Renault Group

Buying a used electric car

17 June 2020
4 min
In France, used electric vehicle sales increased by nearly 60% in 2018. The second-hand market now includes recent vehicles with limited mileage, which retain all their reliability and life cycle warrantees.
by Renault Group

In France, 12,700 used electric vehicles were registered in 2018, a 57% increase on the previous year. This growth, observed throughout Europe, is largely the result of the renewal of commercial vehicles through long-term leases, with or without the option to buy.

At the end of their 3-year contract, consumers have the option of starting a new contract with a more recent vehicle. In exchange, they bring back their first car, which is then sold on the burgeoning second-hand market.

The advantages of buying a used electric car

Used electric cars come with all the same advantages as new electric cars, starting with the reduced cost of use, due to their method of charging. In addition, compared to combustion-powered cars, electric cars require very little major maintenance: they have no timing belts or spark plugs to replace or oil to change. The brakes also have less wear and tear thanks to regenerative braking. Various types of financial aid are also available when purchasing a used electric car.

In France, for example, consumers who buy a used electric vehicle are eligible for a conversion bonus if they trade in an old gas – or diesel – powered car. The Renault Occasions network also offers, among other advantages, the free installation of a home charging station of up to 500 euros. Some local authorities also offer additional funding.

In conclusion, used electric cars have the advantage of needing very little major maintenance because the electric motor eliminates the need for the upkeep of the clutch, transmission, and intake.

What to consider when buying a used electric vehicle

Given how reliable electric motors are, there are far fewer technical checks to do on an electric vehicle than on a traditional one. Potential buyers don’t need to ask what condition the clutch is in or if there is any scheduled maintenance for the vehicle. They should, however, ensure that the vehicle meets their needs and has all the necessary warranties and related services.

Range and charge capacity

The first thing to ask about is the vehicle’s range, which is directly dependent on its battery capacity. What matters is that the car’s range is sufficient for your needs. The same goes for issues related to charging the car: what is the maximum power allowed? Does the car come with a charging cable?

The battery

The lithium-ion battery represents a significant part of the total cost of an electric car. In spite of technological advances offering longer battery life, all batteries naturally lose capacity over the years.

The issue of warranty is thus an important consideration for buyers of used vehicles, especially if the battery is being sold with the car.

Battery rental is responding to this problem. At Renault, battery leases come with a lifetime guarantee for a replacement if the charge capacity falls below a defined threshold (70% in the first 10 years, 60% beyond) of the initial level, but also breakdown service in the event of a breakdown.


Mileage has very little effect on electric motor performance, so the most important question to ask about the battery is whether it comes with a warranty. Depending on the mileage of the vehicle, you may want to verify the state of the tires and the brakes, which are among the few parts that are still subject to wear and tear and require regular maintenance. As with any vehicle, high mileage should also incite the potential buyer to take a closer look at the vehicle’s appearance, both inside and out.

How much to pay for a used electric car ?

The price of a used electric car depends on its age, mileage, general condition, equipment, and any associated warranties.

The relative homogeneity of its used electric vehicle stock today has allowed Renault to announce a recommended price for the public: a first on the used-vehicle market! In 2019, for example, the price for a 3-year-old ZOE Life with a 22 kWh battery and less than 30,000 kilometers mileage is listed at 8,900 euros.

In 2018 Renault also inaugurated a long-term leasing service for used electric vehicles in order to offer a budget-suitable option, without customers having to worry about reselling their vehicles one day.


Copyrights : Olivier Martin-Gambier, Yannick Brossard

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