The Used EV Timebomb

by Paul Homewood at

Money Mail can today reveal a timebomb looming in the second-hand market for electric vehicles (EVs).

Our investigation found that many EVs could become almost impossible to resell because of their limited battery life.

Experts said that the average EV battery guarantee lasts just eight years. After this time, the battery may lose power more quickly and so reduce mileage between charges.

Many EVs will lose up to 12 per cent of their charge capacity by six years. Some may lose even more.

Yet the cost of replacing an EV battery is astonishingly high, our research found.

A five-year-old Renault Zoe costs £9,100 but a new battery will set you back £24,124

In some cases, the cost of a replacement battery is as much as £40,000. For certain EVs, the cost of replacing the battery could be ten times the value of the vehicle itself on the second-hand market.

That means used EVs have a limited lifespan — which makes them a bigger and bigger risk as the years go by.

Research into EV batteries is yet to be conclusive and the second-hand EV market is new, given the first popular EVs were rolled off the production line in 2009.

Last night, one motoring expert said customers should be wary of buying a used electric car beyond its warranty (typically eight years), as after that timespan there is no easy way of measuring how much the battery will degrade before it needs replacing.

This may mean you end up needing to pay for an expensive new battery.

Motor expert Shahzad Sheikh, who runs the YouTube channel Brown Car Guy, said: ‘With a decaying battery, the range will be poor and you may find it becomes increasingly hard to resell the vehicle after eight years.

Buyers will know that they’ll only get a small amount of life out of the car so will pay only a small sum, if anything at all.’

This problem is exacerbated by the fact all new cars coming onto the market by 2035 will be electric and motorists will have to get used to paying around £10,000 more than it’s petrol equivalent, for a vehicle which is not built to last as long.