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April 24

The ultimate guide to buying a secondhand EV

Secondhand EV Buying

Gone are the days when electric vehicles were inaccessible and unaffordable. We're now entering the era of EVs for all!

Not only are we witnessing a surge in cost-effective electric vehicles hitting the market, but the second-hand EV market is also booming. We're here to guide you through the why, how, and what of scoring a bargain on your new-to-you electric vehicle.

Let's get plugged in...


Why the increase in secondhand electric cars?

In a nutshell, there's been a remarkable surge in demand for them!

In 2023, it was discovered that sales of used electric vehicles had doubled compared to the previous year. In just three short months between July and September, a staggering 34,000 used EVs changed hands.

This spike in interest set off alarm bells at Electroverse, prompting us to investigate further. According to Search Console data, searches for 'used EVs' skyrocketed by 900% in 2023 compared to the previous year.

Used or secondhand vehicles have been a popular choice among consumers for decades and it appears that EVs will be no exception. So, let's look a bit closer at why drivers are edging towards second hand.


Regardless of the vehicle, buying brand new often comes at a premium that many can't or don't want to pay. The alternative? Opting for a used one!

According to a report released by Autotrader at the end of 2023, approximately 25% of their used EV stock was priced under £20,000. This marked a significant increase from the 13% recorded at the beginning of the year, indicating the growing affordability of used electric vehicles.


Now, let's talk about value. It's no surprise to petrol or diesel vehicle owners that a brand new car typically loses around 40% of its value within the first year. This makes purchasing a vehicle just a year or so old much more appealing than buying new. But does the same hold true for electric vehicles?

In the early days, when EVs were still niche, they struggled to retain their value due to limited demand. However, things have changed dramatically since then, thanks to longer range vehicles, improved public charging networks, greater choice, and faster charging times.

While EVs aren't immune to depreciation, they're holding their value much better now. Plus, with the impending ban on petrol and diesel sales, demand is only set to increase.

Where to buy secondhand electric cars

Now, let's talk about where to find these electric gems. You'll be glad to hear it's not all that different from buying a used petrol or diesel vehicle! There are primarily two main routes: buying from a third party or purchasing directly from the manufacturer. Of course, you can also buy from individual sellers, but this comes with its own set of challenges as you won't have the same protections.

Third party sellers

A quick Google search for used electric vehicles will unveil a plethora of options on websites like AutoTrader, Kazoo, Cinch, and many more. These online used car retailers make it easy to either sell your used vehicle or purchase one.

These platforms are great because you don't have to scour through numerous websites or spend your weekends at used car lots. You can find EVs within your budget and close to home. So hop online, scroll through the listings, and find the perfect used EV for you, even if your purchase is a bit down the road!

Direct from manufacturer

Car manufacturers have your back with approved used EVs available on their websites and in showrooms. It's like a double dose of reassurance – these electric rides have been given the green light by the folks who crafted them, ensuring they're good to go for resale.

Moreover, brands like Polestar, Volkswagen, Audi, Volvo, and Nissan are offering fantastic deals with their used EVs. Think lengthy guarantees, roadside assistance, extended warranties, and more! It's like getting VIP treatment for your EV journey!

What do I need to look for when buying an electric car secondhand? 

Buying a vehicle, whether new or used, can stir up a mix of excitement and overwhelm. With so many factors to consider, especially if you're new to EVs, it's easy to overlook important questions.

But fear not! Electroverse is here with a handy checklist to guide you through the process before you part ways with your hard-earned cash:

  • Check that battery health!

Here's the scoop on electric car batteries: they age gracefully, losing about 1 to 2% of their capacity each year. To ease your mind, grab a battery condition report from a trusted dealer before making a move.

And remember, keep your battery content by charging it between 20 and 80%, and go easy on the rapid charging. Treat it right, and you might even see a performance boost. It's smooth sailing to battery bliss!

  • Inspect charging hardware and cables 

When buying an electric car, don't overlook the charging hardware. Keep an eye out for any signs of damage or bent pins on the socket, and ensure the cables are intact and in top shape. While replacement charging cables are available, they can be pricey. So, keep it simple: give the hardware a once-over, and hit the road with confidence!

  • Look into the EVs service history 

Don't hit the road without checking the paperwork – it's essential for any car purchase, including EVs. And here's a pro tip: listen up for any strange knocking sounds, as the battery's weight can accelerate wear on suspension parts.

Be sure to inquire about past repairs for peace of mind. Oh, and don't overlook software upgrades during servicing – they can provide your EV with an extra boost in performance and features. Stay sharp, savvy shopper!

  • Check the vehicle's warranty

Get this: most electric cars come with an awesome eight-year, 100,000-mile warranty for battery coverage. And guess what? This warranty sticks around even when you opt for a used ride. Plus, some manufacturers sweeten the deal with a performance guarantee, protecting you against battery hiccups.

If your battery's capacity dips below 70% during the warranty period, fear not! Manufacturers typically step up, offering to spruce up or swap out the battery, ensuring your EV runs smoothly and your worries are kept at bay. It's like having a superhero for your car's battery!

  • Look out for battery leasing 

Did you know that both the Renault Zoe and Nissan Leaf once offered battery leasing contracts? It was like having a battery buddy you could rent separately from the car purchase! This setup made buying an EV less daunting and more affordable, attracting quite a fan base for a while.

While newer electric cars also offer lease options, advertisements should clearly indicate if a car comes with this deal. As the new owner, you'd continue the battery lease but could adjust it to suit your needs. Costs typically range from £50 to £90 per month, depending on mileage.

And here's the exciting part: used cars with leased batteries often come with a significant discount compared to those with batteries included. It's like scoring a bargain with a side of eco-friendliness!

Okay I’ve bought my second hand EV, what now? 

Step one: Celebrate joining the electric revolution! What an exciting time!

Next, let's get down to business so you can hit the road with your new-to-you EV in no time. Follow this handy guide:

  1. Register Your Vehicle: The seller usually handles vehicle registration either online or by post. If you didn't receive a log book (V5C), you might need to register it yourself. You can apply online for £25.

  2. MOT: You may have time left on the last MOT at the time of purchase, but it's wise to sign up for reminders so you don't miss the next one. Once your vehicle is over three years old, you'll need annual MOTs to avoid a potential £1,000 fine. Sign up for reminders here.

  3. Insurance: Ensure you have insurance for your new wheels before hitting the road. Shop around for the best deals!

  4. Road Tax: Here's an unusual one for EVs – you'll need to register, but electric vehicles are exempt from paying road tax! It's a bit strange, but incredibly beneficial for owners.

Make sure you check out our blog Do I need to pay road tax on an electric vehicle? to get more in-depth info on the subject!

zapman charging an EV with an electrocard

Now, it would be remiss of us to forget arguably the most crucial step in setting up your new EV: downloading and signing up to Electroverse!

With over 600,000 chargers on Octopus Electroverse, we're one of the largest EV charging networks out there, and signing up takes less than 30 seconds! Plus, it's completely free – no pesky subscription fees here.

As you embark on your electric journey, we've rounded up some of our top Electroverse blogs for you to check out:

A beginners guide to Octopus Electroverse

Sign up or in to Octopus Electroverse

How to use the Octopus Electroverse app

How to order an Electrocard (& what to expect once you have)


Feeling enlightened or do you think something was missing? Let us know by sharing your feedback.

Interested in learning more? Head over to our Electroverse Community area for more electrifying content.