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Should I Buy a Used Electric Car?

Author: Jack Lloyd
Updated: Jan 18, 2024
7 minutes read
  • Used EVs are cheaper than new
  • Reduces your carbon footprint compared to petrol or diesel models
  • An existing warranty could still apply

Are you thinking about purchasing a used electric car? If so, this article is for you. In this guide, we’ll talk about the pros and cons of electric cars, why they have become so popular and how they can help you make a better contribution to the planet whilst enabling you to save money. If you are looking for used electric cars, it makes sense to find out as much as you can before you go ahead and make a purchase.

How Popular Have Electric Cars Become?

Electric cars have been seen on the roads of the UK for many years now, but they have become much more popular over recent times due to their increased profile and falling prices. By October 2021, there were more than 141,000 electric cars in the UK. That was an increase of a huge 86% from the previous year. The popularity of electric cars looks likely to grow even further over the coming years. The rise in sales of first-hand electric cars means there are now many used electric cars available. According to heycar, used electric cars made up 18.5% of all new cars registered in 2021.

Zapmap constantly looks at the cumulative number of EVs over the years. You can see how the popularity of EVs has increased over the years in the interactive graph below.

Why Should I Switch To An Electric Car?

There are many great reasons to switch to an electric car if you are looking for a second-hand vehicle and are interested in electric cars. Research suggests that it can cost almost £600 less to run an electric car than a conventional car that depends on diesel or petrol. There are no tapeline emissions to worry about when you use an electric car, which is great news if you’re worried about your carbon footprint and want to make a better contribution to the world around you.

How Many People Are Buying Used Electric Cars?

Studies suggest that more than half of UK motorists have been thinking about purchasing an electric car. The profile of electric cars has risen dramatically over the past few years, so it’s no surprise that so many drivers in the UK have been considering investing in these vehicles.

What Should I Look For When Assessing Used Electric Cars?

The process of assessing used electric cars is not dissimilar to that of looking closely at a conventional second-hand vehicle. You’ll need to find out about the car’s history and examine the documentation, find out what the mileage is and see how it handles during a test drive. One of the most appealing aspects of assessing used electric cars when you want to buy one is that these vehicles have fewer components than traditional cars, which means fewer things can go wrong.

Why Are More Used Electric Cars Becoming Available?

Many people opt to sell their new cars after one or two years of using them, and the market for electric cars was already growing at considerable speed just a few years ago. This means many cars are now returning to the market as second-hand options. Some of the most prominent manufacturers of used electric cars include Nissan, BMW, Renault and Tesla, and more and more brands are now entering the market to take advantage of EV growth. It’s said that motorists will have much more choice when it comes to used electric cars over the next year or so as more EVs enter the second-hand market.

What Are The Key Advantages of Buying A Used EV?

  • Save money on fuel
  • Eco-friendly
  • Reliable
  • Much cheaper than buying new

There are many great reasons to consider buying used electric cars. One of the most obvious reasons for purchasing used electric cars is that the cost per mile is much lower than that of a conventional vehicle. It tends to cost around 2-3p a mile to run used electric cars. It can cost around 11-13p per mile to run a typical diesel or petrol car. There are also sizeable tax and congestion charge savings to be made when you invest in EVs.

Take a look at our article on how much it costs to run and charge an electric vehicle.

Many people are interested in buying electric cars because they want to make a better contribution to the environment. If you buy a pure electric vehicle, you won’t need to fret about tailpipe emissions. This is one reason why used electric cars are much better for the environment than their traditional counterparts. EVs cause less pollution, which means they can make the planet healthier and the air cleaner.

It's now possible to buy used electric cars for much less than you could a few years ago. You can now buy some used electric cars for around £2,000, although you will need to pay more for one of the more popular vehicles on the market, such as the Nissan Leaf.

Simpler Maintenance

Another great reason to consider buying used electric cars is that they are easier and cheaper to maintain than traditional cars. Used electric cars have fewer moving parts, and you’ll have less wear and tear to worry about. Studies suggest that you could save up to 30% on service and maintenance costs when you switch to used electric cars.

You can also benefit from the warranty that came with a new car even when you’re buying it as a used electric car. Warranties for new EVs tend to last for around eight years, and they do not become void once they have changed owners. If the battery capacity of your used electric car falls below a specific percentage, you should be able to get it replaced or repaired.

Do Used UK Cars Come With Any Tax Benefits?

You won't need to pay any road tax with used electric cars. The announcement that zero emissions vehicles will need to pay road tax appeared in the autumn of 2022, but this will only be from 2025.

Performance, Comfort and Simplicity

Electric car engines emit no noise. This is just one of the many reasons people opt for these vehicles when they want a smoother, more relaxing motoring experience. Driving electric cars is also very simple, as you don’t need to operate a manual gearbox. You will simply need to accelerate and brake. This makes driving electric cars even simpler than operating traditional automatic cars.

Are There Any Downsides To Buying Used Electric Cars?

As with everything in life, there are some cons you’ll need to think about if you want to buy a used electric car. For instance, the batteries in used electric cars do degrade as they age. However, it seems they don’t lose as much capacity as people once suspected. Nonetheless, used electric car batteries do come with long warranties, so you should be able to get them repaired or replaced if you do have any problems after purchase. There are increasing numbers of public EV chargers for used electric cars, so it has become easier to recharge your battery when you are away from home.

You will have to think about charging time when you’re buying an electric car. This means you need to plan ahead when you are to embark on a long journey. You may also need to go to a major dealer if you do need a repair for your electric car. This is because many small, independent garages are still unable to work with them. However, this is likely to change in future as electric cars become more popular. You will also need to think about installing an EV charging point at home as it’s not as practical to rely on public charging points whenever you need to refuel your battery.


It’s no wonder so many people are now investing in electric cars. The costs are falling all the time, and investing in these vehicles enables you to make a fantastic contribution to the world around you, cut your fuel bills and enjoy a smoother driving experience.

Just makes sure you are fully aware of the cons of owning used electric cars as well as the obvious advantages before you go ahead and make a purchase. Used electric cars may not be suitable for your needs if you spend a great deal of time on the motorway embarking on long journeys. However, they may be ideal for your requirements if most of your driving takes place in the form of shorter urban trips.

You could even cut the cost of an EV charging point installation by taking advantage of government incentives. For instance, you can get up to £350 of the cost of such an installation, but you will need to prove you are the owner of an EV before you apply.

In any case, the market for electric cars is growing all the time. The drop in prices is causing millions of drivers to consider investing in a greener vehicle that will serve them well for years to come.

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