There are many benefits that come with owning an electric vehicle (EV), and it’s little wonder that ownership rates have increased over the years.
These models operate with great economy and may be charged from the comfort of your home. Maintenance is a breeze since they are built with straightforward drivetrains that don’t require the tune-ups and oil changes that are necessary with internal combustion engines.
With EVs there is less need for brake replacement since their regenerative braking reduces brake-pad wear, and these models also provide torque-rich performance and a uniquely silent driving experience. Best of all, they emit zero emissions, and this is a good thing for the environment.
Unfortunately, though, new EVs are often sold at a price premium relative to comparable gas-powered models. This can make them out of reach to the most cash-strapped car shoppers.
Now that EVs have been on the market for a few years, there is an option available for car buyers who want to enjoy this technology at a very affordable price: They can shop on the used market.
Low gas prices have taken a bite out of EV resale values. As a result, there are many relatively new choices available at bargain prices.
The four models listed below may be purchased nationally via CARFAX Used Car Listings, often for less than $10,000.
2013 Ford Focus Electric
It’s possible to find Ford Focus Electric models on the used market for as little as $9,000. While most EVs set themselves apart from the crowd with unconventional styling, the Focus Electric has sheet metal that is elegant and discreet, making it a great choice for those who want a nice-looking compact car that just happens to have an electric powertrain. The Focus Electric seats five and provides 14.5 cubic feet of cargo capacity with all seats in place.
This model is powered by an electric motor offering 143 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque, and recharging takes about four hours using a 240-volt power source. It can go about 76 miles between charges and has an EPA energy-efficiency-equivalent rating (mpg equivalent) of 110 city and 99 highway.
Standard features include keyless access with push-button start, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a rearview camera, heated front seats and a nine-speaker audio system with a CD/MP3 player.
2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV
When new, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV starts in the low $20s, making it one of the most affordable EVs available. Used models sweeten the pot substantially when it comes to pricing, and you can purchase a 2012 model for as little as $8,000. The i-MiEV’s small footprint makes it a nimble and accommodating companion in the city. It seats four and provides 13.2 cubic feet of cargo capacity with all seats in place.
The i-MiEV gets its juice from an electric motor good for 66 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque. It can travel about 62 miles between charges and takes about seven hours to recharge using a 240-volt power source, and it has an EPA mpg equivalent rating of 126 city and 99 highway.
Standard features include full power accessories, air conditioning, 50/50 split-folding rear seats that recline, a heated driver’s seat and a four-speaker audio system with a CD player and auxiliary audio jack.
2011 Nissan Leaf
As one of the segment’s top sellers, the Nissan Leaf is a common sight in many neighborhoods. While new models start at just under $30,000, you can purchase a 2011 Leaf for a mere $8,000. Endowed with a serene cabin and a roomy rear seat, the Leaf seats five and offers 14.5 cubic feet of cargo capacity with all seats in place.
Under the hood is an electric motor good for 107 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. The Leaf can travel for about 73 miles between charges and has an EPA mpg equivalent rating of 106 city and 92 highway. Charging takes anywhere from 4 to 8 hours with a 220-volt charger, but an optional quick-charge port allows you to charge to 80 percent capacity in just 30 minutes at high-voltage public charging stations.
The 2011 Leaf’s list of standard features includes keyless ignition and entry, cruise control, full power accessories, automatic climate control, Bluetooth connectivity and a navigation system. This model also comes standard with 60/40 split-folding rear seats and a six-speaker audio system with satellite radio, a CD player, an iPod/USB audio interface and an auxiliary audio jack.
2013 Smart Fortwo Electric Drive
The one thing that separates the Smart Fortwo Electric Drive from other EVs is its size. This diminutive hauler is just 9 feet long, which means it will easily slide into parking spaces that would be a no-go for larger vehicles. Used 2013 models are available for as little as $8,000. The Smart Fortwo Electric Drive offers roomy seating for two, and there’s 7.8 cubic feet of cargo capacity behind the seats.
An electric motor with 47 horsepower and 96 pound-feet of torque motivates this Smart. It can travel 68 miles between charges and has a charge time of 8 hours when using a 220-volt power source. The Smart Fortwo Electric Drive has a mpg equivalent rating of 122 city and 93 highway.
Standard features on the 2014 Smart Fortwo Electric Drive include keyless entry, air conditioning, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and a fold-flat front passenger seat.
A New Era of Affordable EVs
Electric cars offer an intriguing glimpse of what’s to come. By purchasing on the used market, you can reap the benefits of this leading-edge technology at a price that fits any budget.