Electric Cars Take Another Financial Hit

January 6th, 2014

2014 Chevy Spark

As time passes, I’m finding fewer reasons to buy an electric car.

While EVs are slowly gaining popularity, a nationwide charging infrastructure is barely in its infancy. That’s strike one against electrics. Even so, electric cars are proving themselves as commuters while saving owners a bundle on gas costs. Things should be looking up for this new chapter in automotive history.

There’s a problem, though. For the first owners of a new electric car, the finances just don’t add up. And it’s getting worse.

Buying a new EV costs thousands more than a comparable gas-powered car. That’s certainly not new information. Now, though, comes the news that owners are getting fleeced on the resale end of the deal too.

For example, a new Chevy Spark EV may retail for over $27,000. The base Spark costs just over $12,000. There’s strike two.

In 5 years, estimates are the Spark EV will be worth only about $8,000, which is less than what its gas-powered counterparts might fetch. Additionally, the Ford Focus EV is expected to be worth only 20 percent of its original value when compared to the top-of-the-line gas model, which is anticipated to keep around 36 percent of its original MSRP.

Strike three.

However, this may not have an immediate impact on the EV market, because significant government subsidies for buying these cars are still in effect. Plus, many EVs are leased for low monthly payments, and customers just don’t care what the car is worth at the end of the lease.

For buyers of used electrics, this is the best news ever. Of course, cheap used EVs come with a catch: the lifespan and reliability of battery packs. How much juice do they still pack after 5 years, and is it worth the risk of a possible battery replacement?

Would you buy a 5-year-old electric vehicle?

-tgriffith

Find Used Cars in Your Area at CarGurus

Used Chevrolet Spark EV 
Used Ford Focus

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  1. Randy
    January 7th, 2014 at 08:05 | #1

    That’s going to be the real obstacle for EV’s– long term ownership. A gas or Diesel can keep going and going, not so for EV’s. The complex electronics, short-lived battery packs and high cost are real deal breakers. If you want to short term lease, with the government subsidies, that’s the way to go. Get it out of your system. Drive one for two or three years. Record the number of miles you drive. Compare the costs with a gas vehicle driven the same number of miles and you’ll see that you didn’t save a penny. Now if gas goes to $10 a gallon, that’s different.

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