In 2006, a film was released titled "Who Killed The Electric Car?" After unpleasant vehicles like the GM EV-1 came and went, the automotive community silently went back to internal combustion engine refinement, and electric cars receded into our collective memories.
Then came Tesla, and we realized electric cars could be fun. Also, we realized cars are polluting the atmosphere. With that being said, as pervasive as electric cars are becoming, the electric car is still a relatively new technology.
For people interested in using electrons to power their vehicles instead of small, controlled explosions, use EVs are an option, though EV prices are climbing.
The king of used Teslas is, by far, the Model 3. Unlike the top of the line Model S sedan and Model X SUV-ish kind of thing, the Model 3 was meant to be the entry-level Tesla when it debuted in 2017. The average used Model 3 commands about $35,000 with Model Y prices at least $10,000 above that.
Want a Model S? You can get older models from the early 2010s for around $30,000; however, those will have high mileage and won't have nearly the range or tech found in newer models. Figure $45,000 to $50,000 for a 5-to-6-year-old Tesla Model S—more for dual motor performance models.
If your goal isn't driving excitement, the Nissan Leaf is for you. Introduced in 2010, the Leaf was the world's top-selling EV for nearly a decade until it was dethroned by the Tesla Model 3.
It's an old-school EV with a limited range (about 100 miles for first-gen cars, 150 for 2018 and up) focused on economy rather than fun. If you want a first-gen Leaf, you can get a good one under $15,000. For current-gen cars (2018 up), you'll get better range and power, but you'll be spending at least $20,000.
The Chevy Bolt occupies an interesting middle ground between the excitement of a Tesla and the economy of a Leaf. EPA range estimation is 238 miles, and power is decent with 200hp that will propel a Bolt to 60 in less than 7 seconds.
Released in 2017, your used options don't stretch back a decade as they do with Tesla or Nissan, but excellent condition used Bolts can be had between $20,000 and $25,000.
You can't buy an F-150 Lightning yet, but you can get a Mustang Mach-E. Reviewers found the Mach-E to be an excellently capable sporty crossover, but because the vehicle came out recently (2020 model year), used prices are still high. Carfax reports the average price of a used Mach-E to be $57,000.
Porsche, Jaguar, Audi
Used prices remain high, with the cheapest Porsche Taycans still commanding around $100,000. Audi E-Trons and Jaguar i-Paces average over $60,000. Time and depreciation will take their toll, but not yet.
Keep In Mind…
With used EVs, batteries are the main concern. Plus, charging infrastructure isn't settled yet, and different EVs use different charging interfaces. You may have to get a charger installed in your home if you want to be able to get a full charge overnight.
These issues will get solved in time, though, so don't fret. Besides, do you want ridiculous amounts of instantaneous torque? Yes? Then the electric future is bright, my friend.
Electric vehicles are here and are increasingly practical choices. Still, new ones are expensive, so used might be the way to go.