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Used electric cars look tempting after big depreciation hit

Faster depreciation means used EV deals may look tempting next to more expensive hybrid and petrol rivals

Hyundai ioniq electric

Prices for used petrol, diesel and hybrid cars remain high in the post-pandemic secondhand market, but electric models are depreciating much faster than their petrol or hybrid equivalents.

According to analysis from Autovista, the company which owns Glass’s Guide and tracks car residual values, the average retained value in April for a used electric car after 3 years and 36,000 miles is 47.6 per cent of its new cost. That’s in stark contrast to the retained value of self-charging hybrid models at 72.8 per cent, and petrol engined cars at 67.1 per cent. Even supposedly out of favour diesels performed much better than electric cars, retaining an average 6.1 per cent of their value.

While the figures may provide troubling reading for anyone considering a new EV purchase, it’s potentially better news for drivers considering a secondhand buy, according to Automobile Association (AA) spokesman Edmund King. He reckons bargains could “push those in two minds to make the leap to electric”.

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The AA’s analysis of its own used car sales website shows it’s possible to buy a 2021 electric Vauxhall Corsa with fewer than 7,000 miles on the clock for £17,000, when the new cost is £33,930. The organisation also highlights the Hyundai Ioniq Premium, which has a £43,445 new cost but can be bought secondhand for £17,500 at only a year old.

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“There are some used electric cars with less than 10,000 miles on the clock now being offered for half the price at new, which is astonishing,” said King, who we’re told will also tell an audience at the Fully Charged Live UK North event in Harrogate that the 2030 ban on petrol and diesel new car sales means it’s crucial for fleets to lead the way.

That’s because, as most drivers buy their cars used, it’s essential there’s a healthy stock of used EVs to support the transition to net zero. However, according to a recent poll of fleet decision makers by Bridgestone, more than three quarters of fleets are delaying EV purchases due to the high cost of switching over. 

“There appears to be some stalling along the road to electrification from three quarters of fleets trying to save on capital costs,” King will say. “For some fleets this could backfire as they will miss out on lower running costs whilst being hit with higher repair bills on an ageing fleet. It will also have a knock-on effect and further delay the uptake of EVs into the mass market.”

Would lower used electric car prices encourage you to switch to an EV? Let us know in the comments...

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Current affairs and features editor

Chris covers all aspects of motoring life for Auto Express. Over a long career he has contributed news and car reviews to brands such as Autocar, WhatCar?, PistonHeads, Goodwood and The Motor Trader.

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