Author Topic: Best used electric car to buy under $10,000?  (Read 1669 times)

FrugalSaver

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Best used electric car to buy under $10,000?
« on: April 14, 2019, 10:35:06 AM »
My car is paid off so trying to weigh the cost vs ROI

rothwem

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Re: Best used electric car to buy under $10,000?
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2019, 07:04:13 AM »
Nissan Leaf.

AccidentialMustache

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Re: Best used electric car to buy under $10,000?
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2019, 07:07:11 AM »
Have you considered an e-bike instead? Lots less expensive, but also good for minimizing miles on the dino juice drinker.

CowboyAndIndian

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Re: Best used electric car to buy under $10,000?
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2019, 07:16:00 AM »
Did you read thru the thread by @sol ?

He did quite a detailed analysis of buying a leaf. It may be a couple of years old, but the same principles hold.

MasterStache

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Re: Best used electric car to buy under $10,000?
« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2019, 07:18:48 AM »
I second the Leaf. I live in a part of the country where electric cars, not named Tesla, are quite rare. Found a great deal on a 2014 Leaf with low miles and lots of battery life for less than 8K. Car has been fantastic.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2019, 07:21:55 AM by MasterStache »

ender

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Re: Best used electric car to buy under $10,000?
« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2019, 07:32:55 AM »
What sort of range is reasonable on a used Leaf?

My current daily driver is getting older in age and my work has free charging. I've considered a used Leaf type of vehicle because of the fact that I drive my current car almost exclusively in my immediate town area.

sol

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Re: Best used electric car to buy under $10,000?
« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2019, 08:15:32 AM »
Did you read thru the thread by @sol ?

He did quite a detailed analysis of buying a leaf. It may be a couple of years old, but the same principles hold.

That thread is from 2016, but here it is if you want to read all about it:  https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/buying-a-nissan-leaf/

There's a bunch of stuff in there about the costs of operation.  Short answer: about 2.5 cents per mile in electricity and virtually zero in other costs.  In three years, I've replaced the wiper blades once and that's it.

What sort of range is reasonable on a used Leaf?

We typically don't even charge ours to 100% of the battery capacity, because we still get about 60 miles per charge out of it on the partial charge that is supposedly better for the long-term health of the battery.  And we can drive more than 60 miles in a day, of course, by charging it during the day between trips.  And we do occasionally charge to 100% if we expect to be doing more driving than usual the next day.

MasterStache

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Re: Best used electric car to buy under $10,000?
« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2019, 09:15:25 AM »
What sort of range is reasonable on a used Leaf?

My current daily driver is getting older in age and my work has free charging. I've considered a used Leaf type of vehicle because of the fact that I drive my current car almost exclusively in my immediate town area.

Depends on how large the immediate area is. I am doing a side job right now that's about 45 miles round trip. I drive all back roads and have plenty of charge left when I get home. On most days though the kind folks let me plug in at there house. I don't need to, it's just a perk of the job ( :

sol

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Re: Best used electric car to buy under $10,000?
« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2019, 09:29:25 AM »
The range is also dependent on the type of driving you do.  Unlike gasoline powered cars, EVs get better mileage in city traffic than they do on the highway because they have regenerative breaking and because lower speeds means less air resistance.  So you'll get the worst possible range if your entire trip is on the interstate at 70mph, and the best possible range if you're tooling around town at 30mph and waiting on stop lights every few blocks.  That's as true in a Tesla as it is in a Leaf.

One of the things I like most about my electric car is that it no longer bothers me to get totally stuck in traffic, or at a long light, because it is using no energy to just there.  I always hated listening to my gas engine idle along for three minutes while accomplishing nothing, like watching a dollar bill slowly burn from one end to the other.  Of course, it's also possible that traffic no longer bothers me because I'm retired now, and thus spend virtually no time stuck in traffic and am generally not in a hurry on the rare occasions when it does happen.  Very few things stress me out anymore.

But the short answer to the range question is to just look up the EPA's range estimates.  The 2011-14 Leafs were rated for 84 miles per charge when new, and should be at >90% of that range as used cars if they've been well cared for.  You will get more or less depending on your driving style and route selection.  You can occasionally find used Leafs with badly abused batteries from hot climates that will only show like 45 miles of range on a full charge, but they generally go for dirt cheap because of it. 


MasterStache

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Re: Best used electric car to buy under $10,000?
« Reply #9 on: April 16, 2019, 05:54:29 AM »
The range is also dependent on the type of driving you do.  Unlike gasoline powered cars, EVs get better mileage in city traffic than they do on the highway because they have regenerative breaking and because lower speeds means less air resistance.  So you'll get the worst possible range if your entire trip is on the interstate at 70mph, and the best possible range if you're tooling around town at 30mph and waiting on stop lights every few blocks.  That's as true in a Tesla as it is in a Leaf.

One of the things I like most about my electric car is that it no longer bothers me to get totally stuck in traffic, or at a long light, because it is using no energy to just there.  I always hated listening to my gas engine idle along for three minutes while accomplishing nothing, like watching a dollar bill slowly burn from one end to the other.  Of course, it's also possible that traffic no longer bothers me because I'm retired now, and thus spend virtually no time stuck in traffic and am generally not in a hurry on the rare occasions when it does happen.  Very few things stress me out anymore.

But the short answer to the range question is to just look up the EPA's range estimates.  The 2011-14 Leafs were rated for 84 miles per charge when new, and should be at >90% of that range as used cars if they've been well cared for.  You will get more or less depending on your driving style and route selection.  You can occasionally find used Leafs with badly abused batteries from hot climates that will only show like 45 miles of range on a full charge, but they generally go for dirt cheap because of it.

My DW will drive the Leaf to work on occasion. The first 10 miles or so is quite a bit of downhill, a couple small uphills and the rest is relatively flat. The Leaf will actually show more battery charge after those 10 miles. It's kind of funny to see.

Geographer

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Re: Best used electric car to buy under $10,000?
« Reply #10 on: April 16, 2019, 06:27:30 AM »
Is it better to purchase a used leaf or go for a new one with the $7,500 tax credit?

thd7t

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Re: Best used electric car to buy under $10,000?
« Reply #11 on: April 16, 2019, 06:42:36 AM »
Is it better to purchase a used leaf or go for a new one with the $7,500 tax credit?
Unless you live in a state with additional subsidies, a used Leaf is probably going to be more cost effective.  I bought one with 50k miles for $7k out the door in January.  It suits my commute really well and I can't imagine that the cost of a new leaf would be worth the 50,000 mile difference.

CCCA

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Re: Best used electric car to buy under $10,000?
« Reply #12 on: April 16, 2019, 11:52:56 AM »
based on my craigslist perusal in the bay area, the leaf is probably the cheapest EV to get, though you probably have to watch out for battery degradation and whether it'll match up with your normal daily driving patterns. 


In terms of PHEVs, they seem to hold their value better and the cheapest one I've seen are the Ford CMAX energi which has 29 miles range, so even if you have to use some gas, you can probably replace many, if not most, of your gasoline consumption with electricity.  With the added benefit that you can take it on long road trips and it's still efficient (operates like a hybrid when the battery is depleted). 


TheAnonOne

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Re: Best used electric car to buy under $10,000?
« Reply #13 on: April 16, 2019, 12:40:14 PM »
Probably a volt. Best of both worlds actually.

ketchup

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Re: Best used electric car to buy under $10,000?
« Reply #14 on: April 16, 2019, 01:22:37 PM »
Probably a volt. Best of both worlds actually.
One thing to watch out for with a Volt is the extremely low ground clearance.  Something like 4 inches.  I know I couldn't make that work on my shitty rural long driveway.

RWD

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Re: Best used electric car to buy under $10,000?
« Reply #15 on: April 16, 2019, 03:16:16 PM »
Probably a volt. Best of both worlds actually.
One thing to watch out for with a Volt is the extremely low ground clearance.  Something like 4 inches.  I know I couldn't make that work on my shitty rural long driveway.
This page says 4.7 inches, I wouldn't call that extremely low. For reference a similar era Prius is 5.5 inches.

surpasspro

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Re: Best used electric car to buy under $10,000?
« Reply #16 on: April 16, 2019, 08:17:49 PM »
I have a Chevy Volt and you can get a great deal on one now.  I have a 2014, about 40 miles on electric and then the gas engine kicks in for over a 300 mile range.  You don't have the range anxiety like you would with a Leaf.  If you're commute is short you're barely using gas.

Pizzabrewer

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Re: Best used electric car to buy under $10,000?
« Reply #17 on: April 16, 2019, 08:38:22 PM »
Here's what I'm looking for and haven't found yet. 

My wife and I each have a 3 mile commute to work.  She has a 2009 Honda Accord, I have a 2002 Subaru Outback.  When the time comes to replace one of them, I'd like a very-battery-degraded Nissan Leaf.  Because it should be ultra-cheap but would suit our needs.

Yet, every time I search for 2012 or so Leafs, they are ~$10k.

Pizzabrewer

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Re: Best used electric car to buy under $10,000?
« Reply #18 on: April 16, 2019, 08:40:58 PM »
You can occasionally find used Leafs with badly abused batteries from hot climates that will only show like 45 miles of range on a full charge, but they generally go for dirt cheap because of it.

Yeah, that's exactly what I'm looking for.

sol

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Re: Best used electric car to buy under $10,000?
« Reply #19 on: April 16, 2019, 09:01:20 PM »
You can occasionally find used Leafs with badly abused batteries from hot climates that will only show like 45 miles of range on a full charge, but they generally go for dirt cheap because of it.

Yeah, that's exactly what I'm looking for.

You're shooting for a very narrow window of cars.  Most of the 2010-13 cars that had real battery issues had their batteries replaced under warranty, and then later years (2014 and on) had better battery chemistry.  You need one of those first model cars that wasn't quite bad enough to warrant a free battery replacement, but was still abused badly enough to cut into its resale value.  Without being a salvage title. 

They're out there, but you may have to shop for a while.

Or, you know, get a $500 bicycle and a little free exercise.  It's only 3 miles.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2019, 09:04:24 PM by sol »

Pizzabrewer

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Re: Best used electric car to buy under $10,000?
« Reply #20 on: April 16, 2019, 09:07:58 PM »

Or, you know, get a $500 bicycle and a little free exercise.  It's only 3 miles.

LOL.  Yeah.  Unfortunately the 3 miles are not at all bicycle-friendly.  Although not interstates most of the trek would be a hi-speed road with no bike accommodations. 

FrugalSaver

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Re: Best used electric car to buy under $10,000?
« Reply #21 on: April 16, 2019, 09:40:09 PM »

Or, you know, get a $500 bicycle and a little free exercise.  It's only 3 miles.

LOL.  Yeah.  Unfortunately the 3 miles are not at all bicycle-friendly.  Although not interstates most of the trek would be a hi-speed road with no bike accommodations.

Same problem here.  I'd have about an 8 mile commute each way. 

minnie1928

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Re: Best used electric car to buy under $10,000?
« Reply #22 on: April 16, 2019, 10:07:53 PM »
I vote Volt....I looked at used Leafs a few years ago and the crash test ratings were better on the Volt.  The Volt also has the flexibility of converting to gas on longer trips if needed.

MasterStache

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Re: Best used electric car to buy under $10,000?
« Reply #23 on: April 17, 2019, 05:14:47 AM »
I vote Volt....I looked at used Leafs a few years ago and the crash test ratings were better on the Volt.  The Volt also has the flexibility of converting to gas on longer trips if needed.

Haven't seen a Volt around here for under 10K. YMMV of course. Our second car is a Prius, which we use for longer trips.

ketchup

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Re: Best used electric car to buy under $10,000?
« Reply #24 on: April 17, 2019, 08:51:04 AM »
Probably a volt. Best of both worlds actually.
One thing to watch out for with a Volt is the extremely low ground clearance.  Something like 4 inches.  I know I couldn't make that work on my shitty rural long driveway.
This page says 4.7 inches, I wouldn't call that extremely low. For reference a similar era Prius is 5.5 inches.
Well, our Kia Spectra and Volvo V70 both have ~6.3" of ground clearance, and I don't think of either as particularly tall.  On my driveway I wouldn't want much lower than that.

Pizzabrewer

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Re: Best used electric car to buy under $10,000?
« Reply #25 on: April 17, 2019, 09:41:32 AM »
I vote Volt....I looked at used Leafs a few years ago and the crash test ratings were better on the Volt.  The Volt also has the flexibility of converting to gas on longer trips if needed.

One of the biggest attractions (to me) of going electric is getting rid of the gas engine with its associated costs (oil changes, exhaust system, etc).

sol

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Re: Best used electric car to buy under $10,000?
« Reply #26 on: April 17, 2019, 10:41:37 AM »
I vote Volt....I looked at used Leafs a few years ago and the crash test ratings were better on the Volt.  The Volt also has the flexibility of converting to gas on longer trips if needed.

One of the biggest attractions (to me) of going electric is getting rid of the gas engine with its associated costs (oil changes, exhaust system, etc).

I agree.  That Volt isn't the best of both worlds, it's the worst of both worlds.  It has terrible EV-only range, and all of the delicate and breakable moving parts (and associated pollution) of an ICE.  It's a great car for some people, namely people with small families who only own a single vehicle, but it's not great as an EV and it's not great as an ICE. 

My family of five has two vehicles.  We use a Leaf for shopping, commuting, and shuttling kids around, and we use a minivan for taking the whole family on long road trips, for hauling cargo, and for towing.  Perhaps not coincidentally, this appears to be the same arrangement that MMM stumbled upon. 

thd7t

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Re: Best used electric car to buy under $10,000?
« Reply #27 on: April 17, 2019, 11:51:18 AM »
I would worry that with primarily electric use, a plug-in hybrid would be subject to bad gas.  My daily drive is only around 15 miles and I would probably almost never fill the tank.  I know that it doesn't have a carburetor to etch, but it probably wouldn't be good for the ICE portion of the car.

nereo

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Re: Best used electric car to buy under $10,000?
« Reply #28 on: April 17, 2019, 12:16:26 PM »
I would worry that with primarily electric use, a plug-in hybrid would be subject to bad gas.  My daily drive is only around 15 miles and I would probably almost never fill the tank.  I know that it doesn't have a carburetor to etch, but it probably wouldn't be good for the ICE portion of the car.
The Volt (and most other hybrid vehicles) use algorithms to determine when to use gasoline and when to run off the batteries.  Incorporated into those calculations are how long it has been since the ICE fired up.  For perspective, my parents have a Volt and drive 10+ miles about once in a blue moon, but several times a month the ICE engine kicks on anyway even when battery power is high, exclusively to avoid such problems. 

Agree with others that buying a Volt saddles you with all the maintenance issues of a ICE. 'Range anxiety' is nothing more than sychological for about 90% of drivers: charging options are becoming plentiful even in more rural corridors, and the range on even 6 year old vehicles exceeds the vast majority of round-trip outings.

surpasspro

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Re: Best used electric car to buy under $10,000?
« Reply #29 on: April 17, 2019, 12:40:12 PM »
I've owned a Volt for 5 years, so I can speak as an actual owner.  The only time the ICE kicks in is in the winter at very cold temps.  Rare that it turns the ICE on other than that or if the car has been sitting a very long time to burn off a little stale gas.  Otherwise you are always on electric.  You can force the car to go to gas only "hold mode" if you want to.  I actually do that on purpose sometimes on long travel, so I save my electric miles for city traffic vs highway.  I'm almost at 50k miles on the car and due up for only my 3rd oil change.  Haven't changed tires or brakes yet (drive in low gear and save on brakes and regen more electricity).  So it doesn't have the same maintenance as a normal ICE even with the backup engine.

The biggest downside of electric is cold weather which reduces your electric miles as well as turning the heat on full blast.  I don't worry about it since I have the engine to back me up.   My commute to work is 12 miles roundtrip and I never use gas, other than in winter for the reasons I stated.  It gives me the flexibility to go on trip over 300 without stopping which I do on occasion.  Its the perfect commuter car for under 40 miles rt a day.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2019, 12:45:26 PM by surpasspro »

moof

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Re: Best used electric car to buy under $10,000?
« Reply #30 on: April 21, 2019, 04:17:13 PM »
Avoid the Leaf.  It has awful battery degradation compared to every other semi-common competitor.  Even in moderate Oregon ours is down 30% from new.  Worse yet, regen gets turned down as the battery degrades, resulting in well more than a 30% usable range degradation.  Replacement batteries are now about $9k out the door.  I will never buy another Leaf, or another Nissan.

CanuckExpat

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Re: Best used electric car to buy under $10,000?
« Reply #31 on: April 21, 2019, 07:02:44 PM »
In terms of PHEVs, they seem to hold their value better and the cheapest one I've seen are the Ford CMAX energi which has 29 miles range, so even if you have to use some gas, you can probably replace many, if not most, of your gasoline consumption with electricity.  With the added benefit that you can take it on long road trips and it's still efficient (operates like a hybrid when the battery is depleted).

We went with a PHEV. A 2015 C-Max Energi, purchased for about $13,000 at ~25k miles. It was hard to find many used PHEVs, I don't know if they were ever that popular. My wife really likes the car and having both EV only driving, or hybrid driving. It's warming on me, but my best description would be so-so with many compromises. But it's probably going to be gateway drug to an EV

We're a family of four (+2), and it is our only car. We do many (too many) long road trips, with in town driving mainly limited to short shuttle stops, groceries, etc. So a plug in hybrid seems like it makes sense.

We need to own the vehicle longer to evaluate fully, but my opinion is that while it's nice to be able to drive in electric only for short trips (20 to 30 miles), I'm not impressed with the efficiency in gasoline mode. This might be because Ford isn't great at making a small engine, or because of the comprimises associated with carrying two drive trains + a heavy battery bank.

Consider your needs well. A bike and/or ebike can replace a lot of short trips as well

My wife and I each have a 3 mile commute to work.  She has a 2009 Honda Accord, I have a 2002 Subaru Outback.

People already mentioned it, but you know you can get used ebikes for under $500 right? :)

TheAnonOne

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Re: Best used electric car to buy under $10,000?
« Reply #32 on: April 21, 2019, 08:16:05 PM »
I vote Volt....I looked at used Leafs a few years ago and the crash test ratings were better on the Volt.  The Volt also has the flexibility of converting to gas on longer trips if needed.

One of the biggest attractions (to me) of going electric is getting rid of the gas engine with its associated costs (oil changes, exhaust system, etc).

I agree.  That Volt isn't the best of both worlds, it's the worst of both worlds.  It has terrible EV-only range, and all of the delicate and breakable moving parts (and associated pollution) of an ICE.  It's a great car for some people, namely people with small families who only own a single vehicle, but it's not great as an EV and it's not great as an ICE. 

My family of five has two vehicles.  We use a Leaf for shopping, commuting, and shuttling kids around, and we use a minivan for taking the whole family on long road trips, for hauling cargo, and for towing.  Perhaps not coincidentally, this appears to be the same arrangement that MMM stumbled upon.

I will have to "Agree to Strongly Disagree" I guess.

In an apples to apples if I could have 45 miles with an ICE backup, or 45 miles without, I would chose the + ICE option. ASSUMING: It's the same price, and the maintenance is nothing extreme.

Go read anything about Volt owner experiences and it "SEEMS" to be only 10/10 stars.

Like another poster above, for me, it is a 100% electric car except if I am going some good distance for a family event or something.


Now, this won't hit the OP's "Under 10k" rule but the 2016+ Volts (gen 2) make me drool at times, but alas, none for under even 20k yet in premium trim.

minnie1928

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Re: Best used electric car to buy under $10,000?
« Reply #33 on: April 21, 2019, 09:28:48 PM »
I drive my Volt almost exclusively in electric mode and in 3 years have only changed the oil once (maybe twice?  I can't recall).  Unless I have a long road trip, I can usually many months/several thousands of miles without getting gas.  I've actually stopped filling my tank because I don't want a tank of stale gas.  Now, I usually only have about 1/2 a tank at any one time.

This is the least maintenance car I've ever had.

Turnbull

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Re: Best used electric car to buy under $10,000?
« Reply #34 on: Today at 12:19:25 PM »

Yet, every time I search for 2012 or so Leafs, they are ~$10k.

Where do you live? The only three 2012s on my local CL range from $5000-$6600. There's a 2011 with only 25k for $5951.