The car valuation experts at Glass’s Guide have warned that, unless manufacturers take action soon, electric cars will suffer horrendous depreciation on the used market.

“If cars and batteries are sold rather than leased, and no special warranty cover is in place, the typical EV will retain only 10 per cent of its value after five years,” warns Andy Carroll, managing director of Glass’s.

This, says Carroll, is a function of the recognition that a typical EV battery will have a useful life of eight years and cost £8000 to replace.

By Glass’s reckoning, Nissan’s Leaf — available next year at around £23,350 — will be worth less than £3000 at five years old. That would make its purchase hard to justify next to a conventional car, which would be worth at least 25 per cent of its value at the same age.

As well as a purchase option, Nissan will offer a lease option to UK buyers which could avoid the depreciation issue, but it has yet to announce details.

However, take batteries out of the ownership equation, for example as Renault suggests via a £100-a-month lease scheme, and the costs could be offset against savings in petrol or diesel.

That way, Glass’s say, EVs could become the best-performing cars on the road in terms of residual value.