User survey shows buyers misunderstand the used EV market

Kia Soul EV Nissan LEAF

While new EVs remain on the pricey side for lower-income buyers, there are great values available on the used market. Sadly, few realize this, and myths and misinformation abound. A recent study from the buyer intelligence firm Autolist compared buyer perceptions of used EVs to market data, and found a major disconnect.

Fact vs Fiction: Public Perception of Used EVs is based on 1,249 vehicle owners and 17,738 used vehicles.

The survey found that, on average, buyers thought a used EV would cost $5,000 more than an equivalent legacy vehicle. In fact, the opposite is more likely to be true. For example, Autolist found that a typical used 2015 Nissan LEAF is less expensive than either a Honda Civic or a Toyota Corolla, and has lower mileage.

Autolist found that, after vehicle range, reliability is the biggest concern of prospective plug-in buyers, with 41% of respondents citing it as their top worry. In fact, according to user ratings, the 2015 Nissan LEAF and Chevrolet Volt both have better than average reliability, and the LEAF scores better than the famously reliable Civic and Corolla.


Source: Autolist

  • Chris Jones

    Hmmm, not in Australia. We have about 6000 plug-in vehicles on our roads, so the number of cars in the second hand market is small, and they are still rather expensive for what you get. Plus many of the Leafs are 2012 stock with heat-affected batteries, so they’re mustering 80-90 km to a charge instead of the 130+ they originally promised.

    • Mark

      I would have said the prices on the second hand market in Australia vary widely because it is still a niche market. I did manage to find a couple of electric vehicles that compared favourably to equivalent fossil fuel based vehicles when I was in the market a couple of years ago. However taking a look at and it looks like all the good deals have been soaked up!

  • Brandon

    I would say rightly so for a concern on reliability. The Nissan LEAF really doesn’t do well in battery reliability, at least not the early year ones. Loses at least 4% a year.

    • Sam Spofforth

      As a 2013 Leaf owner, this is not my experience at all. My Leaf has about 35K and has lost barely any range.

      • Brandon

        Yes, the 2011 and 2012 LEAF’s are about 4% a year loss, the 2013 to 2014 or 2015 are about 3% a year, and the the 2015 to 2017 are around ~2%.

        With your 2013 LEAF, you are probably going to lose your first bar within a year. The first bar lost represents 15% loss.

        • Steve:O

          I bought a used 2015 Leaf in March 2017, had 14,000 miles on, cost $10k. Car now has 28,000 miles. Dashboard display says still charges to 100%, and all bars are still there. Out of pocket fuel cost for my 14,000 miles, about $50 bucks. (I got solar at home, and free charging at work, and $30 of that $50 was experimenting with known expensive ($10) Fast DC chargers etc.) And no oil changes!

          From where you getting your information Brandon? It sure doesn’t match my reality.

          • Brandon

            Yes, I love my blue 2011 Nissan LEAF. Great savings, convenience (not needing to go to the gas station) and fun driving. My data of percentages is from many many LEAF’s I’ve been able to see the amount of degradation on, both online in forums and talking to owners. I can assure you it’s accurate.

    • sickofgovwaste

      Here’s the problem: Someone doing research about buying a used LEAF sees what you’ve written and takes that as bible truth. It’s NOT! Also, did your EV come from a hot climate? You should have qualified your statement by providing your model year and location. Once the 2013s started being manufactured in the USA (Tennessee), the batteries, et al, have been VERY reliable.

      Bottom Line: Don’t fill it full and let it sit for days, especially in hot conditions, and don’t let it sit, undriven at all, for long periods of time. The Nissan LEAF, in general, is one of the strongest used car value buys in America today, even with the prices firming (actually rising slightly) over the past year.

      • Brandon

        Don’t worry, I’ve researched this quite a bit, and had it verified too. What I said can be taken as an accurate statement of the typical average battery degradation in Nissan LEAF batteries. The good thing is that going forward, most new EV batteries including Nissan’s are typically able to keep from degrading only a little more than 1% per year.

        • sickofgovwaste

          I’m not “worried”…you made a blanket statement without qualifying it. It’s irresponsible and NOT correct. It’s a vast, inappropriate over-generalization.

          • Brandon

            Maybe you need to check into LEAF battery degradation.

            Like I said, the 2011 and 2012 LEAF’s are going to be found to typically lose about 4% a year, the 2013 to 2014 or 2015 are about 3% a year loss, and the the 2015 to 2017 are mostly around 1.5% loss.

            Typical loss for those years I specified IS a correct analysis statement. Those range losses ARE happening.

            I would encourage you to see for yourself the reports of degradation that can be researched on the LEAF.

          • sickofgovwaste

            Brandon, for the final time, check your OP. You NEVER stated ’11 & ’12s. You made a blanket statement about “The Nissan LEAF” that is factually incorrect.

            Anyone reading that takes it to mean ALL years, which is WRONG.

            I’m going on what YOU STATED and you’re trying to split hairs. You own it, not me…