Used e-cars: is it worth buying?

More and more first-generation e-cars end up on the used car market. The right time to buy? E-car used vehicle situation and popular models in the check.

If you want to be on the road electrically, but want to avoid the long waiting times for new vehicles , you currently only have the used car market. But even there, the offer is rare. Jürgen Karpinski, President of the Central Association of German Motor Vehicle Trades - ZDK for short - knows about the current situation: "The supply of used electric cars is falling. The lack of new cars is leading to continued strong demand on the used car market." ,

Used e-cars in great demand

Our research agrees with Karpinski, but also shows that if you make a little effort, you will find what you are looking for. Dealers who work directly with the manufacturers are most likely to benefit from the current situation. Used as annual cars in the group, some used electric vehicles end up in the yard of Autohaus Maushardt in Bruchsal, for example: "On average, we always have around 60 used e-cars on our doorstep," says Alexander Parzigas, Sales Team Leader.

The car dealership near Karlsruhe has specialized in young used cars - especially the Smart brand. "We have the cars in stock and can deliver a vehicle within two weeks," says Parzigas, adding: "The used Stromer sell like hot cakes." MO/OVE took a closer look at the most popular used electric cars. All information can be found in the picture gallery.

Parzigas knows exactly what concerns you might have when buying. When customers come to him, they always ask the same questions: How long does it take to load? How far can I get by car? And is there actually a subsidy for the used vehicle?

Used Stromer are also eligible

Yes, you read that right, used e-cars can also receive a subsidy for the second sale - under certain conditions: If the car was first registered after November 4th, 2019, is not older than one year and has Both less than 15,000 kilometers on the odometer and in the past not yet benefited from an environmental bonus in another EU country, there is the e-car bonus.

Even better: With the innovation premium, the federal share of the environmental bonus was doubled for a limited period until the end of 2022 - retrospectively from June 4th, 2020. Ideally, interested parties will find a competent seller who knows about the funding requirements.

In any case, Alexander Parzigas knows the bonuses very well. He has been selling e-cars since 2012 and earns most of his money online – compared to his competitors, who are still largely analogue. Up to 120 vehicles leave the yard every month, more than 90 percent of which are sold digitally. The decisive advantage in Corona times.

Interested parties can find used e-cars here

Especially on the World Wide Web, the stock of e-cars for sale is growing rapidly. If you are looking for a dealer and you don't get anything, you should take a look at vehicle platforms: "The range of used electric cars is growing continuously. Compared to September 2020, we have seen an increase in listings of 78.3 percent," says a spokesman for already in November 2021. The streamers waited an average of 79 days for a buyer. Compared to the previous year, the idle days fell by 12.8 percent.

Residual values ​​in free fall

Comparatively quick availability and an additional subsidy bonus - so the ideal time to buy a used e-car? Andreas Radics, managing partner at the Berylls Group, classifies the development: "It may sound paradoxical, but the success of the environmental bonus for e-cars and plug-in hybrids has a clear loser: the second-hand e-car," says the market observer.

"The residual values ​​of older e-mobiles in particular are in free fall. After all, the subsidy bonuses have meant that customers are more likely to buy new cars, which thanks to the bonus are hardly more expensive than a three-year-old model." Used electric cars are therefore in the dealership longer than some diesel or petrol engines - even if the current situation, driven by the poor availability of new cars, means that many used cars are currently standing still for a shorter period of time.

E-car: poor value stability - still

Radics believes that the generally rather poor value stability of e-vehicles will not change in the short term: "The permanent expansion of the e-model portfolio increases the pressure on the used car market for e- Cars go further. And then there are the technological improvements."

The reason: The drive batteries in particular have not only become cheaper in recent years, they have also become much more powerful. With the result that the new vehicle prices remain at a comparable level, but at the same time the range and suitability for everyday use improve rapidly. However, this trend is beginning to flatten out.

The battery, the be-all and end-all

What he means by that: The battery is the heart of every electric car. However, when buying a used car, only very few people know what their health and thus the remaining range of the electric vehicle is like. But a damaged or weak battery can cause immense costs in an emergency.

MO/OVE was therefore the first magazine ever to evaluate the battery data for popular electric vehicles on the used car market together with the company Aviloo . Since 2017, the start-up has been working on a technology that can be used to determine the so-called state of health (SOH), i.e. the state of health of a battery.

The result: The spread of the SOH values ​​on the market for the same vehicles with similar mileage is extreme.There are certainly positive results to report - for example the Hyundai Ioniq Elektro with 28 kWh. All vehicles had an SOH value of over 90 percent. Even if the car already had well over 120,000 kilometers under its belt.

, But the BMW i3 with 18.8 kWh usable battery capacity paints a different picture. One model has a strong SOH value of 94 percent, another only 65 percent - with a comparable mileage of 96,000 kilometers.

A complete exchange is then like an economic total loss and sometimes costs more than 20,000 euros. However, the truth also belongs: In the rarest of cases it is necessary to replace the entire battery. It is often sufficient to replace individual, significantly cheaper modules.


As is so often the case, buying a used car is a very personal decision in which individual factors decide. For example, if you don’t need the full battery capacity during the day anyway and only cover short distances, you can cope with a low SOH and even use it as an argument in price negotiations. Anyone who doesn't want to shell out so much money for a technology that is new to them, despite the new car subsidy, can now find used ones that will probably no longer be available for the current price in the future.


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