Going to the supermarket with an empty stomach is never a good idea, the same principle applies when searching for an electric car to buy, let me explain why…
If you’re EV hungry and really want to start driving an electric car more than anything else, in most occasions you would do better if you satiate your EV hunger with an used and cheap electric car, while waiting for the “perfect” electric car to be available. Otherwise you might buy an overpriced electric car and then regret it when better and cheaper alternatives start to appear.
In 2020, because of tougher vehicle emission standards, electric cars will start to become mainstream. They’ll be cheaper and have less compromises (better range and charging time).
Imagine a Renault Zoe or a Nissan Micra EV with a realistic 400 km range, 60 kWh battery and 150 kW DC fast charging available in 2020 for less than 20.000 €, it would be nice, wouldn’t it? A car like this would be almost “perfect” for most of us. However, since we live in the present, it’s much more comfortable to wait for our “perfect” electric car if we’re already satiated driving one EV, even if it’s far from “perfect”.
In my opinion a good used electric car to get while waiting for the “perfect” one, should fulfill some important requirements:
- Best value for the money
This is essential to prevent buyer’s remorse.
You don’t want to have any problems during the wait, especially with the battery.
- Useful as a second car when your “perfect” car arrives
Two different sized cars in the same household can complement each other very well.
Since electric car’s availability differs from country to country, I’ll make my recommendations for two different regions.
North America (Canada, USA and Mexico)
I can’t think of a better used electric car to get now than a Fiat 500e. Let’s see why.
- Super cheap
- Very useful 6,6 kW internal charger
- Solid 24 kWh liquid heated and cooled battery made with NMC Samsung SDI cells
- Small and perfect for city driving, great as a second car
- Fun to drive with a very responsive motor
- Cute and iconic look, can become an electric classic car
Here are some examples of what you can find on Fiat 500e.
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You might also want to check AutoTrader before deciding to buy.
The Fiat 500e is definitely the electric car I would get if I was living anywhere near Oregon and California. For safety and battery durability reasons I would try to get one in white, but wouldn’t mind to have one in orange, it looks super cool.
In Europe I haven’t so many certainties in which used electric car to recommend. While the triplets (Mitsubishi i-MiEV, Peugeot iOn and Citroen C-Zero) were the obvious choice years ago, today I wouldn’t recommend them, especially because they were almost forgotten by their makers and if you need a battery replacement you’ll have a very bad surprise. They cost almost as much as a new car.
If you want ease of mind and affordable price, an used Renault Zoe R240 is hard to beat. Even better choice is the Renault Zoe R90 with the new ZE 40 battery – if you can wait a little longer until used units start to appear on sale.
I don’t recommend the Renault Zoe Q210 nor the Renault Zoe Q90 since the charging system is less reliable and efficient. Another reason is that the 43 kW fast charging is mostly a marketing figure, since you hardly get more than 30 kW charge rate for most of the time – not much better than the 22 kW available in the more reliable, cheaper and efficient R240 and R90 versions. Equipment wise the middle Intens trim level offers the best value for the money.
The battery leasing is an annoyance but it makes this electric car more affordable to buy and future proof by simplifying the battery’s upgrade process.
You can find an used Renault Zoe on autoscout24 at great prices. If you live in the UK, you might get a better deal at AutoTrader or eBay, see some examples below.
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How about you? Which used electric cars would you recommend for someone to get while waiting for the “perfect” one?