It is a new month with lots of new data and visuals on electric vehicle trends. For July, we look at the most popular used electric cars by state, check on the impact of inflation on used EV prices and dive into how real-world range holds up for two popular cars, based on the thousands of Tesla Model 3 and Chevy Bolt drivers who share their battery data with the Recurrent community.
Tesla Model 3 vs. Chevy Bolt: Max Range Over Time
Comparing Tesla Model 3 vs Chevy Bolt Range
The Tesla Model 3 and Chevy Bolt are two of the most popular all-electric vehicles on the road today and have both been around for 3-4 years. Thousands of subscribers to Recurrent’s monthly battery reports share their data to compare how their individual battery is aging across makes, models, years and climates.
For more data and a dive into methodology, check out the Chevy Bolt and Tesla Model 3 pages. Over the coming months, we’ll be adding new model coverage and deeper insights to each vehicle. If you’re a current EV driver, you can join our community for free and get personalized insights on your car.
Most Popular EVs by State
In recent months, we have monitored and discussed the high variability in used EV prices state by state. This month, we look at the popularity of different brands in used EV sales from state to state. Overall, Tesla continues to be the most popular used electric car brand, with 26% of the used market nationally. But its state-by-state share varies from a high of 44% in Texas to a low of 5% in Connecticut.
States not highlighted had fewer than 100 used EVs sold in the last 90 days.
Used EV Prices Continue to Climb
Used electric car retail prices in June continued to climb, but at a slightly slower pace, which could indicate the beginning of a market equilibrium being reached. This slowing of price increases matches what Manheim Consulting reported on wholesale vehicle prices -- a monthly 1.3% decrease in wholesale used car prices in June.
Our methodology to calculate the used EV price index is to use a representative sample of popular vehicles and compare national averages for retail prices. The models we included in our bundle are:
- 2017 BMW i3, Chevy Bolt, Tesla Model S
- 2018 BMW 530e, Honda Clarity, Nissan Leaf
- 2019 Audi e-tron, Tesla Model 3, VW e-golf
About This Monthly Report
We partner with Marketcheck, a vehicle inventory data provider, to provide this insight into the pre-owned EV market. Our analysis is updated each month.
The electric vehicle market moves quickly and, lately, news hits every day. Tons of car manufacturers are getting in the EV game and new battery technologies are on the horizon. This means that while you may want to get in on electric, maybe you’re hesitant to lay out cash for a new car right now. On the other hand, the used EV market offers affordability and accessibility, and is a good place to make the switch to electric at a low upfront cost.
What Else Should I Know About Used EVs?
The short answer is lots, especially as electric cars age and we learn about the effects of miles, temperatures and battery cycles on each model. If you’re an EV driver and you’d like to see how your car’s battery compares to others by joining our research fleet, sign up for our EV battery reports here.
If you are shopping for an electric car and want to verify its battery, try our new range report tool that will be available to the general public soon.
Each month we publish a new report with the latest industry data. Browse this section to review previous reports and their findings. Each image links to the full report!
- Chevy Volt has found its way to the top of the used electric list by selling more than any other EV model. Combined with new Bolt sales in 2021, GM is having a very big year. Although there could be a surge in Model 3 inventory soon.
- Used EV prices are still climbing. We recorded another 9% increase in average prices over the last 30 days.
- Used Teslas sell faster than any other used EV. We reviewed the number of vehicle sales for various brands compared to the number in dealer inventory to arrive at a relative proxy of used car turnover. Tesla is way ahead.
- Used EV prices have been soaring by $1000’s over the last few months -- driven up by high demand and the same chip shortages that are hindering the new vehicle market.
- There’s incredible price volatility from state to state. We’re seeing $3000 - $6000 price differences for the same vehicles across state lines.
- The used Tesla ecosystem is such a big part of the overall used EV market that it makes sense to look at how that’s evolving. Tesla.com itself is a player, but it only represents 7% of the used Tesla inventory, a far cry from its complete control of new Tesla sales.
Like many things, used EV prices vary from state to state. There isn’t a hard and fast rule about where EVs are more expensive, including the biggest EV states like California, but there is a very wide range in the prices for popular models state to state. It’s common to see a $5,000 spread between the least and most expensive states.
Does the direct-to-consumer sales model hold for pre-owned Teslas? We found that only 7% of today’s used Tesla listings are on tesla.com.
- From last month, the overall trend in the used EV market is a decrease in inventory - in particular, GMs, Teslas, and Fiats are being bought up faster than their stock can be replenished. Dealerships across the country are noting inventory shortages on used vehicles in general -- as an indirect result of slower-than-expected new vehicle manufacturing.
- Despite these recent decreases, March inventory is still 37% higher than July 2020 signaling increased interest in used EVs.
- 2018 models have now surpassed 2017 models as the most popular used EVs on the market.
BMW Leads Used EV Market
Last month, we saw Teslas hold their place as the most common used EV on the market. However, the used stock of almost all EVs decreased through March - except for BMW. Perhaps it’s anticipation for the forthcoming i4, or delivery of new i3s, but there has been an increase in the availability of used 530e’s, 330e’s, and the X5 - xDrive40e. If you’ve been keeping your eye on one of these models, it may be a good time to check prices, as the average has dipped slightly in the past month. Used i3’s, on the other hand, continue to retain their value and even showed slight price increases, with 2018s being the best represented year in the market and 2017s at their heels.
Examining Cost per EPA Range Mile
One way to look at used EV prices is by comparing cost per range mile using EPA estimated range. One thing to keep in mind is that EPA range specifies how far your EV will go when the battery is new. EV batteries degrade based on age, how they have been driven, and how they have been stored. To really understand the value of an EV, it is critical to understand the battery in its current state, after several summers in the driveway or several hundred charging cycles.
Seasonality exists in used car sales and due to COVID-related economic changes, but this trend is real. Used car sales follow a predictable time delay, peaking at 3-4 years after being sold new. This pattern exists in electric vehicles as well: Six months ago, the most common model year for sale in used EVs was 2017 by far. Now, there are nearly as many 2018 model year used EVs for sale as 2017’s.
The Most Popular Used Electric Cars in March
- Used Tesla Model S, Model 3 and Model X are a large and growing part of the used electric market.
- BMW EVs are a surprisingly strong part of used EV inventories, but it’s not the i3’s that are growing in supply. Instead, there’s been a surge of the availability of BMW’s plug-in hybrids (5-Series 550e, 3-series 330e and the X5 xDrive40e) in the last 6 months.
- Despite the Nissan Leaf being one of the most recognizable EVs on the road for years, it’s only the 4th most popular used EV for sale today.
How do older EV batteries hold up?
EV owners and shoppers perceive that EV batteries last just seven years (Cox Automotive study), but the reality is generally better. A lot of factors play into the battery life of each EV over its life, including manufacturing variances, pack layouts and cooling systems, calendar age, use, temperature history, charging behavior. In our data analysis of 1000’s of EVs on the road, we’ve found that odometer reading alone isn’t particularly helpful in understanding each vehicle’s battery life.