If freedom from the ups and downs of gas prices appeals to you, an electric car may be a good choice. With an increasing number of pre-owned electric cars on the market in a wide range of prices, buying used makes financial sense. But before you take the plunge, it helps to do some homework. Check out these tips in order to get the best vehicle for your budget and needs.
Avoid “range anxiety” and take a close look at battery size, or power. This affects the range of the car, or how far it can drive on a single charge. Consider your driving habits. Will you need to drive long distances between charges? Are there places to charge along the routes you frequently drive? If not, opt for the most powerful battery that you can afford.
Check out the car’s vehicle history report which is something a reputable dealership should provide at no extra cost. As with all cars, you can see if the vehicle was maintained on schedule and if it has been in accidents. An important consideration for electric cars is the climate that the car was driven in as extreme heat can decrease battery life.
To see how much it will cost to charge your electric car, take note of the kilowatt hours (kWh) per 100 miles. Then take a look at your electric bill for cost per kWh and do some calculating. Figure out if there are places you can charge your car for free, such as at work or where you shop.
The cost of replacing your battery is another consideration. Although the cost of batteries has been dropping, the range can still be between $1,000 and $6,000 or more. Research a car battery’s expected lifespan and take note of the miles you have left on the battery warranty.
Find a mechanic
If you’re working with a dealership, make sure that a certified mechanic knows electric cars well and has performed a thorough inspection on the car. A trusted dealership will be selective about the cars they choose to sell.
If you’re buying direct from the car owner, it pays to take the car to a mechanic experienced with electric cars. Although there is usually no traditional combustion engine (sometimes there is), there are specific issues that the mechanic will know to look for.
Check for recalls
Visit the manufacturer’s website or call their customer service line to see if the car has been recalled for defects. Check the service record to see if those recalls were handled appropriately.
Take a test drive
Take extra time when test driving an electric car. First, take a look around. Note where the charging port is to see if it would be easy to plug in at home. Note whether there is sufficient cargo space for grocery trips, golf outings, or whatever else you plan to use the car for.
When driving the vehicle, take it on your usual daily routes as well as in freeway traffic. Are you comfortable with how quiet the car is and with the feel of its regenerative braking system? How does it handle? A trustworthy seller or dealership will allow you the time to get to know the car, provide you with all the information you need, and not pressure you into a sale. If possible, test drive more than one electric car within your price range and compare features so that you can make a confident and informed choice.