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Tips on Scoring Deals on Tesla and Other Electric Cars

Getting a deal on an electric car is now easier than it has ever been.  Buying a new car usually means that you will be eligible for some sort of tax incentives, whether they are federal, state, or even local.  But these days there is another option– buying used.  In the recent past, the idea of a used electric car was almost nonsensical due to the lack of cars on the market.  As time goes on, however, and more good quality electric cars are released, more used electric vehicles with great deals are finally hitting the market.

Buying Used Just Makes Sense

Buying an electric car, in general, is smart from a maintenance standpoint.  They generally require less maintenance and repairs than their gas-powered counterparts.  With less moving parts to worry about, there is just less to go wrong.  Sure, battery-pack degradation can happen, but when it does happen in a substantial amount, it usually affects an individual car rather than a particular model or brand.  That is why it is so important to get the battery tested before making any used electric car purchase.  According to the AAA, electric vehicles have the lowest maintenance and repair costs (6.6 cents per mile) out of any other vehicle on the market.

By far the largest incentive to buy used, though, is that electric vehicles experience ridiculous depreciation.  In fact, they depreciate more than any other type of vehicle.  According to the car-deal search engine iSeeCars, the average new electric vehicle loses 56.6 percent of its original value in three years.  The average of all vehicles is 38.2 percent in that same time. 

At the same time, electric vehicles seem to come with below-average resale values.  And that is where consumers can really win. 

Current Electric Car Deals

With new electric vehicles coming to the market all the time, more and more used models are showing up on places like Craigslist, manufacturer’s websites, and other used car shopping sites.  Shift, which is one of those sites, reported that the number of used electric vehicles sold on their platform tripled during the first half of the year when compared to last year.  If you add in hybrids, the numbers look even better.  “Twenty percent of what we sell is hybrid or electric,” says Shift co-CEO Toby Russell.

Since it has nearly been a decade since the release of cars like older Nissan Leafs and Chevrolet Volts, it is not unusual to find one of them being sold for $5-$10k.  Sure, the range of these early generation cars is nothing to speak of at maybe 40-50 miles after battery degradation, but for a starter car or a short commute, they could work for some.  Vehicles such as the BMW i3 are showing up on resale sites for around $15k, with a likely range of 60-70 miles (at least for the 1st generation models). 

If you are dead-set on a Tesla, used models come and go on Tesla’s official website all the time.  A new Model S will probably run you $75k-$79k, but 2016 models are available at around $40k.  That is a nice chunk of savings right there, for something that likely only has about 30k miles on it.

The point is, used electric car deals are out there, and the number will only increase as more new models are available on the market.  If you want to give electric vehicles a try without spending a ton of money, now is a great time to look into it.

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