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Buyer's and Seller's Advice
ByJIM GORZELANY, Editor

It’s a brave new world when it comes to buying and selling used EVs. Fortunately, we’re here to help.

With some of the latest all-electric vehicles able to run for well over 200, even 300 miles on a charge, EVs are fast becoming practical for a growing number of motorists.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean we should relegate the previous generation of battery-powered rides, many of which with an operating range of around 100 miles on a charge, to the junk yard. Used versions of these earlier EVs make great second or third cars in a family’s fleet, if anything because of their low operating and maintenance costs. But it’s the proverbial brave new world out there when it comes to buying and selling used EVs.

Fortunately, we’re here to help. As an online marketplace dedicated to electric vehicles, MYEV.com features EV-specific search tools and detailed model descriptions of models for sale, and 100% free listings for sellers.

Buying A Used EV

If you’re in the market for an electric car, start the process by researching models listed on MYEV.com so you know what you’ll be able to afford and what you’ll be getting in terms of features and performance, and especially a model's estimated operating range on a charge. Since an EVs range can vary based on factors like a vehicle's speed, ambient temperature, and use of accessories, make sure it's well within your needs.

MYEV.com’s nationwide listings can be especially helpful if there’s a lack of used EVs on the market where you live. Having accounted for only a slim percentage of new-vehicle sales over the last few years, they’re not as plentiful in the resale market as are conventionally powered cars. And at that, not all battery-powered models were sold in all 50 states when new. Some were limited to California (and perhaps one or more other states) to fulfill regulations regarding zero-emissions vehicles. That’s why the Golden State boasts the most EVs in the nation. Other states in which EVs tend to be the most prevalent include Washington, Oregon, Hawaii, Vermont, Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, and New York.

As with any other type of vehicle, never buy a used EV without giving it a proper test drive. Though this may involve a long road trip or even a plane ride if it’s located out of state, it’s a necessity. That’s because used-car transactions are typically conducted on an “as is” basis. This frees the seller of any responsibility regarding a vehicle’s mechanical condition. If it’s a recent-vintage EV there may be some of the manufacturer’s original warranty coverage remaining, However, it will still be sold as-is as far as the dealer or private seller is concerned.

It’s also prudent to take any used vehicle you’re considering to a trusted mechanic to have it fully checked out before signing a bill of sale. This, however, may be difficult as most neighborhood auto technicians have little (if any) experience with electric vehicles. You’re better off in this regard taking the car to the service department of a dealership which sells that particular model as a new vehicle.

Fortunately, there’s less to worry about here since EVs avoid over two-dozen mechanical components in a conventional auto that will eventually fail and need to be replaced. The most important element to have checked Is the battery to ensure it will deliver at or close to its maximum range. Federal law requires automakers to warranty their EV batteries for at least eight years or 100,000 miles.

It’s also a good idea to obtain a history report on a pre-owned EV via a service like CarFax or AutoCheck. This will verify the chain of ownership and the last reported number of miles on the odometer, document a model’s maintenance records, and will indicate if it’s been in a wreck or was flooded, branded a lemon or was salvaged and rebuilt. You’ll need to enter a car’s vehicle identification number (VIN) to initiate the process, which is noted on the title and on a plate attached to the dashboard at the bottom of the windshield. Make sure the VIN on the car matches the one on the title.

Selling A Used EV

If you’re selling an electric car, be sure to spruce it up before listing it with MYEV.com. That means giving it a thorough wash and a fresh coat of wax, vacuum out the interior, and clean the seats and carpeting with a good upholstery cleaner. If it’s a bit banged up, you might want to have minor dents and scratches professionally repaired.

You’ll need to take several high-quality photos of your vehicle inside and out to accompany your listing. Shoot images of pertinent details like the wheels, instrument panel, center stack of controls, a wheel, inside the trunk, and so on. But don’t worry, we’ll guide you through the process, showing the best angles from which to snap your shots and how to upload them to your listing. And be sure to take a picture of your vehicle’s state of charge (SOC) gauge when fully charged that shows it at 100%. 

Again, MYEV.com can help determine what your EV is worth when you list it, but be sure to price it fairly for a quicker sale.

When a prospective buyer wants to examine the vehicle, you might feel safer showing it only during the daylight hours. Better yet, arrange to meet at a public location, like a shopping mall or supermarket parking lot or (even better) a police station. Always ride along on a test drive and ask to see a buyer’s driver’s license beforehand.

Once the terms of the sale are agreed upon, both parties should sign a sales contract. You can either handwrite or print off a simple bill of sale that simply identifies the car, the price, the parties to the sale, and that it is being purchased on an as-is basis. Never accept a personal check as payment. Taking a cashier’s check can be a bit more secure, but make sure you conclude the transaction during business hours so you can verify its validity with the bank.

Still, it’s always best to insist on cash. If you’re worried about dealing with thousands of dollars in currency, close the deal at your bank where both cash and title can change hands securely, and funds can be deposited immediately to your account. And be sure to retrieve any personal property from the vehicle, and any personal papers from the glove box, remove the license plates, and scrape off your city or town’s vehicle sticker if there is one before handing over the keys.

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