated, which is also likely to be mainly the result of the iron law of the market, “increasing supply with demand not growing along with it.” While Germany’s largest Internet car exchange Mobile.de listed a total of just under 1.4 million used cars in mid-May 2019, of which not even 6,000 were electric cars, at least a good 18,000 of the total of around 1.48 million cars offered there currently have a purely electric drive.
Even the oldest e-cars are quite young
The fact that there are still hardly any used electric cars available at a discount price is primarily due to the low age of the stock. Apart from more or less obscure conversions or windy cabin scooters, the oldest e-cars at Mobile.de date from 2009, and these are sinfully expensive Tesla Roadsters. A little later came the first electric Fiat 500, the oldest i-MiEV and Co. date from 2011. Nissan Leaf examples can be found from the end of 2011, the Renault Zoe from the beginning of 2013 and the oldest representatives of the BMW i3 and VW e-Up date from the fall of 2013. The first VW e-Golf followed in May 2014.
Generally speaking, there is no need to be too shy about used electric cars. After all, they are just cars. Of course, there are a few basic rules to follow, but that also applies to normal used cars. As long as everything is okay with the battery, the rest is manageable – many things even easier than with a second- or third-hand conventional car. It’s important to do the math anyway: When the lower repair, maintenance and energy costs pay off the usually higher entry-level prices compared with comparable internal-combustion vehicles is likely to be a key factor in the purchase decision.