More and more drivers are switching to electric vehicles; it’s no wonder. Record-setting gas prices are one reason why some car owners want to wean off fossil fuels. While others prefer lower maintenance requirements.
Regardless of the rationale for switching to an electric vehicle (EV), the move away from internal combustion engines is radically transforming the auto industry. New electric-only automakers like Tesla dominate news coverage, and conventional brands like Cadillac and Lexus are promising all-electric lineups by the end of the decade.
But prior to the whole world going electric (and that will take some time), you might favor being part of the vanguard. The good news is that there are numerous used electric cars to consider. Let’s dive into some of the best choices.
Before we check out the best electric cars, let’s explore the advantages of driving an EV.
The average new gas-powered car sold in 2020 gets 25.7 miles per gallon. Someone who drives one of these vehicles 12,000 miles per year (and pays $4 for a gallon of gas) will annually spend about $1,868 on fill-ups (12,000 ➗ 25.7 X 4 = 1,867.70). The typical 2022 EV has an MPGe rating of 97. According to a 2020 U.S. Department of Energy study, it costs an average of $0.04 per mile to recharge an electric vehicle. Using the 12,000-mile annual benchmark, this EV owner would shell out $480 for recharges. That’s a yearly difference of $1,388 (or $116 per month). Here’s another look.
The fewer moving parts of an electric vehicle also means fewer repairs and less maintenance. Do electric cars use oil? Nope. There are also no filters to replace or fluids to check (other than washer fluid). About the only thing to worry about with an EV is tires, brakes, and the suspension. The cabin air filter needs replacement every few years. And the air conditioning needs minor servicing during the same timeframe.
It’s hard to put a price on some of the benefits of owning an electric vehicle. But, nonetheless, some shopping centers offer preferred EV parking and free or reduced-price charging. Depending on where you live, there may be better highway travel lanes for zero-emission vehicles. And the convenience of charging at home and driving past the gas station is priceless.
The quirky and cube-shaped i3 doesn’t look like the typical sleek BMW, but this EV is the real deal. Depending on the model year and equipment, the i3 has an all-electric range of up to 153 miles. For models equipped with a gas-powered range extender (think of it as a generator), an i3 can travel up to 200 miles.
What’s really surprising about the i3 is its spacious interior. There’s generous legroom in both rows and plenty of headroom. Three trims provide a variety of features. The base Mega World includes cloth seats and 19-inch wheels, Giga World adds wool and leather upholstery and a sunroof, and Terra World bumps the interior up to full leather seating. The wonders of BMW depreciation can make the i3 an unexpected bargain.
During his tenure as Fiat CEO, the late Sergio Marchionne remarked that the automaker lost $20,000 for every 500e the company sold. But don’t feel sorry for Fiat. Instead, take advantage of cheap electric cars for sale. While never a sales success, people bought the 500e as the ideal urban vehicle and grocery getter.
The range is modest (up to 87 miles), which accounts for the limited pool of buyers. But this helps keep resale prices down, making the 500e a great casual-use car with hardly any operating costs. Unlike other EVs with unique body styles, the 500e carries the same cute looks as the gas-powered version.
Focus Electric is one of Ford’s earliest efforts to get an EV into its showrooms. Based on the third-generation Focus five-door hatchback, the electric version has a range of up to 115 miles (depending on the model year). Less than 10,000 got sold between 2011 and 2018, making this a hard-to-find used electric car.
A unique version of the MyFord Touch system enables owners to use a smartphone app to remotely monitor and control vehicle charging. While this may seem an ordinary feature today, this was breakthrough technology ten years ago. The system also allowed monitoring of all vehicle operations that drained the battery, such as climate control.
On the opposite end of Ford’s EV spectrum is the Mustang Mach-E. While the car carries the legendary Mustang name, it’s an all-new crossover with nothing in common with its namesake car. The Mach-E is Ford’s first car designed from the ground up as an electric-only vehicle. While only launching for the 2020 model year, there are a surprising number of used Mach-E models on the second-hand market.
Awards for this Ford poured in, including Car and Driver’s EV of the Year and the North American Car of the Year (presented by a panel of automotive journalists). Mach-E specs include up to 314 miles of range (California Route 1 edition with rear-wheel drive) and a neck-snapping 0-60 mph time of 3.5 seconds (GT Performance Edition).
Debuting in the U.S. in 2019, the Kia Niro EV offers a modern all-electric crossover at a mainstream price. Although the Niro was available in hybrid forms, the EV version is the star of the show with a 239-mile range. Crisp, contemporary looks also make this compact SUV right at home in the parking lot or driveway.
At the heart of the front-drive Niro EV is a 64 kWh battery paired with a 150 kW motor, making 201 horsepower and 291 lb-ft of torque. What also makes this Kia a standout is DC fast charging capability. At a recharge rate of up to 77 kW, the Niro EV can be refreshed up to 80 percent in about 60 minutes (using a Level 3 charger).
The Kia Soul EV, which preceded the Niro EV, followed a familiar formula; electrify an already existing automobile (like the Fiat 500e and the Ford Focus Electric). As such, initial ranges got limited: 93 miles (2015-2017) or 111 miles (2018-2019). For its final year (2020), things improved to 243 miles thanks to technology borrowed from the Niro EV.
The front-drive Soul always gets the nod for five-door functionality and decent interior space in a small package. These attributes carried over when Kia adapted the Soul into an EV. If the range isn’t overly important (like if you just need around-the-town transportation), look for used examples from the earlier model years to save some money.
What Tesla did for high-end EVs, the Nissan Leaf did for mainstream EVs. Beating Tesla to the punch, the Leaf gets kudos for being the first mass-produced EV to hit the market. It debuted for the 2011 model year and opened the eyes of many car shoppers. Its flowing five-door body style was unique enough to make it stand out from the crowd.
The range for the first-generation Leaf was modest (up to 84 miles by 2016). But this improved when the second generation appeared in 2017. The Leaf maxed out at a 151-mile range in base form, while the Leaf Plus gets rated for 226 miles. Significantly, the Leaf is notorious for significant depreciation. This makes a pre-owned Leaf a great value and one to add to the list of cheap electric cars for sale.
The Model 3 became a breakthrough vehicle for Tesla when it debuted in 2017. With a starting price well under the flagship Model S, the Model 3 quickly rose to break sales records for Tesla and the EV industry. The car also managed to shake up conventional car sales as luxury brands like BMW and Mercedes-Benz lost market share to this upstart.
Due to constant factory tweaking, the Model 3’s range figures vary greatly. At a minimum, the standard range version has a rating of 220 miles, while the all-wheel-drive long-range edition can eke out as much as 353 miles. Of course, access to the famed Tesla Supercharger network is an appealing prospect for long-distance drivers.
The Model S gets credit for getting Tesla out of obscurity and bringing the nascent EV industry to the forefront of the automotive world. Before its 2012 introduction, all Tesla had to offer was the original Roadster (a modified Lotus that gets credit as one of the first electric convertible cars). Once stalwart luxury sedans like the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class got left in the sales dust by the Model S. In the last quarter of 2021, the Model S outsold the BMW by 500 percent and the Mercedes by 1,000 percent.
Like with Model 3, the Model S’s range varies significantly by year and configuration. EPA ratings for this run from 249 to 402 miles. Check the range as you consider used Teslas for sale. You’ll also want to review if the Tesla Model S for sale has rear-wheel or all-wheel drive.
America loves SUVs, so it’s no surprise that Tesla buyers love the Model Y SUV. And for 2021, the Model Y topped the Model 3 as the brand’s best-seller. While the Model X was Tesla’s first SUV, the more moderate pricing of the Model Y was sure to be a winner. The lack of the X’s rear gullwing doors undoubtedly helped in the price department.
The Model Y comes in three flavors: Standard Range, Long Range, and Performance. And, of course, the EPA-estimated range fluctuates based on equipment. That means 244 to 330 miles for the Model Y.
Whether you’re just curious about EVs or are ready to drive away in the latest all-electric vehicle, Trust Auto has the electric cars near you. Our selection of premium pre-owned EVs and hybrids lets you explore beyond just one brand. And our constantly updated inventory means there’s always something new to check out. Contact us today to schedule a test drive or learn about our all-online shopping service.
Posted Wednesday, March 23, 2022