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Buying a used electric car: tips for consumers | > – Guide

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Buying a used electric car: tips for consumers |  > – Guide

Status: 04/28/2023 3:34 p.m

If you want to buy a used electric car, you should take a close look at the battery. How to determine the condition of the battery? What else should you consider when buying?

The Combustion engines out for new cars from 2035, consumers will focus more on electric cars. Used e-cars in particular are popular because new cars are comparatively expensive and government funding has fallen. However, e-cars at attractive conditions are rare: “The market for young used electric cars is currently still very limited because models have not been on the market for that long and are only now rolling onto the streets in large batches,” explains Sven Hansen from “c ‘t magazine for computer technology“.

E-cars that are about ten years old are comparatively cheap. But the batteries of models from this time have a shorter range compared to modern batteries. If the battery dies, the cost of replacing it usually exceeds the residual value of the entire car. However, if the battery was treated gently by the previous owner, such older models can be suitable for short-distance drivers.

Nominal capacity provides information about “battery health”

Since the cost of a new battery is around 15,000 to 20,000 euros, replacing it is usually not worthwhile. Accordingly, the condition of the battery, the so-called battery health, is very important for the current value of an e-car. The “nominal capacity” describes how much electricity the battery of a new car can hold. It decreases over time and depending on the usage behavior of previous owners. Consumers should determine the current rated capacity of the used car before buying and compare this with the original rated capacity of the new car to assess the condition of the battery.

Hansen complains that the nominal capacity in e-cars is recorded, but not immediately displayed to consumers. “You only get such information when the vehicle is in the workshop. Consumers usually have to ask for it explicitly,” criticizes the technology expert. With the help of test kits, prospective buyers can choose between independently or by ADAC technicians determine the condition of the battery in an e-car.

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Good care protects the battery

According to Hansen, the age of a vehicle in relation to the current capacity of the battery is generally only of limited significance. Rather, what is decisive is how the battery was treated by the previous owner or owners. Because the individual usage and driving behavior has a great influence on the service life of a battery. For example, a restrained driving style has a positive effect on battery health.

This is how consumers can positively influence the service life of e-car batteries:

  • Do not drive the battery empty and do not fully charge it (optimal charge level is between 20 and 80 percent)
  • Charge the battery as gently as possible, with low currents (e.g. at 3.6 kilowatts on the domestic power grid)
  • Do not charge e-cars at night (avoid full charging and permanent connection to the power grid)
  • If possible, park the car when the temperature is around 20 degrees, e.g. in a garage (cold temperatures in winter damage the battery)
  • avoid strong acceleration when driving
  • do not drive at full throttle for long periods of time

Checklist for used e-cars: range, battery, charging station

Charging at public columns is usually more expensive than at the home power grid.

Modern electric cars can travel up to 400 kilometers. This means that e-cars can also be used for longer distances if the battery is intact. The network of charging stations is being expanded, but there is still a shortage of charging stations in some places. If you have to charge your car in public places, you should make sure that the battery can be charged quickly and expect higher costs. Because charging at home or at the employer is usually cheaper.

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In order to find a suitable electric car for their own, individual driving and usage behavior, consumers should be clear about the following points before buying:

  • What distance does the car have to cover in everyday life?
  • How high should the charging capacity of the battery be?
  • Where can the car be charged? (different costs for charging at home, at work or at public charging stations)
  • Should the battery be quick-chargeable?
  • How long is the battery still under warranty? (usually around eight years)
  • Is there battery damage or repairs?

Funding for used e-cars also in 2023

State subsidies for electric cars have fallen compared to 2022. But even in 2023, cars with electric drives will still be eligible – with up to 4,500 euros. It can offer the so-called environmental bonus for used electric cars according to ADAC given if the following conditions are met:

  • When first registered, the vehicle must not have been subsidized by the environmental bonus or by any comparable state subsidy in an EU member state.
  • The first registration must not be older than one year. Multiple changes of ownership are no problem.
  • The vehicle model must be registered with the Federal Office of Economics and Exit Control (Bafa) listed as an eligible vehicle be.
  • The vehicle must not have driven more than 15,000 kilometers at the time of registration for the applicant.
  • The prerequisite is a commercial car sale with a gross price and a reported share of sales tax. A car sales contract between private individuals is not eligible.

Alternative to buying: leasing e-cars

There is also a state premium from the Federal Office of Economics and Export Control for leasing. Until December 31, 2023, the subsidy is 4,500 euros for a term of at least 24 months, and 2,250 euros for at least 12 months. The subsidy can significantly reduce the monthly rate. Away There will be more changes in 2024 to be considered with the environmental bonus.

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E-car drivers have a major impact on costs

It is not clear whether electric cars are generally cheaper or more expensive than combustion engines. Basically, e-cars have less wear-prone parts than combustion engines. The clutch, gearbox and many operating fluids are missing. Nevertheless, individual repairs and inspections can be more expensive.

The trade journal “c’t” compared some electric cars and combustion engines in terms of their total costs. The results are very different depending on the manufacturer and do not allow any clear statement, explains Hansen. The ADAC also has one for some models in October 2022 cost comparison of electric cars, petrol and diesel vehicles and came to the conclusion that electric cars were often cheaper in 2022, mainly due to the higher state subsidies.

The individual charging and usage behavior, the further development of e-car technology, fluctuating prices for electricity and fuel as well as possible state subsidies play a major role in comparing the costs of e-cars and combustion engines. “With the e-car you have more influence on the costs because it depends very much on how and where you charge. With the combustion engine, on the other hand, you have very little opportunity to influence it,” says Hansen.

Further information

A man holds a smartphone and a battery tester in his hands.  © NDR

Buyers need to know how the battery in a used e-car is doing. What’s the best way to find out? more

A parking lot for electric cars.  © Picture Alliance Photo: Arne Dedert

The environmental premium makes the purchase of e-cars more attractive. Is it worth switching from petrol or diesel? more

Black mass - as a powder - in a glass at the Duesenfeld company in Wendeburg near Peine.  © NDR Photo: Sabine Hausherr

A company near Peine gets valuable materials from old batteries. Income from sales is invested in research. more

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NDR 1 Lower Saxony | Guide | 05.04.2023 | 7:05 p.m

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