Electric vehicles are great for reducing your carbon footprint and saving on fuel costs. Especially if you can find a used vehicle at a great price. But beyond the usual used car self-inspection checklist that you’d use to assess a used gas-powered car, there are other things you should look into before you invest in a used electric vehicle. 

Here are 8 tips to help you buy a used EV that’s right for your lifestyle and your budget.

1. Check the vehicle's maintenance history

Just like you would inspect any used vehicle, you’ll want to review the EV’s vehicle history report before moving ahead with the sale. 

Don’t be surprised if the car doesn’t have much in the way of prior maintenance. Electric vehicles are often cheaper to maintain than their gas-powered counterparts because they tend to require little maintenance.  

However, prior write-offs, an EV being bought back by the manufacturer, or a seller/dealership that tries to steer you away from reviewing the EV’s service history report should all be considered red flags. 

2. Determine when the battery needs to be replaced

Every EV’s battery will need to be replaced at some point in the vehicle’s lifetime. Thankfully, EV batteries should last around 10 to 20 years. But when it’s time to swap one out, the cost to replace and install an EV battery can run into the thousands. 

If the used EV you’re eyeing recently had its battery replaced—that’s a big win. If not, you’ll want to check its battery life and figure out how much it’ll cost to have the battery replaced in the future.

3. Check the EV's range

Most EVs will give you 200-400 km of range on a single charge. If you’re like the majority of Canadians who drives 60 km or less each day, you probably don’t need to worry too much about a used EV’s range. But if you have a long commute or you need to drive for hours every day, you’ll want to invest in an EV with longer range. 

Moral of the story here: your current driving habits should factor into which used EV you decide to buy. 

4. Ask if the EV comes with a warranty

Depending on how old the EV is, it may still be covered by the original manufacturer’s warranty. If not, it might be covered by an extended warranty. 

Either way, you’ll want to ask the EV’s current owner about the details of any warranty coverage and whether or not the warranty can be transferred to a new owner (you). 

Replacing electric vehicle parts can be an expensive exercise. A good warranty can protect you from the cost of unexpected breakdowns and repairs. For example, GuardTree’s extended warranty will cover an EV battery that fails prematurely. Check out the details of everything that a GuardTree used car warranty covers here. 

5. Determine how fast (or slow) the EV charges

An EV make and model and charging method will all affect how quickly the vehicle charges up. If you’ll be charging your EV overnight from a home charger, you probably don’t need to worry too much about an EV’s charging rate. But if you think you’ll be relying on fast charges while you’re on the road or at work, make sure you invest in a used EV that charges quick enough for your needs. 

6. Ask if the EV comes with any charging accessories 

EV charging accessories like charging cords and level 2 chargers aren’t cheap. When you’re chatting with the seller, ask which charging accessories are included in the sale. The more the better.

7. See if you are eligible for a used EV incentive

Some provinces incentivize new and used EV purchases with tax credits and cash benefits. For example, Ontario’s used electric vehicles incentive provides $1,000 towards the purchase of a used fully electric car and $500 toward the purchase of a used plug-in hybrid. 

Factoring this cash benefit into your budget may help you buy the used EV you want.

8. Make sure EV ownership fits with your lifestyle

If you can’t plug in and charge your EV up at home, owning an EV might not be the right fit for you. If you have a nearby charging station, that’s a good sign. But are you prepared to go for a drive and wait in a queue during peak hour just to charge it up? 

Similarly, if you spend more time on the road than the average Canadian driver, or if long road trips are your thing, are you prepared to charge your EV mid-trip or more than once a day? 

Want to protect yourself from sudden, expensive breakdowns and repairs? GuardTree is a comprehensive, monthly extended warranty subscription which means no locked-in long-term contracts. 

Get more for your money. Get GuardTree.

Our plans provide protection for most major EV components, electrical repairs, mechanical repairs. Additional benefits like roadside assistance and car rental and trip interruption costs are included. And part of your GuardTree subscription is used to offset the CO2 emissions from your vehicle. 

See what’s covered and use our price calculator to decide if an extended car warranty is right for you.