USA: The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) introduces incentives for those who buy electric vehicles and revises the requirements for the EV tax credit.
For those who cannot afford the high cost of a new electric vehicle, this is a boon. There are certain conditions, the two most important of which are the price of the used EV and the income of the applicant. More specifically, the government offers up to $4,000 for an EV that costs $25,000 or less to people with an annual income of less than $75,000.
Since the program won't go into effect until 2024, it's probably best to start looking for your next used EV now. It goes without saying that prices will go up once the new regulations come into force and more people start buying EVs.
This trend is already accelerating, and a recent study by iSeeCars revealed that even venerable models like the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Bolt experienced significant price increases.
Buying an electric car without doing your research is not advised as what you know may be very different from what you know.
With the recent hike in electricity prices, owning an electric car might not be a good idea if you can't charge it at home. This is due to the rising cost of the public charge.
Battery degradation is one of the most important factors to consider when selecting your future EV from the used car market. That EV batteries degrade but rarely die completely serves as both a warning and an urban legend. The owner experience can be made or broken by the condition of the battery. If it breaks, it will also cost the most to replace.
Having said that, you should know that the used EV market is still developing and most of the vehicles are Chevrolet Bolts and Nissan Leafs. Even when they were young, their range was limited.
This was about 73 miles in the case of the first generation Nissan Leaf (117km). After so many years when driven in cold, it can drop to 50 miles or so.
The Nissan Leaf is notorious for not keeping up with the times, so it's better to avoid buying one unless you can find a really good deal.
Modern electric cars have larger batteries and can go farther on a single charge, but they haven't yet penetrated the used car market.
Hopefully, things will improve in 2024, although it is possible that most people will not be able to afford them. Regardless of the model of vehicle, be sure to check the condition of the battery before making a purchase decision.
Even if you're willing to accept an EV with a bad battery, you should make sure you only buy what you get.
It is also advisable to take a long test drive to see how the battery holds up. Software tricks may show the battery is in good condition when you buy it, but after driving the car for a while, the true limits will become apparent.
Buy a vehicle whose battery is still covered by the manufacturer's warranty, provided the warranty is transferrable to new owners.
Ultimately, buying a used electric car comes with risks just like any other used car. The good news is that electric cars have very few potential failure points.
Because the engine and transmission are not complex, maintenance is much easier and less expensive. If your needs are not particularly demanding, you can manage even with a bad battery.
An EV can still be a good option for city commuting or as a backup vehicle when road trips are impractical due to short distances.