We at E-Car Club believe that most electric car drivers wouldn’t ever go back to an ICE (internal combustion engine) car, thanks to the pleasure and economic benefits of driving an EV (electric vehicle).
As electric cars become more common, the market for used EV’s becomes ever bigger. Just like any used car there’s a bunch of things to consider, and while things such brand, look and performance can alleviate some concerns, the things that count most are the practical ones such as; reliability, running costs, comfort and ease of driving. So how do second-hand electric cars measure up to petrol/ diesel motors in these areas?
It’s the reliability aspects of an EV that’s traditionally put potential buyers off, usually because the technology is so new. But buying an EV now and you’re no longer an early adopter as the first ‘modern-era’ EV’s arrived in the UK in 2011, somewhat six years ago.
Electric cars have fewer moving parts, there’s no big engine under the hood, hence less bits to go wrong. Items such as suspension, steering and brakes last just as long (if not longer thanks to the support of regenerative braking doing most of the hard work instead of discs and pads) & replacement costs for these shouldn’t be any higher than ICE vehicles.
That big battery will need replacing quite often?
It’s the cost of replacing an EV’s battery pack and whether or not the motors will fail that many potential owners fear. But long-term owners have found that, as long as a battery pack is recharged and discharged regularly, there’s no reason why it can’t rack up thousands of miles before it has to be replaced.
Elon Musk of Tesla Motors previously mentioned that an optimum charge level for any electric vehicle is between 60 – 80% to prolong battery life and health.
It’s here that used electric car buyers need to be careful, because it’s important to understand whether the batteries have been kept charged. A lack of use can prove more likely to kill an EV’s battery rather than too much use.
Test driving a used electric car
When test driving a used EV, make sure you monitor the dash to see how quickly the battery is depleted and ensure that it can be charged fully.
E-Car Club recommend that you arrange an extended test drive – a day or two is best.
Check the advertised the range of a brand new car on the E-Car Club website here and compare that with what you get out of the car, taking into account that an EV’s range may vary due to previous driving styles, air-con and hill driving, so drive smoothly for a more accurate reading.
An extended test drive of an EV will help you understand if it suits your lifestyle. For example, can you charge it at home? Can it get you to work and back, plus take in the daily errands such as the school run and shopping trips?
What are electric cars like to own?
Most EV owners find their cars easier and more comfortable to drive than an ICE alternative.
But there are some compromises to be made. Although most cars sit idle for 90% of the time, you must consider whether you have a reliable charging point at your home or place of work, and if not, whether you can install one. Also remember that unless you’re using a high-voltage rapid charger, topping up the battery will take a number of hours, rather than a few minutes it takes to fill up with petrol or diesel.
However, these are only short term concerns, and with the government increasing investment into charging infrastructure, and penalising ICE drivers more – it makes perfect sense to seriously consider an EV now.
It’s important to tap into experiences of other EV owners, as well as extended test drives. E-Car Club allows its members to hire electric vehicles from one hour up to several days at a time, making it the perfect ‘try before you buy’ solution, visit: ecarclub.co.uk for more info.