Everyone knows the line about new cars losing value as soon as you drive it off a dealer’s lot. By the looks of the electric vehicles that were the worst at retaining their value, it seemed like EVs and plug-in hybrids were even more doomed than their gasoline counterparts.
Thankfully, the report on EV values provided by the National Auto Dealers Association (NADA) had one big asterisk: the data did not factor in available consumer incentives. Ranging from $2,500 to $7,500 in tax credits (federal incentive) to as much as $6,000 in state incentives, electric car consumers have huge discounts to access when buying new.
Looking at the NADA data, we can see which plug-in vehicles return more of their purchase price when buyers want to resell. Here are the seven best EVs at retaining their value after one year of ownership. The average trade-in price and average vehicle MSRP determined the numbers for each car.
7. BMW i3
A 2014 BMW i3 ran buyers an average $45,325 on dealer lots and brought back just $27,825 when trading it back in (presumably, for a shinier i8). That represents only 61% of the original purchase price, which somehow is seventh best on the EV market. Once we subtract (per California standards) $10,000 for available incentives, we see a brighter picture painted. The i3 retained nearly 80% of its value once the incentives enter the picture.
6. Ford Fusion Energi
The handsome Fusion Energi PHEV has lost some of its luster with gas prices so low in 2015, but it still ran near the top of the pack at retaining value. At an average MSRP of $35,525 for a 2014 model, buyers were getting back an average of $22,258 when passing it back to the dealership, good for 63% of its original worth. Knock off the $5,500 in incentives to $30,025 and you see the Fusion Energi holding onto 74% of its value after a year.
5. Toyota Prius Plug-in
Can you even find a Prius plugin hybrid? Since Toyota began phasing out this hybrid with a better plug-in on the way (thanks, California), it’s been tough for consumers to get their hands on one. Nonetheless, those that did drive a 2014 model home at an MSRP of $30,800 were only getting $21,200 (69%) back after a year of ownership. It gets better when you factor in the plug-in incentives. Prius PHEV buyers spent a post-rebate sum of $26,800 and saw 79% of the original price.
4. Honda Accord PHEV
When compared against the standard gasoline model ($22,105) , the Honda Accord plug-in ($40,570) is the most expensive upgrade you can make to EV technology. NADA data shows buyers were getting 70% ($28,325) of their money’s worth when they went back to the dealership after a year of owning one. Knock off the $5,126 in incentives and you see the Accord PHEV held about 80% of its original value.
3. Toyota RAV4 EV
Like the Prius PHEV, the RAV4 EV is longer produced by Toyota. (It’s not a conspiracy. Toyota is going all-in on fuel cell vehicles as the brand’s zero-emissions cars.) Buyers of this electric crossover paid an average of $50,660 and saw $36,108 (71.3%) return to them after a year of ownership. Knock off the $10,000 in California (the only market where the RAV4 EV was sold) and buyers were seeing closer to a 90% return after that year.
2. Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid
You would hope a $104,265 Porsche would hold onto some value, and the good news is the Panamera plug-in S E-Hybrid did, returning 78% ($81,725) after a year of ownership. Throw in the $4,751 the federal government offers to subsidize this Porsche and trade-ins were even more valuable ($86,476). That gave buyers a return of 83% a year later.
1. Tesla Model S
Until further notice, both the federal government ($7,500) and the state of California ($2,500) are happy to help with your purchase of a Tesla Model S with average MSRP of $93,890. After a year of ownership, the one or two people who actually traded back these exquisite EVs saw a return of 83% ($77,983), the best mark of the bunch before rebates are considered. Throw in the rebate and the Model S still wins, returning 93% of its value to California owners one year later.