Electric cars are popular today for their zero-emissions design and range of enviable amenities. If you’re a cautiously optimistic buyer, then you might be wondering how well EVs hold their value. Do electric cars have good resale value?
Electric cars generally don’t hold their value very well and tend to depreciate faster than their gas-powered counterparts. Over a 3 year period, EVs usually depreciate to 52% of their original value.
Truth is, when it comes to electric cars, the drop in resale value can be startling. After just three years, most electric cars sold in America depreciate significantly, dropping in value by over 50% of their original cost.
That rate is far beyond what’s seen with cars that run on gas, where those cars may lose only 15% to 30% of their original prices after three years.
While owning an electric vehicle certainly has its pluses, the subpar resale value of EVs is certainly something to consider. If your goal is to upgrade after a few years, then an EV might not be right for you.
It’s time to crack open the mystery of EV resale values and discover why they don’t hold up in comparison to traditional gas-guzzlers. Let’s get into this.
Why Do EVs Depreciate So Quickly?
In the world of electric vehicles, there are many cars that are highly valued for their novelty. For the most part, EVs are luxurious, boasting features and amenities to match high-end gas-powered vehicles.
Unfortunately, the exclusivity and novelty of electric vehicles results in an odd phenomenon: extremely quick depreciation.
A car is a valuable asset, and considering its worth in 5, 10, or even 20 years down the line is just good practice.
Electric cars are excellent at saving money on maintenance and fuel, but their depreciation rate is alarmingly fast.
It depends on the particular vehicle to some extent, of course, but most EVs lose almost $6000 per year for the first 5 years. This translates into a net loss of $28,500 over the course of 5 years.
Compared to the average gas-powered car, that’s a $12,500 loss.
Why Do EVs Depreciate?
EVs are widely promoted for their environmental benefits, but unfortunately, their design and marketing can accelerate depreciation. For example, the government tax credit of up to $7500 is a great reason to buy an electric vehicle — but it significantly affects the value of the EV when resold.
In addition, EVs have one major issue: the battery. With a limited lifespan, the battery is ludicrously expensive and needs to be replaced around the 8-10 year mark on average.
In fact, the batteries are the most expensive component of an EV – costing upwards of $20,000.
And if you live in an area with hotter climates, you should know that extreme heat does not pair well with EV batteries.
For example, heat accelerates the normal chemical reactions inside the battery and will degrade it faster. Too much heat can generate gas that could expand and crack the battery’s casing.
Lastly, because of just how quickly EV technology is evolving, older EV models quickly become outdated, depreciating their value.
Which Electric Cars Hold Their Value the Best?
Despite electric cars traditionally having poor resale values, there are two models that do hold their value the best: the Chevrolet Bolt and the Tesla Model 3.
The Bolt is often touted for its exceptional resale value as it will only depreciate 27% after 5 years, significantly better than most other electric car models.
Meanwhile, the Tesla Model 3 has still maintained a resale value of up to 64.3%, even after three years on the market.
These two cars remain popular picks for those looking to buy a new electric vehicle. Owners can have confidence that they will be able to get their money back out of it later down the line.
In fact, the Tesla Model 3 is almost neck-and-neck with the leader for highest three year trade in value – the Toyota Tacoma pickup truck. It’s currently at 69.4%, which is 17.7% higher than the overall average 36 month resale of all vehicles – 51.7%.
Final Thoughts: Do Electric Cars Have Good Resale Value
Electric vehicles are a environmentally friendly alternative to gas-powered vehicles, but their poor resale value is definitely worth considering before you buy.
Fact is, you may not get as much value back when it comes time to sell. Of course, with gas prices on the rise, electric cars may be a more cost-effective option in the long run. But you should still expect to lose money on your investment.
Have you ever purchased or leased an electric car? What was your experience like?
Last Updated on December 31, 2022
Loves anything with a motor and wheels.
Christopher is an automotive technical writer. When he’s not at the local autocross event, he can often be found working on one of his cars. Specializes in automotive class action law, industry trends, and automotive maintenance. Email me direct, or learn more about us