The U.S. electric vehicle market recently marked its fifth anniversary of business, and in that time we witnessed a progression from the anemic Mitsubishi i-MiEV to the all-powerful Tesla Model S P90D. It’s a breathtaking range of product development, but in spite of the encouraging signs there has been little penetration on the sales charts.
High battery costs have been at least partly responsible for sluggish sales. As we see longer-range EVs hitting the market at reasonable prices, the possibility to take a real chunk of the market will become real. In the meantime, consumers who want to go electric have a burgeoning used car market to tap with most vehicles 4 years old or less.
Looking at the choices, the limited range of this generation has become something of an asset. Used EV buyers are shopping mainly among vehicles with 30,000 miles or fewer on the odometer. Factoring in depreciation and the use of incentives, owners will sell at a fraction of the sticker price a few years after purchase. Those looking for an affordable, green commuter car are the winners here.
Here are five electric vehicles with used models selling for under $11,000, ranked from the highest to lowest price. Listings were sourced at Cars.com.
5. Fiat 500e
The Fiat 500e compliance car has only been available in Oregon and California in limited quantities over the past few years, but used models are already on the market for under $13,000. This car features 87 miles of range and has gotten mainly positive feedback from reviewers. Aside from one 2013 model with 32,911 miles for $10,995, Cars.com listings featured a 2015 edition with hardly any miles at all for $11,450.
4. Chevy Spark EV
Though it has only been on the market as a compliance car since mid-2013, the Chevy Spark EV has decent pre-owned availability in California. EV consumers can get a 2014 model in the 2LT trim (the better of the two available) for as little as $10,991 with 39,375 miles. Another 2014 Spark 2LT with just 13,426 miles is selling for $12,950. This model can cover 82 miles on a full charge.
3. Ford Focus Electric
The Ford Focus Electric has been available in limited quantities since December 2011, and many low-mileage options from the 2012 model year are available for less than $10,000, a far cry from the original $39,995 MSRP. On Cars.com, the best price for a Ford Certified model was $9,988 with 36,134 miles on the odometer. Better yet, a black 2014 model with 4,500 miles is listed at $8,990. Focus Electric can cover 76 miles with a full battery.
2. Mitsubishi i-MiEV
The Mitsubishi i-MiEV has been on the market since the end of 2011, but its low sales volumes make it a rather tough find on the used EV market. That likely suits consumers fine, but if you are looking for this mini model there are several available for less than $7,000. A 2012 edition with 19,331 miles was listed at $6,995, while another with just 11,028 miles could be had for $7,200. We imagine these prices are negotiable further.
1. Nissan Leaf
The Nissan Leaf debuted in 2010 and set the EV sales record in 2014, and its used car inventory reflects that popularity and longevity. Over 1,200 models are available on Cars.com, with the best prices coming in below $6,000. A 2012 Leaf SL with 57,550 miles was listed at $5,985. One 2012 model from the higher SV trim with 39,875 miles was going for $6,900. These models match the 84 miles of range available in the 2016 Leaf S.