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The used electric vehicle market is receiving an electric shock

In the used car market, it’s a bit upside down. The vehicle is usually depreciated as soon as it leaves the authorized dealership, but used vehicles sometimes look like investments, especially some electric car models.

For example, last December, the average price of a used Tesla Model S increased by 41% compared to December 2020, according to data from an analysis carried out by the AutoHebdo vehicle sales platform.

The increase in the value of used vehicles is unheard of, says Benoît Béland, senior marketing director of AutoHebdo.

“Dealers collect our used vehicles. »

– Quote from Benoît Béland, Senior Marketing Director, AutoHebdo

And this is especially true for electric vehicles, says Mr Béland.

In Quebec, searches for electric vehicles on the AutoHebdo website increased by 85% in March 2022 compared to the same period last year, and the number of consumers considering networking and requesting information from dealers through the AutoHebdo platform increased by 1218%. in one year!

Tesla Model Y connected to the charging station.

Photo: Getty Images / Brendon Thorne

In a situation where prices are rising sharply and supply no longer meets demand, we must be especially careful and carefully analyze prices, suggests senior marketing director AutoHebdo.

We have an algorithm on our platform that compares all prices of similar models in real time, so if we refine our search, it is very easy to find out whether the requested price is above average or below average, says Benoît Béland, who adds that even in this unprecedented context there are good opportunities for consumers who take the trouble to use the right tools and search carefully.

Profitability

CAA-Quebec automotive expert Jesse Caron gave a lecture this weekend on the myths and realities of electric vehicles and more on the purchase of such a used vehicle at the Montreal Electric Vehicle Show.

According to him, buying an electric vehicle, new or used, is generally more advantageous than buying its petrol equivalent.

“It is true that the price difference can be quite significant when buying, it can be an obstacle, but the smallest piece you drive with an electric car will start earning for you after a few years. »

– Quote from Jesse Caron, CAA-Quebec Automotive Expert

Jesse Caron supports his statements with very recent data analyzed by his team in anticipation of the Montreal Electric Vehicle Fair.

For example, these estimates suggest that the 2016 electric Kia Soul costs the used market almost $ 6,000 more than its gas-powered version, but avoids spending an average of $ 2,750 on fuel per year. The electrified version thus becomes the “best deal” after more than two years.

Hybrid vehicle.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Ismaël Amodeo

Still, according to CAA analysis, you have to pay about $ 3,600 more for the 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander plug-in hybrid than its gas equivalent. However, the plug-in hybrid version saves an average of $ 1,700 on fuel per year, making it more ‘profitable’ after two years.

Conventional hybrids are also less convenient for consumers who want to keep their vehicle for several years. For example, the 2017 Toyota RAV 4 Hybrid has a market value about $ 5,000 higher than its gasoline-only counterpart, but saves an average of $ 770 on fuel per year. The hybrid version of this used car thus becomes more economically attractive after about 6 years.

Have the battery analyzed

Jesse Caron strongly advises consumers to have the used vehicle battery they intend to purchase analyzed before concluding a transaction.

As they age, they lose autonomy, which is natural, the batteries degrade over time, says the CAA’s automotive expert, adding that this is especially true for the first electric vehicles, which came on the market ten years ago.

For some electric vehicles, it is possible to check the battery status by looking at the screen, but this method has its limitations.

Relying on the bars on the screen may be an option, but it’s better to find a workshop that performs the test using a device that accurately measures the percentage of battery degradation, Jesse Caron points out, adding that simply relying on information on the vehicle screen is like doing a visual inspection of a vehicle. without being checked by a mechanic.

The electric vehicle is being charged at the Matane fast charging station.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Isabelle Damphousse

If you need to replace the battery of an electric vehicle, which Jesse Caron says is very rare, the CAA recommends negotiating with the original manufacturer and avoiding the use of a third-party supplier.

According to AutoHebdo, two-thirds of Quebec consumers believe that their next vehicle will be an electric vehicle. In order to determine if a hybrid, plug-in hybrid, or fully electric formula is appropriate, it is better to ask yourself about the real needs in terms of autonomy and the type of journeys you plan to take. We must also take the time to analyze the subsidies offered by the various governments.

Only some models and years of used vehicles can get a discount in Quebec. Subsidies may also vary depending on the value of the vehicle and its battery capacity.