Plug In America’s Used Electric Vehicle Buyers’ Guide

Download this information as a PDF fact sheet. 

Thousands of electric vehicles (EVs) are entering the used vehicle market, creating an opportunity for consumers to enjoy their many benefits, including reduced fuel and maintenance costs, a smoother drive, and reduced air pollution. If you’re considering a used EV, here are some things to keep in mind.

Vehicle Condition

  • All-electric vehicles have fewer moving parts to break or fail, so the main drive train concern is the condition of the battery. You’ll also want to check on the tires, brakes, and general condition of the car.
  • Plug-in hybrid vehicles do have internal combustion engine components, but they experience less wear and tear because of the miles driven on the electric motor.
  • Ask an experienced EV mechanic or dealer to perform an on-board diagnostics check to measure the health of the battery. A used EV with a healthy battery is almost like a new car.
  • A used EV with some battery degradation could meet your needs if it still has adequate range, so it is important to think about your driving requirements. For example, how far do you regularly drive and will this car be used for road trips?

Battery Warranties

  • Most EVs come with battery warranties that last eight to ten years or more, so examine the warranty provisions of the vehicle carefully to see if you are protected against deterioration in battery range.
  • EVs sold from franchise dealerships may be certified pre-owned and come with an extended factory warranty.
  • Sometimes, these warranties may only cover battery failure and not capacity degradation.

Where to Purchase

  • Used EVs can be purchased from franchised dealerships, used car dealers, or private sellers. Some dealers specialize in used EVs.
  • As with any used vehicle, you may get a better price from a used car dealer or private seller, but the vehicle may be sold “as is” without a certified pre-owned warranty.

Financial Incentives

  • Many state and local governments or electric utilities offer financial incentives on used EVs. Check for more information on incentives in your area.


Lynn W. purchased a used 2013 Nissan LEAF that still has around 80 miles of range on a single charge. She recommends calculating your daily mileage because an extended range on the battery may not be needed by everyone. She charges at home on a standard 120-volt outlet and estimates her average electricity costs to be the equivalent of paying $1.25/gallon of gas, which is appealing for those concerned about rising gas prices.

Keith J. bought his used 2013 Smart ED for $4,000 in 2014 and has since put 23,000 miles on it. He really enjoys driving electric in the city and in traffic compared to a gas powered car. He prioritized battery health when he purchased his used EV. He also recommends potential buyers look for DC fast charging on road trips to reduce any range anxiety, to ask if replacement parts are available at local repair shops, and to estimate the battery capacity in winter weather. He estimates he saves around $100/month over a gas car commuting into New York City.

Mark C. chose to buy a used Nissan LEAF due to the higher price of a new EV compared to the value of a used one. After accounting for fuel, maintenance, insurance, and registration fees, Mark estimates a net savings of around $500. While the savings are great, Mark says his primary reason for driving electric is environmental.

John V. purchased a used 2014 Fiat 500e with 31,000 miles for $6,800. He also purchased a five-year extended warranty for his EV. He says the 85-mile range is perfect for daily commuting and driving around town. He is likely to buy a used EV again because it has been so reliable.

Below is a list of EV-specialized used car dealers around the country! If you know of other used EV dealerships, please contact