EV Resale Values Are a Mystery

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

ev resale values are a mystery

Have you ever thought about the resale value of electric vehicles? I admit I haven't thought about it as much as I probably should have. Apparently, I am not the only one who is a bit clueless about it -- it's a market mystery.

The reason for this is pretty simple -- there's just not enough data yet. This makes sense -- while the share of the market held by EVs is growing, it's still small. As time goes on, of course, more EVs that were new yesterday will be hitting the used-car market, and that will help us gain some information. Outside factors, such as the state of EV infrastructure, also play a part.

Up until recently, the biggest data point was Tesla, since it only sells EVs. But Tesla's, um, unusual behavior as a car company has made things trickier. Teslas were depreciating at only about 4 percent until the company slashed prices on new cars. Perhaps predictably, the price cuts caused the price of used Teslas to drop.

There are other factors at play. Mileage, for example, matters greatly when it comes to internal-combustion engines. It's not clear yet how it affects batteries and electric motors.

Furthermore, more than three-quarters of EV sales last quarter were for cars that are considered luxury vehicles. But more and more affordable EVs are hitting the market as time marches on.

In addition to that, the data we do have from older EVs may not tell us much, thanks to major improvements in technology.

Finally, there's the effect of tax credits.

Experts suggest that new-car buyers looking at an EV ask about how the car, and its battery, will be used so that they can get an idea of what the resale value will be. For example, was it driven a lot in winter weather? How often was it fast-charged? And more.

Knowing those answers will help them get a sense of what the resale value should be.

[Image: Ford]

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4 of 44 comments
  • Wjtinfwb Wjtinfwb 3 days ago

    Too many horror stories out there about exorbitant battery replacement costs at about 100k miles. A 10k battery replacement may be acceptable in a very high-end car, but as EV prices drop, the cost to keep one on the road as the battery expires would be prohibitive. I've got enough dead iPhones, laptops, wireless headphones and other devices that are not worth replacing the battery in so the product itself becomes a throwaway. OK with a $700 phone, not OK with a 50k or more vehicle.

    • See 1 previous
    • Art  Vandelay Art Vandelay 3 days ago

      I know mine has a bolted together battery pack made of comercially available cells. If there were more of them on the road the aftermarket would likely step up. As it is ill probably rebuild it with the same jack stands and pallet jack i'v used on a Leaf's pack. Now you get in to the glued together packs like the Tesla and I don't know.

  • El scotto El scotto 3 days ago

    Because math is hard for too many people. Obviously the drive batteries will be the most expensive item for an EV. Surely there are reports on drive battery life expectancy/costs. List the other perishable items on your EV. Do life expectancy/costs on each item. Feeling all tingly thinking about entering all those items? Go wild and make a database.

    Drive batteries life expectancy/costs should be predictable. Scheduled maintenance items should be the next predictable life expectancy/cost items. Determine the unpredictable next and expect to pay for them at some time.

    Some will pay for a new clothes dryer. Some will buy a new hearing element for their clothes dryer. It's your money, I don't much care how you spend it. Don't try to berate me on how I spend mine.

  • Redapple2 C2 is the best. C3 next. Then C7 (looking at you jimII).
  • Jeff S Vulpine--True the CAFE rules are for ICE.
  • Gray I grew up in the era of Panther and Fox platforms. If only they developed a good looking two door Conti. The four doors became a cult in their own right. And kept the 351W as a top line option.
  • Vulpine ABSOLUTELY YES!!! Bring back the TRUE compact trucks. The demand for them is far higher than the OEMs want to admit.
  • Brn More likely, with Google having troubles, the money tree isn't as ripe as it once was and cutbacks are needed.I hope the overall industry continues to evolve. When I get the the point I can't easily drive, I would still appreciate the independence that autonomous vehicles can bring.