Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

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VLADIN01
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by VLADIN01 » Tue Feb 11, 2020 8:07 pm

2019 EGolf owner here, not sure what your exact budget is and what state you live in, but a new EGolf is actually quite a reasonable purchase. Will get you 125+ mile range in ideal conditions. Cold weather with heat on, probably knocks you down to 100 miles. I live in a semi-cold weather state and have taken it as a personal challenge to not use the heat.

With factory incentives, state rebate, and federal rebate I paid about $16k for a brand new VW EGolf SE. Which I suspect may not be too much of a premium to pay compared to the cost of a 6 year old Leaf.

I have owned it for 4 months, put on about 2,500 miles and absolutely love it.

Is it fun to drive? Not really.

Is it a sleek looking Tesla? No, it looks like a Golf, personally I find the fact it looks like a regular car appealing.

Does it get me to and from work for less than an ICE? Absolutely.

Full disclosure, my wife has an ICE vehicle that we use for long trips so that EGolf fills my commuting needs. Future purchase will be a long range EV for my wife. Even though the VW EGolf is not class leading in range, acceleration, or technology, I am hooked on EVs now. I can't see myself driving an ICE ever again.

acco
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by acco » Tue Feb 11, 2020 8:19 pm

Just to throw out another option since it hasn't been mentioned: Chevy Spark EV. Similar battery technology to the volt (not a bad thing), and often lower priced used. Roughly 80 mile range.

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angelescrest
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by angelescrest » Tue Feb 11, 2020 9:37 pm

VLADIN01 wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 8:07 pm
2019 EGolf owner here, not sure what your exact budget is and what state you live in, but a new EGolf is actually quite a reasonable purchase. Will get you 125+ mile range in ideal conditions. Cold weather with heat on, probably knocks you down to 100 miles. I live in a semi-cold weather state and have taken it as a personal challenge to not use the heat.

With factory incentives, state rebate, and federal rebate I paid about $16k for a brand new VW EGolf SE. Which I suspect may not be too much of a premium to pay compared to the cost of a 6 year old Leaf.

I have owned it for 4 months, put on about 2,500 miles and absolutely love it.

Is it fun to drive? Not really.

Is it a sleek looking Tesla? No, it looks like a Golf, personally I find the fact it looks like a regular car appealing.

Does it get me to and from work for less than an ICE? Absolutely.

Full disclosure, my wife has an ICE vehicle that we use for long trips so that EGolf fills my commuting needs. Future purchase will be a long range EV for my wife. Even though the VW EGolf is not class leading in range, acceleration, or technology, I am hooked on EVs now. I can't see myself driving an ICE ever again.
Thanks, great to hear from a Golf owner. Can you tell me more about how the $16k worked out?

Monsterflockster
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by Monsterflockster » Tue Feb 11, 2020 10:40 pm

angelescrest wrote:
Mon Feb 10, 2020 11:28 pm
Monsterflockster wrote:
Mon Feb 10, 2020 11:04 pm
Buy a used S with free supercharging. You won’t be disappointed.
I'll assume you didn't read what I wrote.
I read the whole thing and I’m trying to keep you from making a mistake. My Dad did what you are thinking of doing... he first bought a bolt, sold it within a year and bought a Tesla. My advice: Spend a bit more and get the used Tesla S. As I said before you won’t be disappointed... such a better ride!

MathWizard
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by MathWizard » Tue Feb 11, 2020 10:55 pm

CarMax has older Chevy Volts for about $11K with around 60K miles.

The Volt is an EV with a generator for longer trips. I believe the EV range was supposed to be about 40 miles.

jaybee9
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by jaybee9 » Tue Feb 11, 2020 11:10 pm

I know someone who ended up purchasing two used BMW i3's for the same reason you noted that even after just being several years old with not a ton of miles there was significant depreciation. I took a serious look at picking one up but a couple things caused me to look elsewhere. First, he lives in So Cal and I live in a cold climate and that could be enough of an issue with range on some days for me. Second, I didn't like how there were all sorts of tire gotchas. Some models have different tires front and rear and then it was also recommended to have winter tires for better/acceptable traction. The i3 also really chews through tires from what I read. I didn't want to deal with all those hidden tire expenses. (It is my impression that this other EVs can have similar tire situation.) I ended up buying a used Toyota Camry hybrid and have enjoyed it thus far.

JonnyB
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by JonnyB » Tue Feb 11, 2020 11:14 pm

"Let them drive a Tesla S" :Marie Antoinette

VLADIN01
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by VLADIN01 » Wed Feb 12, 2020 5:58 am

[/quote]
Thanks, great to hear from a Golf owner. Can you tell me more about how the $16k worked out?
[/quote]


The SE is roughly $34k base price, back in October VW was giving around $6k in incentives, plus negotiated another $4k off. Tax, tags, and title I was out the door around $25.5k. My state (PA) gives a $1,500 rebate and then Federal govt gives a $7,500 tax credit. So all in I own it for $16.5ish.

Depends what state you are in you can get a bigger state credit (or no credit) or sometimes Electric suppliers will also give you a rebate. I have seen some folks with new golfs for $12k with all the incentives and rebates.

If you do go used, my state (PA) also offers a Tax rebate for buying low mileage used EVs, might want to check out your state.

Not sure if VW is giving out as much money on the EGolfs anymore though.

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angelescrest
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by angelescrest » Wed Feb 12, 2020 9:26 am

Monsterflockster wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 10:40 pm
angelescrest wrote:
Mon Feb 10, 2020 11:28 pm
Monsterflockster wrote:
Mon Feb 10, 2020 11:04 pm
Buy a used S with free supercharging. You won’t be disappointed.
I'll assume you didn't read what I wrote.
I read the whole thing and I’m trying to keep you from making a mistake. My Dad did what you are thinking of doing... he first bought a bolt, sold it within a year and bought a Tesla. My advice: Spend a bit more and get the used Tesla S. As I said before you won’t be disappointed... such a better ride!
“a bit more” - I’m a big Tesla fan, but let’s be reasonable. No one doubts it would be a much better car for another $40,000+. That’s not up for discussion. We are not in the market for a luxury vehicle.

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angelescrest
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by angelescrest » Wed Feb 12, 2020 10:12 am

VLADIN01 wrote:
Wed Feb 12, 2020 5:58 am
The SE is roughly $34k base price, back in October VW was giving around $6k in incentives, plus negotiated another $4k off. Tax, tags, and title I was out the door around $25.5k. My state (PA) gives a $1,500 rebate and then Federal govt gives a $7,500 tax credit. So all in I own it for $16.5ish.

Depends what state you are in you can get a bigger state credit (or no credit) or sometimes Electric suppliers will also give you a rebate. I have seen some folks with new golfs for $12k with all the incentives and rebates.

If you do go used, my state (PA) also offers a Tax rebate for buying low mileage used EVs, might want to check out your state.

Not sure if VW is giving out as much money on the EGolfs anymore though.
Thanks for the figures. $16.5k is a great deal for any new car, much less an EV. Does it drive comparable to other regular Golfs? It's always been a great vehicle.

rocketfast
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by rocketfast » Wed Feb 12, 2020 10:33 am

If you want to get a general idea about lease deals for EVs, then this guy does a great job compiling "listed" prices at factory as well as at dealers. I have leased 3 Nissan Leafs over the last 9 years and used his website as a starting point. I have bargained for better prices than those listed.

If you see lower lease prices, it is likely that it will be cheap to buy too (as the incentives for buying is equivalent). As others have pointed out, "mynissanleaf" also have a section on "buying/leasing" where users post the deals that they have gotten. A good starting place.

http://ev-vin.blogspot.com/
(Right now, there are some fantastic deals for Chevy Bolt)

Generally, depending on the state you live in (for tax incentives), you can get a brand new EV for around $16-$17k.

VLADIN01
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by VLADIN01 » Wed Feb 12, 2020 11:26 am

angelescrest wrote:
Wed Feb 12, 2020 10:12 am
VLADIN01 wrote:
Wed Feb 12, 2020 5:58 am
The SE is roughly $34k base price, back in October VW was giving around $6k in incentives, plus negotiated another $4k off. Tax, tags, and title I was out the door around $25.5k. My state (PA) gives a $1,500 rebate and then Federal govt gives a $7,500 tax credit. So all in I own it for $16.5ish.

Depends what state you are in you can get a bigger state credit (or no credit) or sometimes Electric suppliers will also give you a rebate. I have seen some folks with new golfs for $12k with all the incentives and rebates.

If you do go used, my state (PA) also offers a Tax rebate for buying low mileage used EVs, might want to check out your state.

Not sure if VW is giving out as much money on the EGolfs anymore though.
Thanks for the figures. $16.5k is a great deal for any new car, much less an EV. Does it drive comparable to other regular Golfs? It's always been a great vehicle.
It handles better than standard Golf, not as good as GOlf GTI. The battery keeps the center of gravity low so that helps handling.

Initial acceleration is good, but 0-60 is not so much. However, it is more than adequate for highway merging and passing.

The other nice part about the EGolf is that other than the battery and motors the rest of the parts are common to an ICE Golf. So there should be no spare part supply issues.

It looks like the VW dealers in my area are still offering significant incentives.

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angelescrest
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by angelescrest » Wed Feb 12, 2020 11:36 am

VLADIN01 wrote:
Wed Feb 12, 2020 11:26 am
The other nice part about the EGolf is that other than the battery and motors the rest of the parts are common to an ICE Golf. So there should be no spare part supply issues.
Thanks for sharing. That's a very valid point--I hadn't thought of that, although on a car like the Fiat 500e, I doubt there would be as much widespread support available, especially here in TX. I've never seen a Fiat here.

ncbill
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by ncbill » Wed Feb 12, 2020 11:50 am

Relative who is a used car dealer took a Smart EV in trade...his wife loved it...60+ miles range, charged easily overnight with a regular 120VAC extension cord (zero need to add a 240VAC charger)

Don't know about what service/support would be available, though, given Smart has exited the U.S. market.

hookemhorns
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by hookemhorns » Wed Feb 12, 2020 12:34 pm

Chevy Volt owner here...I think it's perfect for what you need. I purchased a 2014 with ~40k miles from Carvana in 2017 for $14k. My model year has 40 miles electric range before the gas engine kicks on. 2015 and later model years upped the battery range to 52 miles. I almost exclusively use the battery for my daily commuting and only use gas on longer road trips. For me, it was perfect because it a) eliminated range anxiety b) had enough battery range for almost all of my "ordinary" driving ex-road trips c) was really affordable.

Another poster made a good point that you'll receive a lot of "advice" from people that don't own electric cars. Well intentioned or not, they'll perpetuate the fears about range anxiety, the battery wearing out after 2 years, etc. I have had zero problems so far and the technology gets better every year. I viewed the Volt as a low-risk way to take the plunge. My plan is to switch to a fully electric vehicle in the next 5-10 years.

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angelescrest
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by angelescrest » Wed Feb 12, 2020 1:22 pm

hookemhorns wrote:
Wed Feb 12, 2020 12:34 pm
Chevy Volt owner here...I think it's perfect for what you need. I purchased a 2014 with ~40k miles from Carvana in 2017 for $14k. My model year has 40 miles electric range before the gas engine kicks on. 2015 and later model years upped the battery range to 52 miles. I almost exclusively use the battery for my daily commuting and only use gas on longer road trips. For me, it was perfect because it a) eliminated range anxiety b) had enough battery range for almost all of my "ordinary" driving ex-road trips c) was really affordable.

Another poster made a good point that you'll receive a lot of "advice" from people that don't own electric cars. Well intentioned or not, they'll perpetuate the fears about range anxiety, the battery wearing out after 2 years, etc. I have had zero problems so far and the technology gets better every year. I viewed the Volt as a low-risk way to take the plunge. My plan is to switch to a fully electric vehicle in the next 5-10 years.
Thanks for your input. As I mentioned earlier, a used Volt was one of the primary cars on my list, until I started focusing on an exclusively EV. How many miles are you able to get using just the battery? And what have you seen/heard about the reliability of these Chevys?

hookemhorns
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by hookemhorns » Thu Feb 13, 2020 3:06 am

angelescrest wrote:
Wed Feb 12, 2020 1:22 pm
Thanks for your input. As I mentioned earlier, a used Volt was one of the primary cars on my list, until I started focusing on an exclusively EV. How many miles are you able to get using just the battery? And what have you seen/heard about the reliability of these Chevys?
When I first purchased the car, again it was 3 years old at 40k miles at the time, I got the manufacture quoted 40 miles even when using A/C. It's down to 37-38 miles now for similar driving. As others have mentioned, very cold weather will significantly reduce the range. The worst I've seen is 28 miles on near-freezing days. If you do get a Volt, I would spring for the 2nd gen models which have 30% better range. At the time I purchased, the price differential between gen 1 and 2 models was substantial, but the gap has closed since then.

bookworm
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by bookworm » Thu Feb 13, 2020 5:37 am

I am a Tesla owner, but I participate in some show and tell events with other EV owners.

I can think of a couple of people who use an older Nissan leaf as a commuting vehicle with probably more daily mileage than you are talking about and are very satisfied.

The Volt users tell me that their engines rarely kick on for range unless they take a road trip. My understanding from them is the car software keeps track of the age of the gasoline in the tank and there is some minimum run time on the engine to avoid potential fuel issues so they only fill the car 4 gallons at a time to limit that.

I think a used EV could be a very cheap commuting car on a cents/mile basis.

You might think about whether you need to install a level 2 charger in your garage - I am guessing a 120V outlet could handle 20 miles of daily use but will not fully charge the battery overnight if you use the full range.

Also you might check on public EV charging in your area, maybe on plugshare to see what other options you have - even a slow level 2 3 KW charger gives you some help if one is available at a grocery store, library etc that you frequent.
All models are wrong ... some are useful.

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angelescrest
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by angelescrest » Thu Feb 13, 2020 9:33 am

hookemhorns wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 3:06 am
angelescrest wrote:
Wed Feb 12, 2020 1:22 pm
Thanks for your input. As I mentioned earlier, a used Volt was one of the primary cars on my list, until I started focusing on an exclusively EV. How many miles are you able to get using just the battery? And what have you seen/heard about the reliability of these Chevys?
When I first purchased the car, again it was 3 years old at 40k miles at the time, I got the manufacture quoted 40 miles even when using A/C. It's down to 37-38 miles now for similar driving. As others have mentioned, very cold weather will significantly reduce the range. The worst I've seen is 28 miles on near-freezing days. If you do get a Volt, I would spring for the 2nd gen models which have 30% better range. At the time I purchased, the price differential between gen 1 and 2 models was substantial, but the gap has closed since then.
After six years, you're getting 37-38. That's remarkable. I'll check CR to see what they're saying about reliability. I'm the type of person who keeps a car until it dies, so this is where the transition to EV is a little tricky since I'm having to rethink the variables a bit. This is part of the thinking in getting an inexpensive used EV for a number of years before going all in a more expensive long range one that I would love to drive to, say, 250,000 miles. This is the Boglehead forum, after all.

surfstar
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by surfstar » Thu Feb 13, 2020 9:42 am

If an eGolf is tempting at $16.5k...

In October we purchased a 2020 Prius Prime LE, net after rebates/tax credits/incentives/dealer discount, but plus CA taxes of 7.75%, it was $18,7xx
It will go 25-30 miles on pure EV, then you have a Prius that gets 50+ mpg afterwards.

If buying new, one of these will hold its value much more than a pure EV and be usable for road trips throughout ownership. If it gets cold enough in the winter, you might struggle to get 20 miles on pure EV, though, or under certain circumstances the ICE must run (below 18 I believe). A Prius is one of the most economical cars to own, very little maintenance on the ICE and darn reliable. Plus 2020+ battery warranties are 10yr/150k.

I do believe we could trade/sell the car for more than we paid (would have to pay back a $1500 CA rebate, technically) - which means we did good on the purchase in my eyes.

We were also somewhat interested in a cheap EV for around town. Didn't seem worth the purchase, though. I do have a $1800 ebike for my daily RT commute of 10 miles.

Let us know which way you end up going and purchase/ownership issues...

FreemanB
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by FreemanB » Thu Feb 13, 2020 9:45 am

All the talk about the Leaf battery problems reminds me of all the FUD around Prius batteries when they first started getting popular 10+ years ago.(Batteries won't last, they will be expensive to replace, etc) I bought a 2019 Leaf last summer to use primarily as my commuting vehicle in Northern Virginia, after researching it for some time.(And deciding that the battery wasn't an issue) It has a range a little above 150 miles, and a typical commute for me is approximately 40 miles. I wanted extra to cover any side trips, days when I have to leave work to take my kid to a doctor's appointment then return, and to avoid having to worry if I happen to forget to charge it one day. I typically now charge it every other day or so. We have two 240V chargers in our garage(My wife has a PHEV, which we use for longer trips), so I can quickly charge up when I need to.

I considered a used one when shopping as well, but I wanted the longer range(But couldn't justify the Plus price), some of the newer safety features, and some other features I couldn't get used. Plus, the tax incentives were very nice as well. But honestly, what really sold it for me was when I took it for a test drive. I had never driven an electric vehicle before, and I'd had a Prius for 10+ years before that. Driving it was FUN, even with the limitations of traffic in the area.

For your case, there's nothing wrong with what you want to do. I look at a few simple criteria for large purchases: Does it fit my needs? Can I reasonably afford it? Do I really want it? It sounds like for you, the answer is yes to all three, so don't worry about what random strangers think might be better. You can spin your wheels on that for months and not get anywhere.

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angelescrest
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by angelescrest » Thu Feb 13, 2020 9:52 am

surfstar wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 9:42 am
If an eGolf is tempting at $16.5k...

In October we purchased a 2020 Prius Prime LE, net after rebates/tax credits/incentives/dealer discount, but plus CA taxes of 7.75%, it was $18,7xx
It will go 25-30 miles on pure EV, then you have a Prius that gets 50+ mpg afterwards.

If buying new, one of these will hold its value much more than a pure EV and be usable for road trips throughout ownership. If it gets cold enough in the winter, you might struggle to get 20 miles on pure EV, though, or under certain circumstances the ICE must run (below 18 I believe). A Prius is one of the most economical cars to own, very little maintenance on the ICE and darn reliable. Plus 2020+ battery warranties are 10yr/150k.

I do believe we could trade/sell the car for more than we paid (would have to pay back a $1500 CA rebate, technically) - which means we did good on the purchase in my eyes.

We were also somewhat interested in a cheap EV for around town. Didn't seem worth the purchase, though. I do have a $1800 ebike for my daily RT commute of 10 miles.

Let us know which way you end up going and purchase/ownership issues...
Very cool, surfstar. I didn't mention it, but I also have an eBike where I do the commute anywhere from 1-3x a week. It's not always convenient, or safe in my area, but it's great for my physical and mental health. Mine was about the same price as yours. So the EV wouldn't necessarily be used every day.

If I sound uncertain about this, I'm basically toying with two options:
1) Buy a cheap used EV that can get me to work and local errands, and that's all, at the price of $6,000 or less. I have about $10k cash in hand, earmarked for the next vehicle. This would get me by for a few years before eventually getting a higher end, long range EV that I can drive for 10+ years.
2) Buy an intermediary, more expensive car like a Volt, Prius, etc., which I would drive for 10+ years. I'd really like to not have an ICE vehicle, and worry only about maintenance on a more "simple" EV. Mind you, we have Toyotas and think the world of their reliability. If we went this route, we'd probably keep the older car for another year before going this route.

WhyNotUs
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by WhyNotUs » Thu Feb 13, 2020 10:06 am

angelescrest wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 9:52 am

If I sound uncertain about this, I'm basically toying with two options:
1) Buy a cheap used EV that can get me to work and local errands, and that's all, at the price of $6,000 or less. I have about $10k cash in hand, earmarked for the next vehicle. This would get me by for a few years before eventually getting a higher end, long range EV that I can drive for 10+ years.
2) Buy an intermediary, more expensive car like a Volt, Prius, etc., which I would drive for 10+ years. I'd really like to not have an ICE vehicle, and worry only about maintenance on a more "simple" EV. Mind you, we have Toyotas and think the world of their reliability. If we went this route, we'd probably keep the older car for another year before going this route.
We have a 2013 Leaf with more than 70 k miles and 12 bars on battery (meaning low degradation) and a Toyota Sienna van. The van is currently waiting for a remanufactured engine after oil cooler hoses went out and engine lost all oil. $9k and even though it was a defect/recall Toyota says that the van is past its period of responsibility and the previous owner did not respond to recall. Leaf just keeps chugging, it does not know what a dealer looks like. Have had to replace tires but nothing else, not even brake pads.

Someone else mentioned getting a 2015+ leaf and that is important advice. The batteries have evolved and the 2015 will be better in a hot environment. There is an app called Leaf Spy and a bluetooth unit to plug into car that will allow you to get a report on the condition of battery in used car. $25 investment and lots of good info. Ask seller to charge it up for test drive and check the battery first thing, it is really simple just a plug under the dash and your smart phone.

Having said all that, a used Prius is a great car as well.
I own the next hot stock- VTSAX

squirm
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by squirm » Thu Feb 13, 2020 10:43 am

angelescrest wrote:
Mon Feb 10, 2020 10:55 pm
I'd be interested to get feedback from anyone who has experience buying a cheap used EV. I will not be in a position to buy a new long range EV like a Model 3 or Bolt for some years to come, when they drop a lot more in price. But I am seeing vehicles like the Fiat 500 e, VW eGolf, and Nissan Leaf, some of which are anywhere from $5,000-$8,000, and upwards of 4-6 years old. I haven't been able to find a lot of information on the internet about how long these vehicles last--particularly their batteries.

My commute is about 22 miles round trip, and I really am looking for an EV that can comfortably (without range anxiety) give me 30-40 miles of range over the next 4-5 years. Basically get me to work, but leave wiggle room for range reducing weather conditions and maybe an extra trip to the grocery store. It doesn't need to be fancy or fast, just reliable. More miles (like 80) would be great, but it's not necessary and I couldn't justify the expense. Considering it doesn't have an internal combustion engine, it seems like the vehicle and drivetrain itself could last for years and years. But what about the battery? Do the batteries basically run out of range after 5-6 years? Are these older EVs essentially getting thrown away, despite having a perfectly sound body/wheels/interior? Are dealers unable to resell these older EVs, and does that mean there's an opportunity to score a great deal for someone like me who would put up with short range?

I'd appreciate any insights from those of you with EV experience and maybe those who've crunched the numbers. I've never driven an EV, but have followed their developments closely for the last 10 years.
just get like a volt and not have to worry about the range. if you only want an ev, then i leaf...but just like myself, there's going to be times when you forget to plug it in, then you're hosed.

hookemhorns
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by hookemhorns » Thu Feb 13, 2020 1:02 pm

angelescrest wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 9:33 am
I'm the type of person who keeps a car until it dies, so this is where the transition to EV is a little tricky since I'm having to rethink the variables a bit. This is part of the thinking in getting an inexpensive used EV for a number of years before going all in a more expensive long range one that I would love to drive to, say, 250,000 miles. This is the Boglehead forum, after all.
That was exactly my thinking and the developments over the past 2.5 years have only strengthened that belief.

EVs and particularly battery technology are improving at a dramatic rate similar to PCs in the 1990s or smartphones over the past decade. The risk to buying a new EV today is that the batteries in just 2-4 years could be substantially better in terms of range, cold weather performance, charging time, and expected lifespan. It's not like buying an ICE-powered vehicle where the technology only improves marginally over the course of a decade. A "new" EV today could be viewed as nearly obsolete in 5-7 years which means you'll be eating a huge amount of depreciation if you buy new.

If you want to do a little extra research, google "solid state batteries" to see where the technology is headed. SSBs could easily double range, eliminate cold weather degredation and battery wear, and will also be much cheaper and lighter. The rumor is Toyota will debut its first SSB-powered EV this summer during the summer Olympics in Tokyo.

tchoupitoulas
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by tchoupitoulas » Thu Feb 13, 2020 1:13 pm

I bought a used (2015) Leaf for the exact reasons you listed. My commute to work is 6 miles each way and we have another "regular" car. So my feeling was that even if I lose half the range I still have more than enough. It has been two years now and I've been very happy with it. I paid something like 13k for a car with less than 20,000 miles on it and it was the top of the line trim. To me it feels very luxurious, with heated seats, heated steering wheel, all leather, bluetooth audio, 360 parking cameras, etc. etc.

I still have the full 12 bars of battery capacity. My sense is that you lose battery capacity more rapidly in hot climates (I live in Wisconsin) and by doing quick charges, which I basically never need to do. 99.9% of the time I plug it into a regular old outlet in my garage when I get home and in the morning it's full. That's it. No more gas stations, no more oil changes, etc.

Certainly the range is diminished in the winter, especially with the heat blasting, but again with my limited needs I just wasn't worried about it and I'm still not. I have had one experience in two years where my life would have been easier if I had an ICE car (driving 90 miles to Chicago for a flight). Overall I'm happy with the decision.

There's a community of Leaf owners on reddit that is a good source of info. Also look up about the "heat pump" - being in a cold climate I limited myself to more recent model years because they got more efficient at heating the cabin. Also the "lizard battery" is supposed to last longer. Can't remember the years when these innovations came out but they are important to know about.

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mmmodem
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by mmmodem » Thu Feb 13, 2020 1:56 pm

hookemhorns wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 1:02 pm
angelescrest wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 9:33 am
I'm the type of person who keeps a car until it dies, so this is where the transition to EV is a little tricky since I'm having to rethink the variables a bit. This is part of the thinking in getting an inexpensive used EV for a number of years before going all in a more expensive long range one that I would love to drive to, say, 250,000 miles. This is the Boglehead forum, after all.
That was exactly my thinking and the developments over the past 2.5 years have only strengthened that belief.

EVs and particularly battery technology are improving at a dramatic rate similar to PCs in the 1990s or smartphones over the past decade. The risk to buying a new EV today is that the batteries in just 2-4 years could be substantially better in terms of range, cold weather performance, charging time, and expected lifespan. It's not like buying an ICE-powered vehicle where the technology only improves marginally over the course of a decade. A "new" EV today could be viewed as nearly obsolete in 5-7 years which means you'll be eating a huge amount of depreciation if you buy new.

If you want to do a little extra research, google "solid state batteries" to see where the technology is headed. SSBs could easily double range, eliminate cold weather degredation and battery wear, and will also be much cheaper and lighter. The rumor is Toyota will debut its first SSB-powered EV this summer during the summer Olympics in Tokyo.
I disagree with this. Cars improve incrementally every year just as EV's do. Your speculation is what a new car dealer says to get me to buy their extended warranty. "Cars are full of complicated computers nowadays and will only get more complicated. You need to protect yourself."

I'm still looking for my 2011 Nissan Leaf for $5k. They were briefly sold for that price 2-3 years ago but that supply has since dried up. Now they are going for more. I'll even accept a 2012 first gen Tesla Model S but I'm not willing to pay $28k for an 8 year old vehicle. I wish you were right that they are obsolete after 5 years.

Battery prices may have gone down but the only major difference between now and 2011 that I see is that there are more batteries in the newer EV's. I hope you're right about solid state batteries but the counterpoint is that Toyota still uses relatively ancient Nimh batteries in brand new 2020 AWD Prius that came out this year citing it's improved performance for that application over lithium that they use in the Prius Prime.

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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by atikovi » Thu Feb 13, 2020 2:29 pm

There is this 24,000 mile 2012 Focus electric selling at auction tomorrow. Probably goes for under $6500.

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teamDE
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by teamDE » Thu Feb 13, 2020 10:41 pm

angelescrest wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 5:47 pm
teamDE wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 5:40 pm
There's some great deals on Chevy Bolts through the end of the month. Low $20s, even sub $20k after fed/state rebates and if you hit the trade in allowance criteria, etc.

I have several friends with them now. One guy has two of them. One guy has a Model 3 as well. All are very happy with them.
What city/region are you in? I've not seen good deals here. I had heard of some great Bolt deals out in Northern California, since they appear not to be selling all that well. As much as I would prefer a Model 3, I'd still be thrilled with a Bolt, and I think I would buy a Bolt in the next few months if I could get one sub-$20k. I've actually never purchased a new vehicle in all my life, so perhaps I'm not looking hard enough!
This is in the Boston area. QuirkVW in particular.
https://www.quirkchevyboston.com/Vehicl ... &year=2020

Several reviews such as Every Day Driver (car/performance enthusiast review podcast and show on Amazon and youtube) actually preferred the Bolt over the Model 3. Basically because its a simpler and more intuitive car for less.

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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by randomguy » Thu Feb 13, 2020 11:48 pm

smalliebigs wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 1:15 pm
Good point about the PHEV. That will give the best of both worlds.
It also gives you the worst of both worlds with the complexity of an IC car and the unknown's of an EV.:) You can make arguments for hybrids, plugins, and EVs all filling niches. Personally I think buying a say 8k EV is about the same as buying an 8k IC. If the car fits your needs buy it.

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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by randomguy » Fri Feb 14, 2020 12:03 am

mmmodem wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 1:56 pm
hookemhorns wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 1:02 pm
angelescrest wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 9:33 am
I'm the type of person who keeps a car until it dies, so this is where the transition to EV is a little tricky since I'm having to rethink the variables a bit. This is part of the thinking in getting an inexpensive used EV for a number of years before going all in a more expensive long range one that I would love to drive to, say, 250,000 miles. This is the Boglehead forum, after all.
That was exactly my thinking and the developments over the past 2.5 years have only strengthened that belief.

EVs and particularly battery technology are improving at a dramatic rate similar to PCs in the 1990s or smartphones over the past decade. The risk to buying a new EV today is that the batteries in just 2-4 years could be substantially better in terms of range, cold weather performance, charging time, and expected lifespan. It's not like buying an ICE-powered vehicle where the technology only improves marginally over the course of a decade. A "new" EV today could be viewed as nearly obsolete in 5-7 years which means you'll be eating a huge amount of depreciation if you buy new.

If you want to do a little extra research, google "solid state batteries" to see where the technology is headed. SSBs could easily double range, eliminate cold weather degredation and battery wear, and will also be much cheaper and lighter. The rumor is Toyota will debut its first SSB-powered EV this summer during the summer Olympics in Tokyo.
I disagree with this. Cars improve incrementally every year just as EV's do. Your speculation is what a new car dealer says to get me to buy their extended warranty. "Cars are full of complicated computers nowadays and will only get more complicated. You need to protect yourself."

I'm still looking for my 2011 Nissan Leaf for $5k. They were briefly sold for that price 2-3 years ago but that supply has since dried up. Now they are going for more. I'll even accept a 2012 first gen Tesla Model S but I'm not willing to pay $28k for an 8 year old vehicle. I wish you were right that they are obsolete after 5 years.

Battery prices may have gone down but the only major difference between now and 2011 that I see is that there are more batteries in the newer EV's. I hope you're right about solid state batteries but the counterpoint is that Toyota still uses relatively ancient Nimh batteries in brand new 2020 AWD Prius that came out this year citing it's improved performance for that application over lithium that they use in the Prius Prime.
I agree. Toyota's been hinting about talking about their SSB at the olympics. They have also been very clear that it isn't shipping til the middle of the decade. That basically means it is vaporware with a bunch of unsolved problems before they can ramp up production. Over the past decade there have been tons of battery break throughs that all promise 10x the capacity, fast charges, and so on. See https://www.pcworld.com/article/2825085 ... nutes.html from 5 years ago for just one example. There have been dozens of other ones. So far none of them have shown up. We get minor tweaks to get slightly more efficient batteries and the big one being the drastic reduction in price from 1000/kwh to~180/kwh over the past decade

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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by hookemhorns » Fri Feb 14, 2020 3:06 am

randomguy wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 12:03 am
Over the past decade there have been tons of battery break throughs that all promise 10x the capacity, fast charges, and so on. See https://www.pcworld.com/article/2825085 ... nutes.html from 5 years ago for just one example. There have been dozens of other ones. So far none of them have shown up. We get minor tweaks to get slightly more efficient batteries and the big one being the drastic reduction in price from 1000/kwh to~180/kwh over the past decade
I think a >80% reduction in cost in 10 years is a big change.

My point is that it's not a good idea to buy a top-of-the-line product in a category that is undergoing revolutionary changes because it could quickly be considered outdated. If the OP buys a Tesla model 3 with 230 miles range for $40k today and Tesla comes out with a 400 mile version in 2025 for $30k, guess what will happen to the resale value of the original car. The same risk did not historically exist for ICE-powered vehicles because the underlying drivetrain technology did not change much.

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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by smalliebigs » Fri Feb 14, 2020 7:26 am

randomguy wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 11:48 pm
It also gives you the worst of both worlds with the complexity of an IC car and the unknown's of an EV.:) You can make arguments for hybrids, plugins, and EVs all filling niches. Personally I think buying a say 8k EV is about the same as buying an 8k IC. If the car fits your needs buy it.
I'm sorry, but what a terrible pessimistic attitude to maintain.

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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by randomguy » Fri Feb 14, 2020 8:47 am

hookemhorns wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 3:06 am
randomguy wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 12:03 am
Over the past decade there have been tons of battery break throughs that all promise 10x the capacity, fast charges, and so on. See https://www.pcworld.com/article/2825085 ... nutes.html from 5 years ago for just one example. There have been dozens of other ones. So far none of them have shown up. We get minor tweaks to get slightly more efficient batteries and the big one being the drastic reduction in price from 1000/kwh to~180/kwh over the past decade
I think a >80% reduction in cost in 10 years is a big change.

My point is that it's not a good idea to buy a top-of-the-line product in a category that is undergoing revolutionary changes because it could quickly be considered outdated. If the OP buys a Tesla model 3 with 230 miles range for $40k today and Tesla comes out with a 400 mile version in 2025 for $30k, guess what will happen to the resale value of the original car. The same risk did not historically exist for ICE-powered vehicles because the underlying drivetrain technology did not change much.
What revolutionary changes? The Model S has been around for almost 8 years now. It is the roughly the same car as it was back then. Battery capacity hasn't gone up 2x. It hasn't gotten any cheaper. It has picked up some new tech just like every other car on the planet has. I think the risk of the 50k model 3 being a 40k car in 5 years is about 0. It will be a 60k car with slightly better specs. Just like every other car has done for the last 100 years. Again we have been talking about huge battery breakthroughs for 20+ years now. Other than Li-Ion, which ones have you noticed?

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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by squirm » Fri Feb 14, 2020 11:38 am

randomguy wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 8:47 am
hookemhorns wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 3:06 am
randomguy wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 12:03 am
Over the past decade there have been tons of battery break throughs that all promise 10x the capacity, fast charges, and so on. See https://www.pcworld.com/article/2825085 ... nutes.html from 5 years ago for just one example. There have been dozens of other ones. So far none of them have shown up. We get minor tweaks to get slightly more efficient batteries and the big one being the drastic reduction in price from 1000/kwh to~180/kwh over the past decade
I think a >80% reduction in cost in 10 years is a big change.

My point is that it's not a good idea to buy a top-of-the-line product in a category that is undergoing revolutionary changes because it could quickly be considered outdated. If the OP buys a Tesla model 3 with 230 miles range for $40k today and Tesla comes out with a 400 mile version in 2025 for $30k, guess what will happen to the resale value of the original car. The same risk did not historically exist for ICE-powered vehicles because the underlying drivetrain technology did not change much.
What revolutionary changes? The Model S has been around for almost 8 years now. It is the roughly the same car as it was back then. Battery capacity hasn't gone up 2x. It hasn't gotten any cheaper. It has picked up some new tech just like every other car on the planet has. I think the risk of the 50k model 3 being a 40k car in 5 years is about 0. It will be a 60k car with slightly better specs. Just like every other car has done for the last 100 years. Again we have been talking about huge battery breakthroughs for 20+ years now. Other than Li-Ion, which ones have you noticed?
Battery capacity hasn't increased too much but hopefully reliability has. There's some older S's with a lot of degradation. Tesla's new warranty benefits them more than the buyer. In fact now Tesla's warranty states batteries that have been nerfed via software "upgrades" is not considered degradation.

Quality assurance is the other issue. Why is it that some S's are capped and others aren't. Why are some S's hit with chargegate but others aren't.

Seems Tesla has found some things wrong with some of their packs but not others.

What's going to happen to the Model 3 packs in a few years as they age? Will those get capped too along with slower charging speeds?
Last edited by squirm on Fri Feb 14, 2020 11:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by surfstar » Fri Feb 14, 2020 11:48 am

mmmodem wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 1:56 pm
I'm still looking for my 2011 Nissan Leaf for $5k. They were briefly sold for that price 2-3 years ago but that supply has since dried up. Now they are going for more. I'll even accept a 2012 first gen Tesla Model S but I'm not willing to pay $28k for an 8 year old vehicle. I wish you were right that they are obsolete after 5 years.
Within 500 miles of me, I can find 2012 Leafs for $6k or less, 50k miles or less.
Broaden your search?
Interestingly, a few are in AZ, which seems a bad buy due to the early model battery and heat issues. I'd choose one from a NorCal seller instead.

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mmmodem
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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by mmmodem » Fri Feb 14, 2020 12:16 pm

surfstar wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 11:48 am
Within 500 miles of me, I can find 2012 Leafs for $6k or less, 50k miles or less.
Broaden your search?
Interestingly, a few are in AZ, which seems a bad buy due to the early model battery and heat issues. I'd choose one from a NorCal seller instead.
$1000 is a big deal to me. A nationwide search shows a handful below $5k. Around me, only 2. I normally wouldn't have an issue driving a bit further for an EV but with a 73 mile range, I need to purchase really close to my home. The point is, there used to be dozens at $5k. Now, they are mostly gone. Curiously, it was right when Tesla's Model 3 was released, hmmmm.

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Re: Thoughts on buying cheap, used, short range EV

Post by JonnyB » Sat Feb 15, 2020 2:46 pm

mmmodem wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 12:16 pm
The point is, there used to be dozens at $5k. Now, they are mostly gone.
The Nissan LEAF was the first mass market electric car, back in 2010, two years before Tesla introduced the Model S. At the time, electric vehicles were considered exotic and people were worried about their battery longevity.

Most LEAFs were leased and there were a lot of used cars coming back to dealers after two or three years. They were slow sellers because of wariness about battery life. Nobody knew. So there were lots of good discounted LEAFs available.

Fast forward to 2016 or 2017 and people realized that those early LEAFs were still on the road doing fine after six or seven years. So used LEAF prices have rebounded somewhat to be similar to gasoline used cars. The days of the really cheap deals are probably over. That doesn't mean that used LEAFs aren't still one of the lowest cost ways to try out an EV, just not the screaming deals of the past.

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