The key to accelerating the adoption of electric vehicles could be found on the used vehicle lot

Used automobiles are finally gaining traction in China, where new cars have always outperformed used cars by a significant margin. The surge of used automobile sales in China also applies to electric vehicles, with used EV sales almost doubling to 47,000 by 2020. According to Bloomberg, the China Automobile Dealers Association anticipates that figure to rise by the end of 2021.

This is beneficial because, while China already has affordable electric vehicles such as the Wuling MINI EV, getting even more affordable options — such as secondhand versions of the same vehicles — makes EVs more accessible to a wider range of individuals. We don’t simply need more electric vehicles; we also require used electric vehicles. China’s electric vehicle market is once again enviable.

According to Bloomberg, the most popular price range for used EVs is slightly around $16,000, but used costs start far lower. On the secondhand market, Wuling MINI EV can be had for as little as $4,150, compared to around $5,000 for a brand one. It may not seem like much of a gap, but it amounts to about a fifth of the cost. Other electric vehicles are hovering around the same value retention figure.

Old EVs from Li Auto retain roughly 80% of their value, used EVs from Nio retain 77 percent, and used EVs from Tesla retain about 74%. That’s about a quarter of Tesla’s original price! And it’s not like the batteries in these secondhand electric cars are old or empty.

According to CADA, the bulk of secondhand EVs purchased in China are just under 3 years old. Analysts believe that the EV cost from 2028 will be one-fifth or one-fourth the price it was when new would appeal to a lot of purchasers in the United States who aren’t sure that electric vehicles are for them.

Specialists keep waiting for electric vehicles to fall below $30,000, but even with decreased range, it’s unlikely that we’ll see a low-cost electric vehicle anytime soon. However, if the used market ever returns to normal, it may be able to fill the affordable EV gap in the United States. It’s not ideal, but in the short-to-medium term, the only affordable electric car will most likely be a secondhand one.

Within the next six years, the cost of creating batteries for electric vehicles will decline, and dedicated production lines in carmakers’ plants will render EVs cheaper to purchase than gas-powered vehicles on average. And this is without any government assistance. According to a good analysis by BloombergNEF, the present average pre-tax retail value of the medium-sized electric vehicle is €33,300 ($40,700), compared to €18,600 ($22.800) for a fuel car. Both are expected to cost around $23,300 (€19,000) in 2026.

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