Purchasing Used vs. New: Electric Vehicle Resales
Production issues mean supply is struggling to keep up with demand for electric vehicles. Drivers who want to buy an EV currently face an average wait of eight months to get their hands on a new car, with waiting times of up to two years for more popular models like the Tesla Model S.
If you want to make the switch to electric, you’ll either need to be very patient or consider opting for a used car instead. Although there are added expenses to consider, such as MOTs and servicing, purchasing a second-hand EV could cost less than half the price of a new model– but which EVs offer the most purchase-price savings.
To find out, our car insurance team compared the price of purchasing a selection of EV models brand new, to the average resale price (featuring models from any year), revealing which models offer the most purchase price savings. We also identified which EV models are more expensive to buy second-hand, and share our tips on how to find great deals on used EVs.
EVs with the most purchase price savings: used vs new
1. Nissan Leaf
The Nissan Leaf offers the most savings when purchasing a second-hand model rather than brand new. It costs an average of £32,720 to buy a brand-new version of this electric family car, but only £10,921 if you opt for a second-hand model. That’s an average saving of £21,799 (67%).
This EV also comes with a range of up to 239 miles and a comfortably large interior.
2. Renault Zoe
Named Affordable Electric Car of the Year 2021 by Auto Express, the Renault Zoe is even more affordable when purchased second-hand. A new model costs £30,995 on average, but a used version is £20,544 cheaper with an average price of just £10,452. That’s a 66% difference.
The Renault Zoe comes with a 52kWh battery, which is enough to drive up to 238 miles on a single charge. While not quite as large as the family-friendly Nissan Leaf, this EV is practical and versatile, as well as affordable.
3. Kia Soul
The Kia Soul offers drivers a £17,041 saving if they buy a used version rather than a new one. Its average resale price is £18,905 – almost half the price (47%) of a brand-new model (£35,945).
The 64 kWh battery can power the car up for 280 miles, which is further than the Nissan Leaf or Renault Zoe.
Other EVs featured in the top 10 for biggest second-hand vs. new purchase savings on average include the Jaguar I-Pace, which costs 41% less to buy used; the BMW i3 (40% saved), and the DS3 CROSSBACK (32% saved). The Tesla Model 3 also makes the list, costing £16,444 (30%) less on average second-hand.
One thing drivers should keep in mind when purchasing a second-hand vehicle is that if the vehicle is over three years old, they will be responsible for having the car MOT’d once per year (however the first MOT on a brand-new car isn't due until it's three years old). This is an additional cost to consider when purchasing a used car in comparison to a brand new one.
Which EV models are more expensive to buy second-hand in comparison to brand new?
Buying second-hand will usually save you some money on the purchase price, but this isn’t always the case. 20% of the EV models we researched turned out to be more expensive to buy used than new. This could be down to an unprecedented increase in demand for some makes and models.
The Citroen E-C4 offers the least savings of all, with a second-hand model costing 13% more on average than a brand-new car. The Mercedes-Benz EQS is also more expensive to buy used. Its average resale price of £116,890 is 11% more expensive than its original market price of £105,610.
Many of the more expensive second-hand EVs – such as the Mercedes-Benz EQS and Volkswagen ID.5 are luxury or premium vehicles, which already come with a higher price tag than many other models. These high-end cars tend to be equally, or more expensive to buy second-hand in comparison the brand new, so anyone looking to save money may want to consider a more affordable alternative.
|Car||Price (£)||New and resale difference|
|Rank||Make & Model||Average price of new car||Average resale price||%||£|
Looking to find a great second-hand EV for you, at the best price?
Our motoring experts have put together their top tips.
- Research the model you want to buy. Before looking for deals, you should have an idea of the model you want to buy, or at least the kind of features you’re looking for. A good way to do this is to create a shortlist of models you like, then search for online reviews to narrow your list down.
- Compare deals. Once you’ve decided which model you’d like to buy, spend some time comparing different retailers to find the best available price.
- Check the battery. The cost of replacing an EV’s battery can be very high, so you’ll need to make sure any second-hand vehicle you’re interested in has a fully functioning battery, with no significant wear.
What our expert says...
“EVs are a great way to save money on fuel and reduce your carbon footprint – we found that 54% of motorists are motivated to buy an electric or hybrid vehicle to reduce emissions. The current delays in producing new vehicles shouldn’t discourage drivers from making the switch. A used car will usually cost less than a new one and buying second-hand is also more environmentally friendly.
“Plus, although EVs have historically been more expensive to insure than petrol or diesel cars, EV insurance is gradually becoming more affordable – and therefore more accessible.”
- Julie Daniels, Car insurance expert at Comparethemarket
Seedlist – We used all Electric Cars available on Auto Trader that had more than 10 prices. Certain cars were excluded from the seedlist due to not having enough price information available, or not being available to order currently.
Resale price – The first page (first 10 results) was scraped to calculate the average price; this was based on Auto Trader's top 10 recommended listed cars for each model. All data was scraped on 25th November 2022. For location, we selected 'National'; to ensure that we were not getting prices for any 'brand new' cars, we set the 'Year' filter option to be Max 2022.
New price – We calculated an average price for each car based on the highest and lowest price to purchase new from the car manufacturer’s website. Where applicable, we used the 'On the Road price option'.