You can save money by picking a gently used EV that’s just coming off a three-year lease.
Published reports suggest that close to 80 percent of all new electric vehicles are leased, in part to help keep down payments and monthly expenditures low, and to help green-minded motorists ensure they’ll keep up with the latest technology. EV sales during 2016 totaled just over 159,000 units, which means around 127,000 of them will be coming off a three-year lease during 2019.
That’s a relative flood of gently used late-model electrified rides heading back to dealers’ used-car lots this year. You can save a considerable amount of cash choosing a pre-owned EV, like any of the models listed for sale here on MYEV.com, instead of a new one. With perhaps the exception of Tesla models, older EVs suffer from lower-than-average resale values, due largely to the $7,500 federal tax credit issued to new-EV buyers and other factors. In this case, someone else’s loss would definitely be your gain.
Unfortunately, for the most part (again, Teslas are the exceptions to the rule) older EVs tend not to have the operating range of some of the latest models that can run well in excess of 200 miles on a charge. Range is arguably the most important buying consideration, perhaps next to price, among EV shoppers in either the new or used market.
That's why we compiled the above slideshow, which lists the seven EVs from the 2016 model year that afford the most number of miles with a full battery. Of course, these are average ranges, based on estimates that come from the Environmental Protection Agency, and will vary based on a number of factors, including ambient temperature, vehicle speed, and use of accessories.
What’s more, you can expect a given EV’s battery capacity to degrade a bit over time, though a three-year-old model that by nature tends to be driven fewer annual miles than the norm shouldn’t suffer much in that regard. Plus, federal law mandates that all EV batteries be covered under the manufacturer’s warranty for at least 8 years or 100,000 miles (whichever comes first), with that protection automatically extending to subsequent owners.
When examining a used EV, be sure to take note of the vehicle’s state of charge (SOC) gauge showing the battery charged at 100 percent, with the number of miles projected before it becomes depleted, and compare this to the original range estimate when new.
7. Volkswagen e-Golf
The 2016 version of the compact Volkswagen e-Golf four-door hatchback has an estimated 83-mile range, which is more than sufficient for most daily commutes. It’s EPA rated at the electric equivalent (MPG-e) of 126/105 miles per gallon in city/highway driving. The e-Golf’s range has since been bumped up to an average 125 miles on a charge.
6. Fiat 500e
The fun-to-drive subcompact Fiat 500e hatchback coupe combines Italian style with a high-tech nature. It’s estimated to run for an average of 83 miles on a charge and is rated at 121/103 MPGe city/highway. Unfortunately you may have to travel far afield to located a used 2016 500e, as it was originally sold only in California and Oregon.
5. Mercedes-Benz B250e
The 2016 Mercedes-Benz B250e is a stylish luxury-minded electric four-door hatchback with an estimated 87-mile range on a charge. It’s one of the lower-rated EVs from that year in terms of its equivalent fuel economy rating at “only” 85/82 MPGe city/highway. It was originally sold in only a handful of states in the U.S., though availability expanded before being discontinued at the end of the 2017 model year.
4. Kia Soul EV
The comely Kia Soul EV may look boxy, but it’s tall and largely horizontal roofline affords a spacious interior for both passengers and cargo. The 2016 model is estimated to run for an average 93 miles on a charge, and is EPA-rated at 120/92 MPGe city/highway. It’s being redesigned for 2020 and promises more than double that range.
3. Nissan Leaf
For 2016 the Nissan leaf was offered with two different battery capacities. A 24 kW-hr battery pack on the base version musters an 84-mile range, with an EPA rating at 126/101 MPGe. If you want the longest-running version, look for a 2016 Leaf SV or SL model that boosts the vehicle’s driving range to an estimated 107 miles, and is rated at 124/101 MPGe.
2. Tesla Model X
The still-futuristic looking Tesla Model X is not only a quick and nimble family-size crossover, it remains the longest-range SUV on the market. The Model X was offered with a number of battery packs for 2016 that delivered an operating capacity that varied from between 200 and 289 miles on a charge, with EPA ratings from 81/92 MPGe to 91/95 MPGe city/highway.
1. Tesla Model S
The winner and still champion among the longest-range EVs sold in the U.S., the large and in charge Tesla Model S continues to look fresh. With several different battery packs offered for 2016, the Model S’s operating range runs anywhere from 218 miles in the 60D version all the way up to 315 miles on a charge in the P100D, so be sure to confirm which configuration you’re getting before signing a bill of sale.