Used electric cars to avoid

Electric cars have come a long way from their initial limited range. Nowadays, we expect even used electric cars to deliver over 300 miles of range, multiple power options comparable to traditional fuel cars, and the same conveniences we enjoy. But some cars are best to avoid.

While poor range is a major issue with these eight EVs, there are other reasons to skip them and look for better options. We’ll also highlight the best used electric cars alongside them to give you more options to choose from.

1. ChangliEV

Price for a used modelFrom £7,800
Body typeVan
Driving rangeUp to 30 miles
Battery3kWh, 5kWh
Battery lifeUnknown
Charging time4-8 hours

The ChangliEV is known for being one of the cheapest electric cars in the world. But cheaper doesn’t always mean better or equally good. Its design isn’t ideal for roads, and its electric motor produces a modest 1.1 horsepower, with a range of just 30 miles on a full charge. It’s not suitable for daily commuting, and despite having basic safety features, it’s best not to expect too much from it in terms of performance or reliability.

Nissan e-NV200, Renault Kangoo Z.E., and the Mercedes-Benz eSprinter are better options for an electric van.

2. Nissan Leaf

Price for a used modelFrom £13,590
Body typeHatchback
Driving range149-212 miles
Battery40kWh, 62kWh
Battery lifeUp to 10 years
Charging time (2.3kW)20 hours
Charging time (22kW)7.5 hours

The Nissan Leaf is quiet, but you’ll notice some wind and road noise, along with occasional clunks from the suspension. The handling isn’t thrilling for enthusiastic drivers, and the steering wheel only adjusts up and down. Taller individuals will feel cramped in the back with limited headroom from the roofline.

Even though each new generation of the Leaf improves, it faces stiff competition from newer electric cars. The Renault Zoe, for instance, offers a better driving experience and is more cost-effective to buy and run than a used Nissan Leaf. There are also other options like the MG4 or MG5 for budget-conscious buyers or the luxurious Tesla Model 3 for those with a larger budget.

3. Volkswagen e-Golf

Price for a used modelFrom £8,990
Body typeHatchback
Driving range120 miles
Performance113-133 bhp
Battery35.8kWh, 85kWh
Battery life8 years or 160,000 miles
Charging time (2.3kW)16 hours
Charging time (22kW)5 hours

The Volkswagen e-Golf offers a maximum range of 120 miles on a full charge, which is limiting for most drivers. Its design lacks a bit of flair compared to competitors, and the ride is harsh at times. It also has a smaller boot space compared to the standard Golf. For better or worse, Volkswagen won’t be replacing it when the Golf model goes out of production.

For those seeking better alternatives, the Hyundai Kona Electric and Kia e-Niro are easier to recommend.

4. Renault Fluence

Price for a used modelFrom £4,995
Body typeSaloon
Driving range125 miles
Performance94 bhp
Battery22kW, 70kW
Battery lifeUp to 10 years or 93,000 miles
Charging time (2.3kW)9.5 hours
Charging time (22kW)6 hours

The Renault Fluence doesn’t impress initially. Adding 13cm to fit the EV batteries made the car look a bit awkward, and the blue details on the spotlights and grille don’t really help its appearance. You’ll definitely notice the additional 280kg from the batteries while driving. Inside, you won’t find the modern digital displays and ambient lighting that are common in other electric cars.

Regarding range, Renault claims it can go up to 125 miles on a 10-hour charge from a household socket. Yet, test models show only 44 miles when fully charged, dropping to 17 after just 12 city miles.

For better options, consider the Hyundai Ioniq Electric and Kia Soul EV.

5. Mazda MX-30

Price for a used modelFrom £17,599
Body typeSUV
Driving range100 miles
Battery35.5 kWh
Battery lifeUp to 10 years
Charging time (2.3kW)15.5 hours
Charging time (22kW)6 hours

The Mazda MX-30 doesn’t offer a particularly special driving experience. Its motor generates a modest 143bhp, which isn’t quite what you’d expect from Mazda’s sportier MX line. Under the bonnet, you’ll find a surprising amount of empty space once you strip away components like gearboxes and exhaust pipes from the CX-30-derived chassis.

With a range of only about 50 miles, planning is necessary even for relatively short trips. While some are okay with this, it doesn’t suit everyone’s needs.

For alternatives in the small used electric SUV segment with better range, consider options like the Renault Megane E-Tech Electric, Peugeot e-2008, and Vauxhall Mokka-e.

6. Mini Cooper SE

Price for a used modelFrom £18,499
Body typeHatchback
Driving range114-144 miles
Battery life10 to 20 years
Charging time (2.3kW)9.5 hours
Charging time (22kW)5 hours

The Mini Cooper SE faces a major challenge due to its limited range. To optimize its small battery pack, Mini added a regenerative braking system with two settings — one with slight drag and the other mimicking traditional brakes. However, this will feel unfamiliar and strange. Another unconventional decision is a rectangular screen in a round design for the centre dash touchscreen.

If you’re set on a Mini, wait for the new electric car with doubled range, improved handling, and updated tech. In the meantime, for a compact affordable EV in the used market, the Fiat 500e and Peugeot e-208 are strong contenders.

7. Chevrolet Bolt EUV

Price for a used modelFrom £13,729
Body typeHatchback
Driving range247 miles
Battery65kWh, 150kW
Battery life8 years or 100,000 miles
Charging time (2.3kW)26 hours
Charging time (22kW)8 hours

The Chevrolet Bolt EUV’s steering feels excessively light and lacks feedback, which makes it suitable only for mundane city driving or highway cruising. Unfortunately, this translates to a joyless driving experience, especially on better roads. Also, the loud tyre noise on rough roads just makes things even more frustrating.

In essence, the Bolt EUV is a practical but uninspiring electric car. While it’s not necessarily a terrible car, it fails to deliver excitement or engagement. For a more satisfying electric SUV experience, consider alternatives like the Volkswagen ID.4.

8. BMW i3

Price for a used modelFrom £12,729
Body styleHatchback
Driving range153 miles
Battery18.2kW, 27.2kW, 37.9kW, 42.2kW
Battery life3 to 5 years
Charging time (2.3kW)19.5 hours
Charging time (22kW)4 hours

The BMW i3 has gotten better with time, but it’s still not BMW’s top-tier model. It’s fun and nimble at lower speeds, but pushing it reveals its limitations. Despite its short wheelbase, it’s not as agile on twisty roads due to its tall design, which results in noticeable body lean in corners and a tendency to lose grip. The firm suspension means you’ll feel bumps and creases in the road more strongly, but this doesn’t translate into notably improved handling.

Inside, while the i3 is nice, it doesn’t quite match the luxuriousness of other BMW models. The Audi A3 e-tron is a close rival that might suit you better.

Where can I find a good, used electric car?

Are you on the lookout for a dependable, second-hand electric car? At Carplus, we’re dedicated to helping you find the perfect electric vehicle at a price that fits your budget.

Whether you’re interested in buying a used electric car, a plug-in hybrid, or a traditional ICE vehicle, we have you covered. Our goal is to make your car-buying experience easy and enjoyable. Check out Carplus today and start your journey towards owning a fantastic car!

Final words

It may seem that most modern cars are of high quality due to market demands, but that’s not always the reality. Some models, as you’ve just learned, can actually make your life more challenging, which goes against the idea of embracing sustainability and transitioning to electric cars. This guide should help you steer clear of such mistakes.

Finally, here are some tips for those interested in buying a used electric:

  • Do the maths — Electric cars are pricier upfront but offer savings in running costs like zero road tax, lower maintenance, and cheaper charging compared to petrol or diesel cars. So, don’t be put off.
  • Check battery health — Make sure to ask about the battery’s health, capacity, and any guarantee that comes with it. Some dealerships offer battery health reports or diagnostics.
  • Evaluate charging history — Knowing how often and where it was charged will provide insights into its overall usage patterns and battery health.
  • Inspect maintenance records — Look for regular servicing, software updates, and any repairs or replacements done, especially related to the battery or electric components.
  • Verify charging compatibility — Confirm that the car is compatible with the charging infrastructure available in your area or the places you frequent. Check for compatibility with both home chargers and public charging stations.
  • Do a dry run — Test driving helps you get accustomed to features like regenerative braking and silent operation. Pay attention to factors affecting range, such as driving style and weather.
  • Consider warranty and support — If possible, opt for a used car that still has some warranty coverage remaining.
  • Research resale value — Look into the resale value of the specific make and model of the used EV you’re interested in. Some electric cars hold their value better than others, which will be important if you plan to sell or trade in the vehicle in the future.

Safe and sustainable driving ahead!

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