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Tips for Buying a Pre-Owned EV

Autotrader has this advice to help you find the right electric vehicle.

Electric vehicles have come a long way since December 2010 when the Nissan Leaf was first introduced on California’s roads. Today, consumers have more model choices and longer driving ranges.

One thing hasn’t changed, though; car buyers still want to save money. With many EV leases expiring, buying a pre-owned EV can be a good way to save.

To find out what customers should know before buying a pre-owned EV, we talked with Brian Moody, Autotrader’s executive editor. Moody recommends drivers keep a few key things in mind when looking to make the switch to a pre-owned EV.

EV drivers who are customers of SCE, including those who purchase a pre-owned car, can also receive a $1,000 Clean Fuel Reward rebate.
EV drivers who are customers of SCE, including those who purchase a pre-owned car, can also receive a $1,000 Clean Fuel Reward rebate.

Do your research

If you are considering a specific make and model, look at online forums and owners’ clubs dedicated to that car. They are a great source of information. Current car owners freely share both positive and negative feedback on the car. This can help you be aware of specific things you should have your mechanic look at when they inspect the car you are considering purchasing.

Learn about the warranty

EV warranties differ somewhat from their gasoline counterparts. Plug-in hybrids and all-electric cars typically have a longer warranty period for the electric drive components, like the drivetrain and battery pack. For most manufacturers, the warranties span roughly eight to 10 years. This should give pre-owned drivers some piece of mind when it comes to the need for major repairs.

Conduct a test drive

Make sure you test drive the car before making your decision. EVs provide a different driving experience than their gasoline counterparts. They are quieter, responsive and accelerate quickly. Don’t test drive a gasoline-powered car that’s the same make and model and just assume they’re exactly alike.

Consider your driving habits

Drivers should take into consideration their driving habits when determining which pre-owned EV is right for them. If you mainly drive close to home, a car with a lower battery range may meet your needs just fine and it will cost less than a car with an extended-range battery.

Additionally, as with any pre-owned, car-buying decision, car buyers should set a budget, check the vehicle history report, have their mechanic inspect the car before purchasing and factor in total cost of ownership. Fuel and maintenance costs for EVs are typically less. For instance, charging an electric car at home is equal to paying less than $2 per gallon of gasoline.

In addition to total cost of ownership benefits, Moody noted that EV drivers usually receive preferential parking since charging stations are typically located closer to stores and other locations where drivers park most often. And, contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to have a special charger at home to charge your EV. Most EVs come with a Level 1 charger that can plug into a standard 120-volt residential outlet. To take advantage of this charger, be sure it is included as part of your purchase.

Southern California Edison EV drivers, including those who purchase a pre-owned car, can also receive a $1,000
Clean Fuel Reward rebate. The rebate is good for both all-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, and second and third EV owners are eligible to apply.

Drivers who go electric help reduce greenhouse gases, a leading driver of climate change, and contribute to healthier, cleaner air for all Southern Californians. Since transportation contributes to almost half of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions,
replacing fossil fueled cars with electric cars is critical to meeting California’s clean energy and carbon neutrality goals.