Buyer Tips

The Top 5 All-Electric Vehicles to Buy Used

By Mike Richards Updated: 12/28/2021 Posted: 04/09/2019

Since electric cars were introduced in the US market, the average annual growth rate has been 20%. However, in 2018, 361,307 electric vehicles were sold. This was an 81% leap from the 2017 sales of 199,826 EVs. In 2016, 158,614 cars were sold. The significant jump in the number of electric vehicle buyers in 2018 shows people are becoming increasingly responsive to these cars. This is great news for buyers of used electric cars since they have an abundant collection of cars to pick from.

1. 2017 BMW i3

The 2017 BMW i3 is an all-electric subcompact hatchback. A new drive system was installed to increase the electric range to 114 miles. This is a significant increase from the 2016 model which has a range of 81 miles. The electric motor cranks out 170hp. A 2-cylinder Gasoline Range Extender is an option available for buyers who would like an extended range of 180 miles. This car is a rear-wheel drive and comes fitted with a 33kWh lithium-ion battery.

It takes 7 seconds to accelerate this car from 0-60 mph. However, with a range extender, it takes 7.8 seconds. Since this car has seen a range increase, it also takes longer to charge it. It takes about 40 minutes to achieve an 80% charge when using a DC quick charger, or 41/2 hours when using a Level 2 charger. BMW also considered a regular house outlet for occasional charging. This is a slow process that gives a range of about 5 miles per hour.

Further Reading

The body of this model also underwent some changes. The dual-kidney grille, which is present in most BMWs, was squared off. It has a two-tone color to give it a unique color-contrasting feature. Some of the standard features are heated side mirrors, LED headlights, LED daytime running lamps, 19-inch alloy wheels, anti-lock brakes, air bags, an electronic stability system, a power moon roof, parking assistance, forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, and an automatic dimming rearview mirror.

2. 2014 Nissan Leaf

The 2014 Nissan Leaf has a 24-kWh lithium battery pack. The electric motor produces 107hp. It has a 3.6-kilowatt onboard charger that recharges the car in 21 hours on 120 volts or seven hours on 240 volts. A 6.6-kilowatt on-board charger is available for those who would like to cut the charging time to four-hours using 240 volts. A direct current quick-charge is also available and recharges 80% of the battery in about half an hour.  This car has an estimated combined MPG of 114.

The Leaf is a front-wheel drive with standard 16-inch steel wheels, although 16 and 17-inch alloy wheels are available. This car comes with features like LED taillights, heated steering wheel, a CD stereo with iPod connectivity, dash screen showing range and energy use, electronic stability system, antilock brakes, a backup camera, side curtain airbags, side-impact airbags at the front, and traction control. The lithium-ion battery pack disconnects once the airbag is deployed or in case of water intrusion.

Reassuringly, IIHS conducted crash tests on this car, and it received good ratings. Some of the certified benefits available on pre-owned cars include maximum mileage/age of less than 80,000 miles or 6-year and basic warranty of 100,000 miles or 84 miles from the original in-service date.

3. 2014 Chevy Spark EV

2014 Chevrolet Spark

The electric motor on the 2014 Chevy Spark EV discharges 130 horsepower, and to go from zero to 60 mph takes 7.8 seconds. The estimate MPG is 109 highway, 128 city and 119 combined. It has a 21kWh lithium-ion battery that is EPA-rated 82 miles. It takes at least seven hours to recharge on a 240-volt charger and about 20 hours on a 120-volt household outlet. The direct charge option is also available and it takes 20 minutes to recharge about 80% of the battery.

When it comes to space, priority has been given to the front seats. However, the trunk space can be increased by folding the rear seat. The features in this car include 10 airbags to protect the front and rear passengers, 1-speed direct drive transmission, daytime running lights, stability control, emergency braking assist, auto delay off headlamps, keyless ignition, cruise control, heated mirrors, low fuel level warning, heated passenger seat, and climate control.

4. 2017 KIA Soul EV

The 2017 KIA Soul EV is a practical, roomy car for city driving, and has a mileage estimate of 192 city, 92 highway and 105 combined. The electric motor produces a maximum output of 109 horsepower. This car comes with a standard CHAdeMO direct fast charge port and a 6.6-kilowatt onboard charger for 240-volt level 2 charging. It takes approximately 24 hours to recharge a depleted battery on a 120-volt outlet, and less than five-hours using a 240-volt charging station. A 50-kilowatt CHAdeMO fast charger takes 33 minutes to recharge 80% of the battery.  A single charge covers a distance of 93 miles.

This model has three trim levels: base Soul EX-e, mid-range Soul EV, and Soul EV+. The standard features include heated front seats, heated steering wheel, keyless ignition, cruise control, illuminated AUX/USB port, and a 3.5-inch OLED instrument cluster. The mid-range Soul EV has an 8-inch touch screen with a rearview camera and infotainment system, charge level indicator, charge station search, and an improved heating and air conditioning system. The Soul EV+ has leather seats, heated rear seats, ventilated front passenger seats, and front and rear Park Assist. Buyers also have the option of getting a Sun & Fun Package which includes LED interior lighting and speaker lights.

5. 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf

The 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf had its battery upgraded from 24.2kWh to 38.5 kWh. This change increased the range of this model by 50%. A single charge is expected to cover 124 miles. The electric motor produces 134 horsepower, which is quite significant for a sporty hatchback. This model is equipped with a 7.2-kilowatt on-board charger. It recharges the battery in less than six hours. Amazingly, The DC fast charger takes less than an hour to restore 80% of the battery. The DC fast charging is standard in the SEL Premium trim and optional in the SE model.

Some of the features in this model include high beam control, lane departure warning, rear traffic alert, LED headlights and taillights. The optional features include a 9.2-inch infotainment screen and Driver Assist Package which includes cruise control and blind spot monitoring system.

Auto manufacturers are creating more options for buyers of EVs. This ensures that buyers have more flexibility when it comes to picking a car that fits their budget, average travel distance, and style. The significant drop in the price of preowned electric vehicles has encouraged more people to invest in these cars.