My used Chevy Volt rocks!
03.14.2019 - by Joel Levin
My used Chevy Volt rocks!

Our family just bought another EV—a gently used 2012 Chevy Volt—and we love it. That’s not to say that we love our 2015 LEAF any less, in the same way that you can love each of your children differently, without necessarily picking a favorite.

We at Plug In America have long been fans of used EVs. Because the non-EV world is overly scared of battery degradation, used EVs have historically depreciated faster than most other cars—and thus are a great deal for those of us in the know. (Although that has begun to change in the past year—used EV prices are creeping up.) The one big exception is Tesla. As anyone who has looking into buying a used Tesla knows, they seem to hold their value almost indefinitely. Waiting for a Tesla to drop in value as it ages is a bit like waiting for a Picasso to drop in value as it ages.

When buying a used gas car, there are many parts to worry about—timing belts, fuel pumps, fuel injectors, manifolds, transmissions, pistons, oil filters, air filters, crankshafts, camshafts, inlet valves, etc. All those moving parts wear out and pose a maintenance risk to the used car buyer. With a used EV, it’s all pretty much about the battery (and tires and brakes). If the battery is at or near its original capacity, you’ve essentially got a new car.

In the case of our Volt, we bought it with only 18,000 miles on the odometer from a driver who only used it to get around town. Hardly any of those miles were on gas, which means that the gas engine and drive train really are new. And the battery still shows a range of 34 miles, versus an official range of 35 miles when it left the factory. I won’t tell you what it cost me, but let’s just say it wasn’t much for a car in this mechanical condition and with minimal wear and tear on the body.

EV battery range can deteriorate over time, and it’s something to watch for, but it’s not nearly so common as you might think. My LEAF still shows the same range as when we got it 38 months ago. And, just yesterday, I was speaking with a friend who drives a 2012 Tesla Model S, who assured me that she could not see any noticeable difference in her range from the day she bought it.

If you want a learn more about how to shop for a used EV, check out our Used Electric Car Buyers’ Guide.

8 comments on “My used Chevy Volt rocks!”
  1. Mark S. says:

    I’ve driven a Volt for 7 years and ovet 140,000 EV miles. Fun and reliable vehicle that can operate all-electric for many days or evens many weeks, city or highway using no gasoline.

    Also just bought a used C-MAX Energi for just $7 000. The first 1,000 miles it has run 50% electric, despite only having 20 miles of EV range.

    Let’s celebrate and advocate for any and all pragmatic and affordable choices to displace gasoline miles traveled with cleaner and lower cost electric miles.

  2. Mark says:

    Here’s some EV education for Bchoward and anyone with a misleading perpective on plug-in electric vehicles with unhelpful language as to what is a “true EV” or not. Let’s all strive be better advocates for any vehicle that plugs in and drives on electric power charged from the grid! 🙂

    “A hybrid car derives some of its power from a conventional gasoline engine, and all of its energy from gasoline. A hybrid’s battery is typically only recharged from regenerative braking energy when the car slows being put back into the battery.

    On the other hand, an electric car gets driving power from an electric motor, and that energy is from a battery that has been recharged from the grid or another external source.

    There are two types of electric cars, or plug in electrified vehicles (PEVs): Battery electrics (BEVs) which run on electricity only, and plug in hybrid electrics (PHEVs) which can first run on electricity from the battery for a shorter range (often the distance of a daily commute, or more), then seamlessly switch to a full tank of gasoline if the battery gets low.”

  3. Bchoward says:

    But the Volt has a gas tank and an engine, so to me that is not the definition of a true EV. Nonetheless I was very sorry to learn that Chevy is discontinuing it. Anything that helps reduce the amount of emissions is a good thing.

  4. Jeff Miller says:

    The Volt is an EV with extended range. It is not a hybrid. The drive train is all electric, and when the battery runs out the onboard generator kicks on, generating electric for the drive train. The gas generator is not driving the drive train.

  5. danwat1234 says:

    @Bchoward, because a Volt will not turn on the engine even if you floor it because it is purely electric drive. NO other hybrid is this way or very very few.

  6. danwat1234 says:

    Bought my 2013 Volt for $10 grand all said and done with 135K on the odo. 160K now, will need wheel bearings before long (i hear a hum now) and a water pump but that’s about it! Awesome car very sporty. Just charge sustain MPG is meh.

  7. Bchoward says:

    Why do owners of Volts say their cars are EVs? It’s a good car that goes a decent way with no gas but it is a plug-in hybrid. I had a Ford Fusion plug-in hybrid but I knew it wasn’t an EV. It still needed gas and the occasional oil change. Maybe the problem is that Chevy sold the Volt as an electric car. Now the Chevy Bolt is a true EV.

  8. Begley Mike says:

    My gen 1 Leaf held its range for 5 years. Seven years in, and my range is 60%. We could replace the batteries to restore the car to 84 miles but when all nee EVs are over 200, it doesn’t make sense. I’ll buy a 200-300 miler in the next year and won’t care if it loses half its capacity in a decade. Meanwhile, anyone want to buy a 40 mile Leaf?

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