Buying the best second hand car can feel like a waiting game, stalling for just the right model to come along. But your options are shifting - new electric models are now increasingly available to widen your scope, equipped with a variety of savings and environmental benefits.
The car market is rapidly changing and used electric cars are helping more drivers to make the transition to a greener, zero emission vehicle. You’ll just need to be familiar with some key considerations to make sure you purchase the right electric car for your needs.
For example, there are still a variety of questions surrounding electric cars – how much do they cost? Which is the best electric car? Am I ready to make the leap to a fully or part electric car?
Here we share our Best Used Electric Car Guide, answering a variety of your questions, as well as providing top tips for when you’re looking for a used electric vehicle (EV).
The Used Electric Car Guide
Is an electric car right for you?
As more manufacturers enter the ring with the latest offering in electric cars and ever improving capabilities including range and charge time – the appeal to go part or fully plug-in is on the rise.
Yet, despite government electric car grants, the increased cost of a brand new electric car can often outweigh the savings to be made on fuel and tax. But buying a used electric car for half the price of a new model has its obvious benefits! Thanks to the ‘early adopter’ phase of drivers now progressing, a range of used electric cars are now available, making the transition an appealing option for many.
Are you ready to plug-in?
Range-anxiety can be a common thing for many new electric drivers, in particular when considering smaller range electric engines. This is where the hybrid (which is supplemented with a petrol engine), capable of self-charging on the move when necessary, is a more comfortable option for many. But with a range of electric vehicles arriving this year, boasting over 200mile range capabilities, the second hand EV market is only a short-stop behind.
Being clued up on the necessary steps to charging is clearly the key consideration to prepare for when buying a used electric car. Making sure you are able to charge your electric engine with a suitable source at home, work, or using public charge points, is essential to make your future car journeys a breeze.
Is the UK set up for your electric car?
Reassuringly, the UK is leading the way for the adoption of electric motoring, with new government plans outlining that new homes and street lighting will have to incorporate EV chargers. Forming part of the UK’s Department for Transport’s ‘Road to Zero’ plan, building regulation will be overhauled to ensure all new flats and offices come with external charging points for EVs by 2040.
Furthermore, new chargers could be installed either directly on street junction boxes or on dedicated poles supported by Virgin Media along the streets, according to Auto Express. With the aim of future proofing our streets, ensuring all street light columns have charging points with on-street parking will make driving your electric car from A to B (as well as C and D!) as easy as stopping off for petrol or diesel.
As a result of a growing demand for EVs in the UK, further investment into the industry has allowed for improvements in innovation around common sticking points on electric cars, like charging points. Innovations around electric car charging spans from new ports, quicker charges, longer charges to wireless charging being introduced by manufacturers like BMW.
If you're likely to use public charge points, then it's important to check your car will be compatible with rapid chargers, which can top up a battery to 80% of its capacity in as little as 35 minutes in some cases. Using apps such as Zap-Map can also assist electric car users to find more than 10,000 UK charging points across the UK, by using the route planner to plan longer electric journeys with ease.
For more information on capabilities, read our full Guide to Electric Charging Points.
Can I charge my EV at home?
There is also the practical option to install your own charger at home for an over-night boost. Whilst you can use a standard three-pin socket, a purpose built fast-charging point is much quicker and much more convenient. This may be worth the upfront investment in order to future proof your home and car lifestyle choices.
Depending on your model of electric car eligibility, the government’s Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS), provides grant funding of up to 75% towards the cost of installing electric vehicle charge points at domestic properties across the UK.
Click here to see a list of eligible cars for the EVHS.
Second Hand EVs: What to look for?
The biggest concern with all electric cars, but particularly used electric cars, is the quality of the battery and how well they keep their charge.
In actual fact, electric vehicle batteries are proving very durable and with manufacturer warranties covering batteries for up to eight years on many models, used electric cars are still a reliable option.
For example, BMW’s i range battery warranty lasts for a maximum of eight years or 100,000 miles and comes with the same 70% capacity guarantee. While Tesla’s eight year, unlimited mileage warranty seems ideal, that doesn’t include any battery capacity guarantee – so bear in mind the finer details of battery guarantees on original models.
However, if the used battery is no longer at full capacity and drains quicker than it should, there is also the options of a battery lease to avoid the hefty price of buying a new battery outright. There will then be an additional battery hire cost to allow for.
The Best Used Electric Vehicles
Which are the best used electric vehicles and most importantly, how much do they cost?
With the demand for used EVs on the rise, the value of electric cars is starting to increase – so now’s the time to get a great value used electric car.
We’ve rounded up Five of the Best Used Electric Cars and hybrids on the market.
|Audi Q7 e-tron
BMW i3 – Fully EV
Experience the uncompromising sustainability of an electric vehicle that drives like a BMW with the fully electric i3 model.
The i3 was BMW’s first mass-production zero emission EV and was described by BMW as nothing less than an electric powertrain. Using an underfloor Li-ion battery pack and rear wheel drive, the light carbon body of the i3 is agile to drive.
When buying a used BMW i3, look out for the optional range extender feature - a petrol motor that can recharge the batteries while on the move, and can stop the battery running flat.
BMW’s i3 may be abundant in style, but is also a compact four seater EV and it’s great for nipping around cities and small roads.
Toyota Yaris – Hybrid
Toyota are well known for their green contribution to the market, with the Prius and the smaller Yaris model offering hybrid efficiency.
With a lot of innovation and great spec as standard in a Yaris, as well as being spacious and practical, it makes a great contender for the best family efficient used electric car out there.
With a variety of specification choices, labelled Active, Icon, Icon Tech, Design, Bi-tone and Excel, as well as numerous styling packs, you can expect to find a plenty of variations when looking for a used model.
VW e-Golf – Electric
In 2017, VW introduced a substantially developed version of the electric Golf model with an improved of 144 miles and charging times increased to 80% capacity in 45 minutes when using a 45kWh rapid charger.
The sustainable e-Golf boasts the iconic hatchback design but with an innovative and efficient battery engine. There are also the modern e-Golf styling details, including the blue e-Design accents and a blue-backed Volkswagen logo both front and rear.
Volkswagen don’t stop there – the e-Golf’s LED technology headlights use a low rate of consumption, while 16-inch Tilleve alloy spec wheels aerodynamically reduce motion resistance and power.
Jaguar I-PACE - Electric
Jaguar’s all electric I-PACE is a highly desirable option, made more attainable to drivers as used and nearly new models enter the market.
Sleek in design, with incredible performance, the electric range reaches 200 miles on a single charge, meaning pit-stops will be a rare necessity if you choose to plug-in at home.
With everything you would expect from a world class brand, this electric SUV is capable of 0-60mph in 4.5 seconds, and is even capable automatically lowering the car by 10mm when travelling at speeds in excess of 65mph thanks to an added electronic air suspension technology feature.
Audi Q7 e-tron - Hybrid
E-Tron has an official average fuel output of 156.9mpg and CO2 emissions of just 48g/km – which will come in handy in light of the car tax updates.
The fast and immediate electric engine delivers immediate acceleration, while the standard fit Quattro tyres give great handling and traction, ensuring none of the power is wasted.
Finally, it’s repeatedly classed as one of the best rides for comfort and luxury, especially with the added air suspension feature, for a smooth ride.
Browse an up to date list of all fully and part electric cars available right now and we can help you find the best used EV for you.