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Are electric cars hard to resell?

Resell value is a big concern for motorists who know they will sell a car on in years to come and it’s a bigger concern for electric vehicles that rely on expensive batteries.

Luckily, it seems, this is an area where things are improving. Vehicle data and valuation provider Glass’s said electric car residual values were falling in line with diesel cars as the used car market becomes ‘more accustomed to the technology they contain’.

Head of valuations Rupert Pontin explained using the Tesla Model S as an example: “The residual value gold standard for EVs is the Tesla Model S. Its minimum 220 mile range means that its three year or 60,000 mile value is around 43 per cent – almost exactly the same as a well-established direct competitor, the BMW M535D M Sport.”

The data also pointed out the Vauxhall Ampera would resell for 27.58 per cent of its original value after three years or 60,000 miles, compared with 34.56 per cent for the Vauxhall Insignia SRI CDTi.

The quirky BMW i3 extender, meanwhile, manages 39.11 per cent – not far off the BMW 320D Sport’s 43.46 per cent. 

One reason cited for the shift was the announcement that a replacement Nissan Leaf battery pack would cost 5,000 euros, as Pontin explained: 

“Residual values of the Leaf are among the poorest of the EVs at around 29 per cent at thee years 60,000 miles because there are quite a number around. However, removing the mystery surrounding the battery pack pricing took away a large degree of uncertainty from forecasting its residual values.”

“While 5000 euros is expensive, it is something that can be planned into a budget when you are making an RV forecast,” he added. 

Residual values are only going to improve as real-world battery range improves, Glass’s explained, adding that the UK needs to greatly increase its electric car adoption rate if it hopes to meet the 2020 CO2 emissions target of 95g/km per vehicle.

Electric and hybrid cars that meet a certain emissions criteria are able to claim a government grant of £5,000, but the higher vehicle prices compared with their petrol and diesel counterparts make the payback time long and the barrier for entry high.

Other problems associated with electric car ownership include range anxiety (the fear of running out of the battery running out mid-journey) and finding a working local charger if you are unable to have one installed at home.

Tesla has tackled the problem of resell value head-on by offering a buyback scheme on its cars that sees Tesla buy back a Model S for 50 per cent of its original value after three years plus 43 per cent of the value of any optional extra added.

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