What happens to electric resale value as longer-range cars become available?
October 24, 2017  Sami Grover

used nissan leaf photo  CC BY 2.0 Sami Grover

My assumption had been that older EVs would soon become obsolete. Now I'm
not so sure...

A few years ago, I purchased a used 2013 Nissan Leaf for just over $10,000
and have been delighted with the car ever since. Of course, $10k for a
3-year-old car with extremely low fueling and maintenance costs is hard to
beat, in pure financial terms.

That said, I had been worried that the price would plummet further as
long(er) range versions come on the market. I'm starting to wonder, however,
if that really is the case. Here's my reasoning:

1) As awareness of electric vehicles (EVs) grows, a larger number of people
are realizing that even older models will meet at least 95% of their daily
driving needs. That's leading to sites like Carmax getting increasingly
proactive in educating would-be drivers about the benefits of various
models. (See their recent useful video and infographic comparing the 2014
BMW i3 to the 2013 Leaf [

2) Charging infrastructure is proliferating, meaning older models are
actually a lot more practical than they were when they were new. True, you
wouldn't want to take a long road trip in them, but for day trips that take
you to the edge of your range, the comfort zone is getting significantly
wider, thanks to both more Level 2 charging stations at various destinations
and a growing number of CHAdeMO fast chargers at locations along highways.

3) Cities and countries worldwide are getting serious about curtailing gas
and diesel car use, leading Torque News to report that recently Nissan Leaf
prices were actually appreciating [
], thanks to a strong export market for lower priced used EVs. Add to that
the fact that fleet owners will likely snap up older models for around-town
use, and we may see a floor on the price of many used models for at least
the next few years.

This view is bolstered by my own anecdotal "research." I keep meeting more
and more people who are seriously considering a used EV for their family's
second car—and that should serve to sustain prices for the next few years.
However, this effect won't last forever. At some point, a metaphorical
"Nokia brick" goes from somewhat valuable to entirely obsolete as newer,
longer-range, more mainstream models (Blackberrys, iPhones) start making
their way onto the used market too. But for now, I'd be as worried about
older model gas depreciation as I would be a 2013 Nissan Leaf.

Indeed, a quick search for a 2013 Nissan Leaf returns some with resale
prices not too dissimilar to when I first bought mine some two years ago.
Let's see how long that lasts.

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