Used Electric Cars: Is It Worth Buying One?

15th Nov 2023

By Ellie Brown

Used Electric Vehicles

The electric vehicle revolution is well underway, and the choices available to drivers are only growing with every year that passes.

Electric vehicles are a different beast compared to the traditional ICE (internal combustion engine) powered car, so there are different considerations that need taking into account when buying a used EV.

Low tax, cheap running costs, and great reliability are just a few reasons why electric vehicles are so popular, but with so many things to consider, is it worth turning your hand to the used car market?

Below is a list of what you should bear in mind when looking for a used EV.


When does an EV make sense?

Kira Niro Exterior

When thinking about switching from an ICE powered car to an EV, usually, the first thing that comes to most people’s minds is that electric vehicles can’t match the range combustion powered cars can do in a single charge.

Even though this is true, we’ve witnessed great improvement within the EV industry when it comes to range and performance. But as we all know, many opt for the EV car because it's much cheaper to run on a daily basis.

To find out if an electric fits your lifestyle, you need to consider roughly how many miles you'll be doing each week. An electric car might not be the best choice if you're doing 25,000 miles a year up and down Britain's motorways.

However, if you're someone who only drives 40 to 80 miles a day, then any of the electric cars available on the used car market will do the job more than well.

This consideration needs taking into account when you buy the car, as some cars offer larger batteries and therefore a greater range, so make sure to pick carefully.

How to find charging stations for electric vehicles?

Vauxhall Mokka Charging

This is probably the most off-putting part for prospective EV buyers, regardless of whether it's a new or older model. You need to consider when and where you'll charge your car, as there's no guarantee a public charging station will be compatible with your selected vehicle, which might be an issue if you don't have a home charging point.

The process of charging an electric vehicle may seem like a complicated ordeal initially, but it's quite simple.

The standard at-home charging cable plugs into the mains and will charge your car from depleted to full over the course of 6 to 12 hours, which is ideal for overnight charging.

You could get a rapid charger installed at home, which will result in an extra cost to you. However, this will charge your car (dependent on battery size) to approximately 80 percent charge in around 30 to 60 minutes.

Sales of electric vehicles have nearly doubled in the UK in the last few years, which means that there are more and more public charging points available throughout out the country, as a lot of commercial establishments are trying to supply the rising demand.

Even though keeping your EV charged could be perceived as a challenge if you don’t have a charger at home, if you’re planning on using a public charger, there's a website called Zapmap that lists every charging station around the country and provides their location. Such tool will facilitate your daily activities and will help you find the nearest charging points to you.

Are batteries in electric cars under car warranty?

Nissan Leaf Charging

This is an issue that affects both new and used electric car buyers, but there's definitely an emphasis placed on used cars.

Like all cars, an electric vehicle will suffer from wear and tear eventually. However, if the battery health on an electric car starts to decline, a repair bill could cost into the thousands in some cases.

Typically, with most EVs, you lease the battery in the car and get a separate warranty for it. When looking for a used electric car, it may be worth checking that they still have a valid warranty on them, as most are covered for five to eight years.

Fear not, if the battery is out of warranty, then cars such as the Nissan LEAF allow you to lease the battery in the car at a lower price, which covers any possible financial mishap.

What is the depreciation on electric cars?

Nissan Leaf

This is a bit of a mixed bag at the moment, because fully electric vehicles haven't been around for too long in the grand scheme of things.

Always check the service history of the EV, just like you would with any other car. Although its powertrain may not be the same as an ICE powered car, making sure it's been well looked after is still just as important.

EVs use friction from braking to generate charge, so their brakes can go through some wear and tear. Always check the brakes for even wear and any abnormal sounds before you decide to buy.

There's also been the small issue of warranty, as mentioned above, with the replacement battery in a Nissan Leaf costing around £5,000. A lot of cars on the used market struggled, as few wanted to face that bill in the future.

However, residuals are starting to stabilise in the used car market because of the better offers and guarantees on batteries and the increasing number of charging stations popping up throughout Britain.

What kind of maintenance do electric vehicles require?

Renault Zoe Exterior Front

Although there's a smaller number of moving parts in an EV compared to an ICE car, there's still a level of maintenance required to get the maximum life expectancy out of the battery, especially an older one that has a fair few miles behind it.

There are rapid chargers in the country that will fast-charge your battery up to 80 percent within an hour. However, if you don't regularly let the battery fully charge and deplete, then this will result in 'memory effect', where the battery learns to operate within those parameters, affecting its life.

It's important that you plan ahead when it comes to leaving the car for extended periods of time. Completely depleting the battery and leaving it will result in a dead battery or poor performance.

Find your perfect used electric vehicle with Evans Halshaw

Electric cars are becoming increasingly more popular, and rightly so - they're affordable, quiet, and environmentally friendly.

Once you've decided to go electric, you'll be faced with the decision of which car to buy. Our no-nonsense list of the top 10 best used electric cars gets straight to the point in highlighting the best used cars on the market.

At Evans Halshaw, we partner with many of the world's leading car manufacturers that offer some of the best EVs around. To find your perfect electric car, start your used car search today.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the range of an electric car vs petrol car?

The average petrol car can travel between 200 and 400 miles in a full tank. An electric vehicle's range can vary from 150 to 300 miles in a single range.

Is it more expensive to charge an electric car?

Historically, charging an electric vehicle has been cheaper than filling the tank in a petrol car. This is something to take into consideration because an EV will be cheaper to run than a combustion engine car.

How to find charging stations in UK?

The sales of electric vehicles have nearly doubled in recent years. This means that a lot of commercial establishments are trying to keep up with the demand and installing EV's chargers in their car parks. You can find charging stations in a lot of grocery stores around the country, but you can use the zipmap app to find the nearest station to you.