The 8 Best Cheap Used Electric Cars (2023)

In its infancy, the electric vehicle sector has been historically marked by high prices and somewhat underwhelming ranges, though as the segment has evolved over the last decade or so and hugely grown in popularity, the MSRPs on new vehicles have started to decline as autonomy and performance increase. And it’s not just the new EV space that’s started to see more accessibly priced offerings, but the secondhand market has also been treated to an even more affordable range of options.

The ever-capable nature of today’s latest and all-electric automotive offerings has helped to further drive down pricing in the used segment, resulting in some thoroughly competent secondhand electrics that can now be had for a bargain. With this in mind, we’ve thoroughly pored over several years of model releases and classified ads, diving into the spec sheets and proverbially kicking the tires to bring you this condensed, hand-picked list of the best used electric cars. So, whether you’re looking for a budget-friendly electric economy car or a more plush and premium proton-powered ride, this list has got you covered.

The 8 Best Cheap Used Electric Cars (1)

Quantifying The Best

The Criteria For Selecting Used EVs

Generating almost any “best of” list will involve at least some subjectivity — assuming you aren’t going purely based on spec sheets — and knowing this, we’ve landed on a few based criteria to help us narrow down our choices. Rather than simply looking at range, amenities, and performance capabilities, or exclusively focusing on price, we’re honing in on widely available production models that afford solid performance, range, and features relative to their used price. What’s more, each model on this list represents a substantial discount over their original MSRP while still offering relatively modern performance specs.

The 8 Best Cheap Used Electric Cars (2)

Used EV Shopping 101

The Unique Aspects To Consider When Purchasing A Secondhand Electric Car

Regardless of the style of vehicle or its powertrain type, there are common elements that should be taken into account across the board when purchasing a used car. And while these areas undoubtedly apply to secondhand EV models, the electric segment carries a few unique aspects and benefits that are worth touching on — some of which have only emerged in recent years. Below we’ll briefly delve into some of the more crucial areas to consider when purchasing a used electric car, as well as a few strengths possessed by EVs.

The Environmental Factor: While this probably won’t come as a shock to anyone, electric cars don’t put out any emissions and are therefore markedly better for the planet to drive. The production of these vehicles can involve a good amount of waste and a decent portion of the electricity used by EVs is harnessed from non-green methods, plus there’s the issue of disposing of spent electric car batteries (much of the time in landfills). Even with that said, EVs are objectively a more environmentally-friendly means of transportation and offer the same utility as petrol-powered cars without the smog and environmental footprint.

Upgraded EV Infrastructure: In the early years of EV production, finding somewhere to juice up your car’s battery packs was a bit of a hassle, though in more recent times both OEMs and outside third party companies have been installing an increasingly robust and widespread electric vehicle charging infrastructure, making it easier than ever before to find somewhere to plug your vehicle in. And, on top of the number of charges available, the speed and efficiency of these units have massively improved, with fast-charging quickly becoming the new standard.

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EV Upkeep & Tuning: When EVs first hit the market, there were very few mechanics and shops that were willing to wrench on electric cars, at least outside of dealership service centers. However, with EVs exploding in popularity, a growing number of shops have popped up that either work on, or outright specialize in maintaining electric-powered vehicles. This not only makes it easier, cheaper, and more convenient to have your EV serviced, but it also means there’s both better access to new and used parts, as well as more shops willing to perform jobs like battery swaps. By and large, electric vehicles also tend to require markedly less upkeep compared to gas-powered cars. In a similar vein, the influx of interest in the EV space has also given rise to a handful of tuning outfits that focus exclusively on EVs and frequently offer multi-stage tuning and performance kits.

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Battery Degradation: Over time, a gas engine’s original horsepower and torque output will begin to wane as seals fade and general wear and tear take their course. Electric vehicles suffer from a similar issue, and just like with the battery inside your smartphone or laptop, an EV’s cells will degrade over time, resulting in shorter and shorter battery life and thereby a shorter range. It’s worth exploring how old a used EV is, its mileage, and the rate at which a respective model tends to lose its battery potency. Having said that, it’s important to point out that electric vehicle batteries typically last anywhere from 10 to 20 years before they need to be completely swapped out for fresh cells.

EV Ownership Incentives: In an effort to encourage EV sales, state and federal government bodies have introduced a growing number of incentives for electric vehicle owners such as generous rebates and tax cuts. And though buying used eliminates some of these, there are still benefits that all EV owners can enjoy including the use of the HOV (or “High-occupancy Vehicle) lane, even when riding solo.

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Unrivaled Torque: The growing array of available electric supercars has admittedly helped to alter the public perception of EVs, though in general most electric cars aren’t viewed as high-performance offerings. And while they do have limited range and horsepower compared to a gas-engined ride, one area in which EVs objectively best their petrol-powered counterparts is raw torque. Not only do electric powertrains offer gobs of torque, but they do so instantaneously, without needing to reach a “sweet spot” in an engine’s rev-range.

Premium EV Options: Though they took longer to enter the space, luxury car makers have been breaking into the EV space at an astounding rate, with pretty much every premium OEM having tossed its hat in the EV ring over the last few years. These offerings almost always boast more impressive ranges, markedly more plush and well-appointed interiors, and generally superior performance, albeit they come at much steeper MSRPs. The used EV market can be a stellar means of picking up a high-dollar electric ride at an enormously discounted rate — in some cases by more than half off of a car’s original sticker price. You very well may be surprised by some of the higher-end EVs that you can afford when taking the used purchasing route.

Disclaimer: All used prices shown reflect Kelley Blue Book values for “Good” condition cars, without any options, purchased through a private seller, and showing average mileage based on the model year.

The 8 Best Cheap Used Electric Cars (5)

BMW i3

Because EV batteries are so heavy, BMW put an enormous amount of effort into adding lightness when developing the i3, resulting in a carbon fiber chassis adorned in carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic bodywork — a la the six and seven-figure hypers from Lamborghini and McLaren. In addition to the textiles in the car’s thoroughly modern being entirely composed of recycled materials, a quarter of the rest of the EV’s raw materials are also made from recycled post-consumer bits. And, despite its admittedly cute appearance, the i3 is objectively a much more entertaining car to drive than models like the Volt or LEAF, sharing its powertrain with the peppy electrified Mini Cooper.

New Price: $44,450
Used Price: $10K – $13K
Torque: 199ft-lbs
Range: 153-Miles

Purchase: $10,000+

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Cadillac ELR

Yes, the Cadillac ELR is technically a hybrid vehicle, though considering that it can operate purely on battery power and offers arguably one of the best deals in the used hybrid/EV space, we’d argue the American-made ELR is more than worthy of a spot on this list. With a nearly 6.5-second 0-60mph time and a top speed just north of 100mph, the ELR clearly isn’t a high-performance vehicle, though that was never Cadillac’s intention when building the thing. Available on the secondhand market for roughly a quarter of its original $66K MSRP, the ELR comes loaded with a generous bevy of tech, amenities, and creature comforts, and offers an incredibly smooth ride.

New Price: $65,995
Used Price: $17.6K – $20.6K
Torque: 373ft-lbs
Range: 37-Miles Battery Only (340-Miles Total)

Purchase: $17,600+

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Chevy Volt

Here we have another electric powertrain vehicle with a proton-powered motor that’s helped along by an 84hp 1.4L inline-four internal combustion engine — though, like the Caddy, the Volt can run purely on its batteries, albeit for a limited range. First introduced in 2010, the Volt has received a slew of awards including winning both the 2011 North American Car of the Year, the 2012 European Car of the Year, and multiple Green Car of the Year titles. The Volt doesn’t greatly excel in any one area, though it stands as a comfortable and reliable, more environmentally-friendly daily driver than regular gas-powered sedans. The later generations of the Volt also offer increased performance and better range.

New Price: $16,565
Used Price: $8K – $10K
Torque: 294ft-lbs
Range: 53-Miles Battery Only (420-Miles Total)

Purchase: $8,000+

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Fiat 500e

Originally introduced in 1957, the Fiat 500 is without a shadow of a doubt one of the most iconic Italian cars of all time, and since the reintroduction of the modern 500 in 2007, the brand has rolled out a myriad of model variants including the turbocharged track-ready Abarth-spec and the affordable proton-powered 500e. Like the contemporary gas-powered 500, the 500e offers just enough storage space to accommodate two passengers, just enough range to tackle a daily commute, and just enough oomph to be comfortable on the freeway. Once you consider the 500e’s secondhand price, however, it becomes abundantly clear what a serious bargain this car truly is.

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New Price: $33,210
Used Price: $5.4K – $6.8K
Torque: 147ft-lbs
Range: 84-Miles

Purchase: $5,400+

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Ford Focus Electric

After spending a dozen wildly successful years on the market, Ford was prompted to produce an all-electric variant of its hatchback, bestowing the compact five-door model with a 143hp (107kW) synchronous motor that draws off of 23kWh (or 33.5kWh) Lithium-ion battery packs. This BEV was recently phased out as Ford has expanded its current electric vehicle lineup, though this has only resulted in even lower asking prices on the used market. Wearing the “Glider” generation of the petrol-powered Focus’ bodywork, this EV can actually be outfitted with a variety of aftermarket bolt-on parts meant for the regular model, meaning if you were so inclined, you could outfit the thing with a body kit or any other number of upgrades — though it probably won’t do much to change its admittedly underwhelming 10-second 0-60mph or 85mph top speed.

New Price: $29,120
Used Price: $8.7K – $11.8K
Torque: 184ft-lbs
Range: 115-Miles

Purchase: $8,700+

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Nissan Leaf S

The Nissan LEAF S is a shining example of the extremely noteworthy deals that can be had on the used EV market, with roomy seating for five, plenty of cargo space, and enough range to travel from the Santa Monica pier to Riverside and back, and still have juice leftover — all while costing as little as $7,500. On top of a range exceeding 225-miles, the newer versions of the LEAF also come loaded with cutting-edge tech such as connectivity to a smartphone app, lane keep assist, pedestrian detection with automatic emergency braking, and blindspot, lane departure, and rear cross-traffic alerts. And while we wouldn’t go as far as to call it a sleeper, the LEAF does offer smile-inducing acceleration off of the line and surprisingly nimble handling, making this one of the more fun daily driver options on this list.

New Price: $31,670
Used Price: $7.5K – $9.3K
Torque: 236ft-lbs
Range: 150-Miles

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Purchase: $7,500+

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Tesla Model S

With a $70,000 MSRP, the Tesla Model S probably isn’t a car you’d expect to see on this list. And while the latest version of the Model S offers class-leading performance in several areas — including best range and being the fastest accelerating car currently in production, proton or petrol-powered — the older generations of the high-performance luxury sedan still afford similar performance capabilities and range, though can be snagged for over 58% off its original price. It’s also worth mentioning that even the first model year Model S came packed with cutting-edge tech and creature comforts (such as a massive 17” touchscreen display) that by no means have grown long in the tooth. Lastly, the oldest versions of the Model S sport a (faux) grille arrangement that many prefer to the smooth-nosed, grille-free current generation Model S.

New Price: $69,420
Used Price: $29K – $33.7K
Torque: 487ft-lbs
Range: 390+-Miles

Purchase: $29,000+

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Volkswagen e-Golf

Since debuting in 1974, the Volkswagen Golf has become an icon in the automotive world, so it’s only logical that the German brand would eventually opt to jettison the Golf’s gas engine for a modern electric mill and battery setup. The e-Golf exhibits similar handling to the regular version, and shares the same outward aesthetic design, save for the lack of exhaust and muffler. The e-Golf does make for a solid daily driver, though it is worth pointing out that it pales in comparison to the gas-powered version in terms of sheer performance prowess, with the electrified Golf topping out at a tad over 90mph and reaching 0-60mph in a little over 9.5 seconds.

New Price: $15,263
Used Price: $9.5K – $13.7K
Torque: 214ft-lbs
Range: 186-Miles

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Purchase: $9,500+

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Interested in checking out another selection of surprisingly capable yet accessibly-priced production cars? Well, our guide to the most powerful new cars under $50,000 features 20 high-performance rides that won’t break the bank.

FAQs

What is a good used EV? ›

Best Used EV Under $10,000
  • 2013 or 2014 Chevy Volt Plug-in Hybrid. EPA range: 38 miles electric/ 300 combined. ...
  • 2014 or 2015 Ford Energi C-Max Hybrid. EPA range: 20 miles electric/ 550 combined. ...
  • 2015 VW e-Golf. EPA range: 83 miles. ...
  • 2015 Nissan LEAF. ...
  • 2015 BMW i3. ...
  • 2016 Ford Fusion Energi. ...
  • 2016 VW e-Golf. ...
  • 2017 Chevy Volt.
Aug 18, 2022

What is the cheapest electric car in the market right now? ›

Nissan Leaf

Now it's the cheapest one you can buy. An extra $5,000 over the base price gets you a larger battery pack that provides 226 miles of range.

What is the most used electric car? ›

Out of the 25 states with the highest share of used electric car sales, the Nissan LEAF is the most popular used EV in the top seven states, as well as 18 states overall.
...
These are the most popular used electric vehicles by state.
Top 10 Used Electric Vehicles by Market Share
RankModelShare of Electric Overall
1Nissan LEAF27.7%
2Tesla Model S17.8%
3Fiat 500e9.1%
8 more rows
Mar 10, 2022

Which is the most reliable electric car? ›

The 11 most reliable electric cars
  • Hyundai Kona Electric (2018-present) Reliability rating: 89.1% ...
  • Renault Zoe (2013-present) Reliability rating: 89.4% ...
  • BMW i3 (2013-2022) ...
  • Nissan Leaf (2019-present) ...
  • Tesla Model 3 (2019-present) ...
  • Kia e-Niro (2019-2022) ...
  • Volkswagen e-Golf (2013-2020) ...
  • MG ZS EV (2019-present)
Oct 12, 2022

What is the biggest problem with electric car? ›

EV owners have experienced chronic problems with the display screens, exterior door lights, failing temperature sensors, mismatched paint, and seals and weatherstripping. It's not just that these problems occur, but that they occur at a higher rate than with conventional vehicles.

What is the average cost of a used electric car? ›

The average minimum listing price for used EVs that Recurrent tracks (including lots of like-new 2022 "used" cars) is $29,400.

How much is a battery for an electric car? ›

Depending on the vehicle, a battery will cost between $3,000 and $18,000 for an electric car. Here are the costs of a battery replacement for some popular electric vehicles (EVs):

How long do electric cars last? ›

Both of the mandated warranty numbers (8 years, 100,000 miles) for EV batteries far exceed the average ICE vehicle drivetrain warranty of 5 years or 60,000 miles. The average lifetime mileage of an ICE vehicle is about 133,000 miles.

How long do electric car batteries last? ›

“Today, most EV batteries have a life expectancy of 15 to 20 years within the car – and a second life beyond.” It's also worth noting that EV battery technology is still evolving, so as tech develops we expect batteries' lifespan to increase – as well as becoming cheaper, smaller and even lighter.

What is the number 1 electric car? ›

The best Electric Car is the 2022 Chevrolet Bolt, with an overall score of 8.4 out of 10. The best Luxury Electric Car is the 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS, with an overall score of 9.4 out of 10. What is the best electric SUV? The best Electric SUV is the 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5, with an overall score of 8.6 out of 10.

Is an electric car worth it? ›

In fact, over a 200,000-mile vehicle lifetime, an EV owner will spend roughly half as much on regular maintenance as they would for a gas-powered car, or an average of $6,276 vs. $12,285, according to Consumer Reports reliability surveys from 2019 and 2020. That's a win, even if gas prices correct to pre-2022 levels.

What company sold the most electric cars in 2022? ›

BYD Auto overtook Tesla to become the top-selling EV brand globally. The top 10 EV models accounted for more than 30% of global EV sales in Q2 2022.

Which EV is best value for money? ›

The best affordable EVs and how the federal tax credit can save you $7,500
  • 2023 Chevrolet Bolt EV. Best affordable EV overall. ...
  • 2023 Nissan Leaf. Most affordable electric car. ...
  • 2023 BMW 330e. Best performance from an affordable EV. ...
  • 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning. Best electric truck on a budget. ...
  • 2022 Volvo S60.
Oct 23, 2022

What is the disadvantages of electric cars? ›

These disadvantages include finding charging stations, charging times, higher initial costs, limited driving range, and battery packs can be expensive to replace.

Do electric cars break down less? ›

Electric cars are overall less likely to break down compared to gas-powered cars because they are less mechanically complex. With an electric car you won't need to: Perform fluid changes such as engine oil. Replace brakes as often due to regenerative braking.

How well do electric cars work in cold weather? ›

According to AAA's “Cold Weather Can Cut Electric Car Range by Over 40%”, EVs often lose 12% of their range in cold weather, but the loss leaps to 41% with the heater on full blast.

How will poor people afford electric cars? ›

California has spent more than $400m on various incentive programs to help lower-income drivers purchase zero-emission vehicles. There is the CC4A program, which offers up to $9,500 toward a down payment for an electric vehicle if the applicant turns in a vehicle older than a 2005 model.

What are 3 disadvantages of electric cars? ›

Disadvantages of owning an Electric Vehicle
  • The range of an electric car depends on its battery. ...
  • Recharge Points. ...
  • Battery repairs or replacement can be expensive. ...
  • EVs cause pollution and e-waste. ...
  • Low number of electric cars available to choose from. ...
  • Reduction in government grants. ...
  • Missing out on the driving experience.
Mar 28, 2022

Does High Mileage matter on an electric car? ›

Buying an electric car used is a great idea! Yes, mileage does matter on an electric car though not as much as on a traditional gas-powered vehicle. Mileage is an indicator of how much the car has been used, so lower milage cars mean the car is useable, but it's still relatively “new”.

How long does it take to charge an electric car? ›

The time it takes to charge an electric car can be as little as 30 minutes or more than 12 hours. This depends on the size of the battery and the speed of the charging point. A typical electric car (60kWh battery) takes just under 8 hours to charge from empty-to-full with a 7kW charging point.

Are electric car prices going up? ›

Skip forward to the second half of 2022, and EV prices are running away from ICE cars. The latest analysis from iSeeCars.com reveals just how much more expensive used EVs are, and recent MSRP hikes are driving new EV prices even higher.

Which EV is best value for money? ›

The best affordable EVs and how the federal tax credit can save you $7,500
  • 2023 Chevrolet Bolt EV. Best affordable EV overall. ...
  • 2023 Nissan Leaf. Most affordable electric car. ...
  • 2023 BMW 330e. Best performance from an affordable EV. ...
  • 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning. Best electric truck on a budget. ...
  • 2022 Volvo S60.
Oct 23, 2022

Which EV holds its value best? ›

Top 10 slowest-depreciating electric and hybrid cars 2022
  • Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo (70.41%) ...
  • Porsche Taycan RWD (69.14%) ...
  • MINI Electric (63.87%) ...
  • Volkswagen ID. ...
  • Volkswagen ID. ...
  • Audi e-tron GT (62.94%) ...
  • Toyota bZ4X (62.28%) ...
  • Renault Megane E-TECH Electric (62.09%)
Aug 11, 2022

Why are Nissan Leafs so cheap used? ›

Some of the factors contributing to the Leaf's low price include low battery range, depreciation, government incentives, outdated technology, and uninspiring design. Low battery range: On a new Leaf, the battery range is only 80 to 100 miles per charge, and this drops to around 50 miles per change on a used Leaf.

Is EV car worth buying? ›

Is it worth buying an electric car in India? If you are looking for an electric car for your short daily commutes, then an EV is worth the money as it will reduce your commute costs in the long run. The maintenance cost of an electric car is also less when compared to a conventional car.

How long do EV batteries last? ›

“Today, most EV batteries have a life expectancy of 15 to 20 years within the car – and a second life beyond.” It's also worth noting that EV battery technology is still evolving, so as tech develops we expect batteries' lifespan to increase – as well as becoming cheaper, smaller and even lighter.

How long do electric cars last? ›

Both of the mandated warranty numbers (8 years, 100,000 miles) for EV batteries far exceed the average ICE vehicle drivetrain warranty of 5 years or 60,000 miles. The average lifetime mileage of an ICE vehicle is about 133,000 miles.

How long does an electric car battery last? ›

Electric car battery technology

Most manufacturers have a five to eight-year warranty on their battery. However, the current prediction is that an electric car battery will last from 10 – 20 years before they need to be replaced.

What is the average replacement cost of an EV battery? ›

Experts say electric vehicle batteries typically cost between $2,000 and $10,000 to replace, but some are more expensive. Electric vehicles are growing in popularity worldwide, with sales doubling in 2021 to a new record of 6.6 million, the International Energy Agency said in May.

What is the slowest depreciating car? ›

Vehicles That Depreciate the Least
Top 10 Vehicles With the Lowest Depreciation - iSeeCars Study
RankModelAverage 5-Year Depreciation
1Jeep Wrangler9.2%
2Jeep Wrangler Unlimited10.5%
3Porsche 91112.8%
8 more rows

Will electric cars lose value? ›

The depreciation of electric vehicles stacks up well compared to petrol cars, which usually depreciate the fastest. Diesels have also seen higher depreciation in recent years, in part due to the controversy surrounding the diesel emissions scandal.

What is the lifespan of a Nissan LEAF battery? ›

The Nissan LEAF battery should be changed every 3-5 years.

How many miles will a Nissan LEAF go on a full charge? ›

Go up to 212 miles on a single charge with Nissan LEAF's available 60 kWh battery. Three different levels of charging means a plug-in is never out of reach. Wherever you are, if you've got a compatible smartphone, you're connected with your Nissan LEAF.

How long will a used Nissan LEAF last? ›

A well-used Nissan Leaf can last anywhere between 100,000 miles to 150,000 miles before requiring any major upgrade. Nissan provides a 100,000 miles warranty for the battery, which suggests you should be able to get at least eight to 10 years of service from the car.

What happens if your electric car runs out of battery? ›

Reviewed by Shannon Martin, Licensed Insurance Agent. If you're driving an electric car and it runs out of power, the short and simple answer is this: the car will stop—and you'll need to call roadside assistance to get towed to the nearest charging station.

What are the disadvantages of electric cars? ›

What are the downsides to electric cars?
  • Their batteries need rare metals. ...
  • Making electric cars creates more emissions. ...
  • They are only as green as their power sources. ...
  • Electric cars can be expensive to buy. ...
  • You can't drive as far in an electric car. ...
  • There aren't enough charging points.

Which is the most expensive component of an electric car? ›

A battery pack is the most expensive component of an EV.

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