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Bottom fishing: Huge depreciation makes some electric cars good used vehicle bargains
Old 02-27-2015, 10:11 PM   #1
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Bottom fishing: Huge depreciation makes some electric cars good used vehicle bargains

The WSJ ran an article today on the bargains available on used Nissan Leafs and Chevy Volts. The combination of low gas prices, government incentives (hard to sell a used one when a new one has a big kicker from Uncle Sam), and some concerns about battery longevity have caused some very serious depreciation. (Avg actual prices paid)
2012 Chevy Volt: New $42,021. Today $12,997 (down 69%)
2012 Nissan Leaf: New $36,643. Today $10,220 (down 72%)

The "conventional" gasoline sisters of these cars (Cruze and Versa) are down "only" 54% and 50% respectively.

Lots of them are coming in now off their leases, and the manufacturers are having to take big hits due to the surprisingly low remaining value of the vehicles.

At these prices, the plug-in Leaf especially might be a good little car for cheap around-town driving. Gas prices won't stay low forever, after all. The Volt is technologically interesting and more versatile on paper, but I think the maintenance risks are higher. Neither is especially attractive (IMO) if you plan to hold onto them for 15 years, but they might make sense for the right person.

No sign that the Teslas are going for bargain prices.
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Old 02-27-2015, 10:22 PM   #2
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A lot of those are in here in CA with us left coast tree huggers . The fed and state tax credits are $10K IIRC . Nissan is now advertising brand new 2014 Leafs for $15,500 with tax credit included . Tax credits also apply to the leases.So used car buyers get the trickle down benefit of the tax credits. The market is saturated for electrics too , as I see things.

I would be driving one too , but ended up getting an XB, solely because it's super great seat height for transporting geriatric relatives.

Just my fat ass CA native opinion.
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Old 02-27-2015, 10:51 PM   #3
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Have been leasing a 2012 Ford Focus Electric, it was a great deal (about $250 a month & 0 down) and has been a great car. The buyout price is about $17K, just too much, I would at most pay them $15 and there is no negotiation at lease close. We will be looking for another electric or plug in hybrid. Just want a little more range, 100+ miles. Maybe the Bolt when it comes out. But a good used deal on a Volt could work too. Someone will have to eat a lot of $ on these though. I want the electric/hybrid but near the price of a regular car.
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Old 02-27-2015, 11:01 PM   #4
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I wonder where the WSJ is getting that price for the Volt. Both Black Book and Carmax are substantially higher for a 2012 Volt with 36k miles.
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Old 02-27-2015, 11:44 PM   #5
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Those were the auction prices, not available to normal folks without a dealer licence.
They had an example of a normal guy buying a leaf it was a 2013 with 11,000 miles on it and he bought it for $15,000
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Old 02-27-2015, 11:47 PM   #6
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I thought of picking up a used Leaf, as a second car.
Then I thought, how do you move if you have one of those, and are moving to another state?
Drive 200 miles, pull the generator out of the trunk. Run it and plug the car in for 6 hours ? , then repeat every 200 miles for a 1,000 mile trip ?
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Old 02-27-2015, 11:51 PM   #7
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I thought of picking up a used Leaf, as a second car.
Then I thought, how do you move if you have one of those, and are moving to another state?
Drive 200 miles, pull the generator out of the trunk. Run it and plug the car in for 6 hours ? , then repeat every 200 miles for a 1,000 mile trip ?
Actually as a second car you tow it. You often see towed cars behind Uhaul trucks on the interstates.
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Old 02-27-2015, 11:56 PM   #8
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I thought of picking up a used Leaf, as a second car.
Then I thought, how do you move if you have one of those, and are moving to another state?
Drive 200 miles, pull the generator out of the trunk. Run it and plug the car in for 6 hours ? , then repeat every 200 miles for a 1,000 mile trip ?
Ship it or tow it. Or , plug in at Costco. Maybe it's just a regional thing , some Costo's in LA have free fast chargers. many Walgren drug stores in so cal have a fast charger , but its not free. never seen one actually being used.
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Old 02-27-2015, 11:58 PM   #9
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I wonder where the WSJ is getting that price for the Volt. Both Black Book and Carmax are substantially higher for a 2012 Volt with 36k miles.
Carmax seems to get top dollar for everything they sell.
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Old 02-28-2015, 12:22 AM   #10
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Gasoline is already up 15% in the last month. I wonder how long the cheap electric car prices will last.
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Old 02-28-2015, 07:15 AM   #11
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I have a prius and am pretty sure the gas prices are going to rebound. the cost of keeping these electrics too long is pretty scary with the unknowns of battery replacement and charging systems. I worry alot to with the road tax, what kind of formula are they going to come up with to make us pay for the good gas mileage and their loss of tax revenue? I don't think I will buy another electric car after this one, but maybe should start looking at the high mileage diesel cars.
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Old 02-28-2015, 08:07 AM   #12
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Those were the auction prices, not available to normal folks without a dealer licence.
They had an example of a normal guy buying a leaf it was a 2013 with 11,000 miles on it and he bought it for $15,000
An article about the replacement battery packs that went on-sale (last year) for $5,500 each (which is subsidized by Nissan! - and which is just the battery cost, excluding labor to install)

Nissan Leaf $5,500 Battery Replacement Loses Money, Company Admits

True, if large-scale battery manufacturing comes on-line, then it would drop the price....but I don't know for how much. It's unknown how much Nissan is subsidizing the price. Plus, the battery manufacturer will have to add on profit to their selling price to the dealer/Nissan, so there may not be much price drop from that with large scale production.

It is also true that with an electric car, you don't have many other potential repairs like water pumps, transmission, etc....but to the average buyer, not only will they not be able to afford a lump sum $5k cost at one time, but they also will possibly focus in on that (even though at 100,000-150,000 miles, you could very well put out $5k in repairs over 2 years on a conventional ICE car).

So perhaps there will be an 'arb opportunity' to get a good deal on electrics when they are close to the end-of-battery life, since people would likely just focus on the battery replacement cost, compared to the total lifetime repair cost? Although if you plan on buying a used electric close to battery replacement time, you need to make sure you look at the residual value when you sell it if you don't replace the battery a second time. For a 10 year old electric close to needing a 2nd battery replacement, you could very well get to the point of paying someone to take it off your hands! You won't even have to live in Europe (with negative interest loans) to own a vehicle that pays you to drive it!
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Old 02-28-2015, 09:09 AM   #13
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Ship it or tow it. Or , plug in at Costco. Maybe it's just a regional thing , some Costo's in LA have free fast chargers. many Walgren drug stores in so cal have a fast charger , but its not free. never seen one actually being used.
Here is a link to the Alternative fuel data center web site. On the home page it has a map that shows every charging station in the US.
Alternative Fuels Data Center: Electric Vehicle Charging Station Locations
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Old 03-04-2015, 06:19 PM   #14
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The WSJ ran an article today on the bargains available on used Nissan Leafs and Chevy Volts. The combination of low gas prices, government incentives (hard to sell a used one when a new one has a big kicker from Uncle Sam), and some concerns about battery longevity have caused some very serious depreciation. (Avg actual prices paid)
2012 Chevy Volt: New $42,021. Today $12,997 (down 69%)
2012 Nissan Leaf: New $36,643. Today $10,220 (down 72%)
...
With our vehicles showing no sign of quitting (heck, our 2003 SUV is spending most of its life in the garage, with odometer stuck at 25K miles), I am not in the market for any vehicle, gas or electric. But this thread makes me curious, so I look.

Indeed, I saw quite a few Nissan Leafs (Leaves?) for sale locally, with prices as low as $12K asking, and mileage of 18K miles for a 2011 model. Son of a gun! I guess it is difficult to put much mileage on an EV with such a short range as the Leaf.

It is tempting to buy one just to see what it is like, and to use it to make local grocery runs. But then, I have to look into the durability of the battery pack, plus the cost of replacing it. And then, something like a Leaf has limited utility compared to a hybrid like the Volt with a much better range.

Well, enough toy for now, so I will wait until one of my existing cars croaks.
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Old 03-04-2015, 06:29 PM   #15
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It is tempting to buy one just to see what it is like, and to use it to make local grocery runs. But then, I have to look into the durability of the battery pack, plus the cost of replacing it. And then, something like a Leaf has limited utility compared to a hybrid like the Volt with a much better range.
I even wondered if a 2011 Volt might have some future value as a collector's car (the first year of Chevy's first passenger car plug in and first passenger-car hybrid). It's big enough to be a practical car and has the range of any gas-powered car. Maybe in 30 years it would be viewed as a '57 Chevy or a '64 Mustang? Probably not, and getting the special parts needed to keep it on the road for 30 years would be a lot harder (and more expensive) than keeping an old Chevelle running.
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Old 03-04-2015, 06:32 PM   #16
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I think the durability of the battery pack has been overplayed, at least in hybrids. They have been around long enough to establish a pretty good track record.

In my own hybrid, the battery pack is kept between 43 and 55% charge, it has its own temperature control including an AC circuit to keep it cool in the summer and an algorithm to internally warn it in the winter by charging and discharging it independently of actual use in powering the vehicle.

Maybe battery life is a bigger issue in all electrics, but I've got to believe that time and discharge cycles have been tested and or simulated by the manufacturers. Probably a bigger issue is for unique low volume , high tech parts which can be crazily expensive - like the $4500 ABS module in my Escape.
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Old 03-04-2015, 06:46 PM   #17
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In my own hybrid, the battery pack is kept between 43 and 55% charge, it has its own temperature control including an AC circuit to keep it cool in the summer and an algorithm to internally warm it in the winter by charging and discharging it independently of actual use in powering the vehicle. . . .
I've got to believe that time and discharge cycles have been tested and or simulated by the manufactures.
Yes, but your car is a Toyota. We're talking about a Chevy here. Just sayin' . . .
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Old 03-04-2015, 06:49 PM   #18
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I would much rather have a Volt for the extended range.... but I also would like the bigger size..

I did not know it was a hatchback...

As someone else mentioned... the prices listed are about $3K to $5K higher....

I find it interesting that one dealership has a NEW one only $38K.... at dealer cost !!!
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Old 03-04-2015, 07:00 PM   #19
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Just a related anecdote. I've been looking at picking up a 4Runner and stopped by the Toyota dealership to take a look. Nothing on the lot - they apparently can't keep them in stock right now. But there were literally 25 brand new Priuses just sitting there begging for someone to take a look.

Quite the reversal from a few years back.
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Old 03-04-2015, 07:21 PM   #20
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Yes, but your car is a Toyota. We're talking about a Chevy here. Just sayin' . . .
Nope, its a Ford Escape. The hybrid system was over engineered, being the initial hybrid for the company. Can't say the same for the suspension, which was common to the non-hybrid.
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