buying or selling a second-hand electric car
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Guide to buying or selling a second-hand electric car

The main obstacle to buying an electric car is the price. In recent years, an increasing number of electric vehicle models have entered the second-hand market. But is it worth it? Is a second-hand battery reliable? We will tell you everything you need to know before buying (or selling) a second-hand electric car.


Where can I buy or sell a second-hand electric car?

As with internal combustion engine cars, second-hand electric vehicles can be bought from garages and car dealers. You can also access an online catalogue on well-known sites such as Gumtree. The specialist news website The Car Expert also hosts offers for second-hand electric vehicles.

How much does a second-hand electric vehicle cost?

cost second-hand electric cars

The price of a second-hand electric car can start at €5,000 for the oldest models (1st generation Renault Zoé, Peugeot iOn, Citroën C-Zero). For a more powerful vehicle, you’re looking at a minimum budget of €20,000.

The important thing to remember is that an electric vehicle does not depreciate in the same way as an internal combustion engine vehicle. The very skeleton of an electric car is much simpler. Fewer mechanical parts mean less wear and tear and less maintenance.

For second-hand electric vehicles, it’s the condition of the battery that determines the resale price. We’ll come back to this later.

Things to check before buying a second-hand electric vehicle

checklist before buying a used electric car

Getting a good deal is all very well, but ending up with an electric car that doesn’t really meet your needs is not all that useful. Compromises may be unavoidable, depending on your budget. But there are still some key factors to look at closely before your purchase.

Age and type of battery

First and foremost, you need to look at the year the vehicle was put on the road, as well as the type of battery. On the whole, it’s best to steer clear of electric vehicles released before 2010, to avoid having to carry out extensive maintenance and repairs.

Similarly, avoid electric vehicles with lead and NiCd batteries. Instead, opt for lithium-ion batteries, which have proven their robustness.

Internal chargers

To make charging easier, opt for models fitted with standard chargers. For example, avoid buying an electric car with a Chademo charger, which has become virtually obsolete. The CCS Combo charger has become the European standard for rapid charging (DC). For AC charging, the Type 2 charger has outmatched the Type 1.

Depending on your needs, the second-hand vehicle’s charging characteristics will be decisive in making your choice. For example, if you regularly go on long journeys, the DC charging power (fast charging stations) will have to be in a good enough condition.


If you’re interested in a second-hand electric car, make sure you do your research by consulting vehicle tests, forums and articles to gather feedback. They can be a great help in making your choice.

Focus on the condition of the battery in a second-hand electric car

ev battery state of health

As mentioned earlier, the battery represents the main value of an electric vehicle. So it’s the No. 1 criterion to check when you enter the second-hand market.

Lifespan of lithium-ion batteries

A lithium-ion battery can last between 15 and 20 years, depending on the manufacturer, as long as you take care of it properly. Thus, the electric vehicles that have recently entered the second-hand market should have many more years to go with their new owners. As explained in our article on replacing the battery in an electric car, manufacturers’ warranties provide fairly good protection against premature battery wear. So battery replacement is a very rare event.

Understanding the real health of an electric car battery

The range advertised on the dashboard of a second-hand electric vehicle is not necessarily reliable. The same potentially applies to the range advertised on a second-hand electric car advert.

The most reliable indicator for measuring the state of the battery is the SoH (State of Health), expressed as a percentage. This is a sort of inventory of the battery’s capacity compared with its initial state. To obtain it, you need a professional diagnosis (for a fee). Well-known companies such as Norauto and Dekra offer this service. Less well known is the Moba solution (formerly known as La Belle Batterie), which offers a more connected service via a mobile app and a box that you plug into the vehicle’s OBD socket yourself.

Battery health is a key factor in reassuring potential buyers. In the same way as the pre-sale roadworthiness test, a battery test may well become compulsory on the second-hand electric car market. In any case, don’t hesitate to ask for one if you have the slightest doubt.

Advice for (future) private sellers

tips for second-hand ev sellers

If you own an electric vehicle, it’s likely that one day you’ll be thinking of selling it. Or perhaps you already have. Here’s our advice on how to make the transaction smooth and hassle-free.

Test your battery

As well as carrying out an MOT test less than 6 months before the sale, we can only recommend that you carry out a battery test. MOT test stations are neither properly trained nor properly equipped to carry it out yet. But the test isn’t expensive (€49 at Moba) and it is a real guarantee of transparency towards your potential buyers.

Set the right price

Following on from the previous tip, the resale price will largely depend on the result of the battery test. As the second-hand electric vehicle market is still in its infancy and not all that regulated, it is difficult to set a price based on specific factors. First of all, rely on the purchase price and the resale prices that you can see on the various platforms.

Preserve your battery

Finally, this advice is for those who want to sell their current electric car model, one day. To lose as little money as possible, taking care of your battery is essential. See the 6 mistakes to avoid to keep your battery healthy.

We hope this short guide will help you in the process of buying or selling a second-hand electric car. And what about you, do you have any tips to share with future buyers? 🚙

Simplify your electric car journeys and avoid nasty surprises at charging stations with the Chargemap app.

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26 February 2024 13 h 07 min

The state of health only indicates the state of the battery cells of the pack, not the available battery capacity which is what determines the actual current range of the second-hand EV you want to purchase.

Without any diagnostic tool, the best ways to determine the current battery capacity are to:

  • either extrapolate data from a recent trip to 100% State of Charge (SoC): A miles driven, B miles/kWh efficiency, C% battery used. Battery capacity = (A/B) x (1/C)
  • or extrapolate charging data from a recent 10% to 80%, 90%, or 100% SoC DC rapid charging session (which have very low 0.5%-5% or no losses): C% battery used, D kWh energy paid for. Battery capacity = D/C . If you get a value higher than the official rated capacity, it means that you have almost a full capacity available and that you had a few losses during the charging. If you get a value that is lower than the official rated capacity, then there were no losses and this is your current battery capacity.

The first method is generally a bit pessimistic, while the second one is a bit more optimistic. The true value is therefore generally in between. The acid test is to plan a trip with the ABRP app (A Better Route Planner), enter the current calculated battery capacity, the known driving efficiency of the car and see if when driving you match ABRP’s predictions after each leg of the trip in terms of SoC upon arrival.

Hope this helps.

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