EV RVs come in from the cold

  08 December 2019

Renault Zoe

Late last month, Renault announced class-leading residual values for the new Zoe electric car. Cap has forecast values as high as 42% for the new EV, over three years and 30,000 miles. As Renault cheerfully pointed out, that’s up there with other all-electric vehicles in the market.

It wasn’t always thus. Back in 2013, CAP actually refused to give the then-new Zoe a retailed value forecast at all. Why? Because batteries weren’t included.

Instead, they had to be leased, with a monthly contract. This lowered the purchase price but raised the running costs.

Today, increasing numbers of used car buyers are discovering the sting in the tail of considering a secondhand Zoe: it turns an affordable consideration into a rapid dismissal.

Six years on, Renault has finally conceded. All new Zoe are only sold with batteries included – the monthly lease option is no more. And retained values have benefitted as a result.

There’s more to it than that, though. Values of all electric cars are outperforming the market. Online marketplace CarGurus has analysed prices of the four most popular EVs – BMW i3, Nissan Leaf, Renault Zoe and Tesla Model S.

Instead of deprecating, they are either remaining level, or appreciating.

A 2015 Zoe has risen 18% since January 2017; since the start of the year, its value has risen 14%. Compare that to a diesel hatch, which has gone down 22 percent in three years.

The Zoe seems to be a special case (it’s smaller, more affordable EVs that are performing particularly well, says CarGurus), but even the pricier i3 has increased in value by 1% since January 2019. The Tesla and Nissan also outperformed the most searched-for petrol and diesel equivalents, sometimes remaining level for months at a time.

Editor Chris Knapman said secondhand electric car values “have turned a corner”. This trend is confirmed by the 125% rise in new electric car sales; last month, battery-electric vehicles took 3% of the UK new car market.

For years, electric car retained values have been a bone of contention, and a decided used car risk few have been willing to take. Finally, that’s turned around. Time to actively start focusing on used electric car sales for 2020?

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