Low mileages, low prices, low running costs: the appeals of second-hand electric cars appear pretty compelling.
These sums are for cars that cost a fraction of a fossil-fuelled motor to feed, can drive into polluted no-go zones, attract limited taxes and, at the very least, don’t locally pollute. If you fancy something more exotic, a BMW i3 can be on your drive from £14,000 and a Tesla Model S starts at around £46,000. But there are hazards ahead, and not just the wellknown issues of limited range and charge-point availability.
There are other things to be aware of. Apart from the obvious issue of whether most of your journeys fall within the range of the EV you’re considering, most revolve around the economics of an EV’s battery. Some are included in the original price of the car, as with BMW’s i models and the Teslas, while others come with a battery leasing deal that works on a monthly sliding scale of prices depending on your annual mileage. Most examples of the Nissan Leaf – easily the most common EV – and Renault Zoe fall into this latter category, although some owners will have bought the battery outright.
Leasing a battery isn’t cheap when you consider that you can have a brand new Renault Clio on a PCP for £149 a month with a £149 deposit. Even if you contain your travelling to 6000 miles per year and commit to the lease for three years, a Renault Zoe battery will cost you £59 per month, or £69 for the latest ZE40 Zoe that goes further on a charge.