The battery is not what you should worry the most about.
The batteries will most probably outlive the rest of the car. There are a few percent reduction in the capacity during the first 80.000 kilometers, or 50.000 miles, and then the reduction stops.
If you need a car, a used electric car might be a smart choice. After all, it is less likely that something would go wrong with such a car. There is no oil to be replaced, no timing chain that can break or gasoline filters that can get stuck.
Nevertheless, it may seem a bit unsafe, since you cannot be completely sure of how the battery has been treated, and how the battery condition is.
This is probably nothing to worry about. Electric car batteries are generally very good, and many cars still has the new car warranty. Some car manufacturers provide eight years of warranty on their batteries. This proves that the manufacturers really believe in their product.
This might not have to be the same for other parts of the car.
Wear parts like suspension, brakes and trailing arms, are common to fossil cars as well as electric cars.
No big dangers
Primarily; When it comes to electric cars, They are probably so new that they have a service history. Check that previous owners have followed the service intervals. Beyond this, there is no big danger of buying used electric cars.
The most important thing is to follow the same checklists you do with regular cars. Check for rust, mechanical damage and more.
As with all cars, be sure to take the car out for a test-drive, to check that the car is running properly. It may reveal thing such as scratch-sounds in brakes and other sounds that should not be there.
Dealerships are the safest
It is safer to buy an electric car through a dealership, since they provide you with a condition reports and warranty’s. If you buy a car privat, it may be perceived as more unsafe, since you may not get a condition report or a warranty.
The turnover time for used electric cars is short, and there is often “the seller’s market”. Therefore, it may be difficult to require the same quality and warraty’s from a private seller.
Like any other car you may risk getting a “Monday car”. And if there is anything in the battery that is breaking, it’s not a question of buying a new battery, but replacing single cells in it.
Electric cars are heavier than the fossil cars. Nevertheless, there are not any connection between this and special wear and tear.
There are a lot of questions about the purchase of used electric cars and charging in general. It can be perceived as complicated with charging apps, charging chips, and more. This may be confusing and, make it a little less attempting to buy electric cars.
Especially in the phase before buying a electric car, whether it’s a used one or new one , there’s a lot to get into. It’s something very different from what’s people are used to. But it doesen’t take long to get used to it.
It is also important to check if the car you are considering can be fast charged. Several electric cars do not have the opportunity for this. Examples are Mercedes-Benz B-class, Renault Kangoo and some others.
Check the paint, rust and any collision damage. If the car has been previously damaged, ask for documentation of this and the corrections.
Check for rust on all part of the car, not only the parts you can see easily. Check that all the outside parts are completely. Also check tires for uneven or irregular wear
Test the brakes several times during test-driving, and check that the car does not pull to one of the sides. Check that the car is steady.
Listen for noise from the powertrain. Check that the air conditioner is working. Check that all switches and buttons work.
Important: Rust and uneven wear on brake discs and pads is a common problem on electric cars. This is because the breaks are not used much due to regenerating. You should check this carefully, so you don’t end up paying for a complete set of new brakes on the car.
Check that the battery is mentioned in the warranty terms. For example, the battery warranty on early versions of Nissan Leaf only covered defects for five years. They gave no guarantee of capacity, but this should be changed afterwards. However, it is advisable to clarify, especially if it is a used imported car.
If you buy a car through a dealership, make sure you clarify this, and check if they can give you a status report on the battery.
Is your home ready for an electric car?
There is not much use in owning an electric car if you do not have the option to charge it. This should be solved before you buy a electric car.
Do you have access to electric power where the car is going to be parked? In that case, make sure that it is a suitable circuit. An old cicuit divided by multiple loads can quickly be overloaded by an electric car. Charging an electric car involves a high sustained load, and charging in a regular electrical outlet is considered an emergency solution.
If you need an extension cord to reach the wall outlet, you simply do not have a suitable solution. Common extension cables are not designed for such load.
The best solution is to mount a dedicated circuit for your charging point in your parking lot. Then you can install a suitable charger here, such as a charging station with a wired cable.
If you set up your own circuit for electric cars, you will also get a proper installation with a type of earth fault protection device suitable for electric cars.