Buying a used electric car? Here’s what to expect


With a little bit of research, savvy buyers can secure affordable and eco-friendly alternatives to their previous daily drive thanks to falling used electric car prices.

At least 315,000 new electric cars were registered in 2023, compared to 267,000 in 2022, and with more than a million EVs on UK roads, more drivers are discovering the benefits of emissions-free driving. 

Whether you’re upgrading your car soon or you’d like to know more about electric cars first, we’ve explored some key considerations and essential tips for your switch to an electric car.

Buying an electric car: Key considerations

  • Inspect it carefully

When you first view your prospective new car, you should perform a thorough visual inspection of the bodywork. Check for unusual or unmentioned signs of wear, damage, or irregularities in the body and interior. Wheels and tyres should be in acceptable condition to keep you safe from the moment you start driving.

  • Choose trusted models

Electric vehicles are praised for their overall reliability, but you’ll still find some models with better credentials than others. It’s worth opting for reputable and proven models from well-established brands like used BMWs, especially the i5 and the compact, city-friendly i3. Your preferences matter too, but you should try to read reviews and do your research first.

  • Book a test drive

If you want to get a real feel for the vehicle you’re buying, a test drive is crucial. This will help you to assess the overall performance, handling and ride feel of the used electric car you’ve had your eyes on. Pay close attention to braking, acceleration and responsiveness. Of course, you need to be comfortable and have enough space for your passengers too!

  • Charging infrastructure

It’s also important to think about how close you are to charging stations. Research local infrastructure first to assess the situation. If there’s a distinct lack in your area, you’ll need to check how feasible it might be to install an at-home charging station. Don’t forget that you might be able to offset installation costs with Government grants for EV charging points.

Three advantages of driving an EV

  1. Lower upfront prices

One of the most compelling reasons to choose a used electric car is that you’ll save money upfront and in the long run. Even though upfront costs can be high for new EVs, used electric are extremely competitive versus petrol and diesel.

  • Sustainable commitment

It’s no secret that the government has proposed to ban the sale of new diesel or petrol cars by 2035. By choosing an all-electric and therefore emissions-free vehicle, you’re playing an important role in protecting the environment. Even individual efforts make a difference.

  • Cost-effective running costs

Lastly, beyond the initial purchase price, the running costs of a second-hand electric car are noticeably lower than those of internal combustion engine (diesel or petrol) vehicles when you factor in maintenance and pence per mile. With fewer mechanical parts and lower maintenance demands, electric cars simplify your motoring experience and make it more cost-effective too.

Alfred drives a Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus but has his eye on a fully-electric pick-up truck. He'd love an electric Ford Ranger, which should be a real thing in a few years!