Why Not Buy a Used Electric Car?

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This Photo Picked with Mark Mushakian in Mind

The first electric car I got to drive was the 2011 Nissan LEAF. I was an early adopter and it’s hard to believe that was around 6 years ago. I reserved one for $100, but I wasn’t sure I’d be able to convince my mom to help me get it. $100 didn’t seem like a risk and I could get the money back anytime I wanted. Well, we ended up getting it, and I drove that car a lot! I let mom drive it sometimes since at the time gas was expensive and she had a Honda CR-V.

Now I’m driving a 2014 Ford Focus Electric car. While I like the Ford, I’m likely to go back to a LEAF for my next car. In fact, I listed the car on swapalese.com to see if someone wants to take it off my hands. It’s mainly an effort to save money, and I rarely drive these days but also, I miss driving the LEAF.

The Ford Focus EV is a fun car to drive, and its great on the freeway with all the extra power you get versus other electric cars, but Ford put the battery in the trunk. That means you lose a lot of storage space. Nissan puts their battery under the seats. It’s a better design, but in Ford’s defense, the Focus wasn’t originally designed to be an electric vehicle (EV).

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My 2014 Ford Focus Electric

Now that electric cars have been on the road for about 5 years, their popularity is steadily increasing. While gas prices have come down, electricity is still far cheaper, especially in California. If you’re in the market for a new car, you might want to consider a used Nissan LEAF or other EV. I’ve seen several LEAFs on Carmax for around $10,000. Used EVs from other automakers are also pretty low-cost right now. However, used Teslas are still pretty expensive, guess I won’t be getting one any time soon. 😉

I’m excited that there’s going to be a more affordable Tesla coming out next year. I won’t be reserving one, since I’m planning on taking mom’s 2013 LEAF when the lease is up. Still, someday I’d like to support Tesla, because the company is thinking outside of the box. After all, buying a Tesla is not like buying a regular car. No haggling, no pressure, just like buying anything else.

Buying a used EV is a little risky since no one knows quite what to expect. EVs technically are more reliable than gasoline cars because there are fewer parts that can break down and electric motors last a long time. The most expensive part is the battery, but prices on batteries are likely to reduce over time. It’s all about mass-production. However, if you need a second car for driving to work or around town on errands, a used EV might be perfect for you.

$10,000 is not bad for a used car and with a sizeable down payment, financing one is easy. Even if the battery needs to replaced at some point, that should be after several years. Then, in the case of the Nissan LEAF, it’s only about $6,500 for the new battery assuming the price stays the same. Who knows, it might be possible to buy a batter with better range too. With an EV, there’s a nice savings on maintenance and fuels costs, plus there’s no need to visit the gas station.

Even if it’s going to be your only car, EVs can still fit the need for most drivers. And with the next generation of cars likely to have a range of around 200 miles per charge, more and more people might make the switch. After all, if all you care about is having something reliable for every day driving, electric cars just make sense.

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