Tips to keep in mind when buying a used electric car
Are you going to buy an electric car and want to turn to the second-hand market? Here are some tips to keep in mind when you go to evaluate a battery-powered car in the second-hand market. In fact, there are some checks that need to be carried out very carefully.
An electric car, engine and battery aside, does not differ too much from an endothermic model. Therefore, most of the checks to be done to check the state of health of the vehicle do not differ from the “classic” ones. Where you really need to pay attention is to the residual capacity of the accumulator.
Given the high costs for a possible replacement of the battery, provided that it is possible to do it in the model we are evaluating, it is essential to make sure that it is still in a good state of efficiency. But let’s go in order.
General checks to be carried out
First of all, let’s remember a fundamental rule that may seem obvious, but that is always good to reiterate. The checks must be done by mechanics, that is, by professionals who know how to accurately assess the state of the car and who are able to detect invisible defects for those who are not of the trade.
DIY could be a temptation, especially for those who have some small experience in mechanics. A hobbyist, however, can never reach the level of knowledge of those who make cars his profession: if we have a mechanic friend or a trusted professional, it is always a good rule to turn to him.
So, what are the general checks to be carried out on an electric vehicle? As mentioned, they are more or less those of a normal endothermic car. It will be necessary to check the state of the tires, brakes, bodywork, interior and all the classic elements that are subject to periodic maintenance.
In the case of electric cars there is an important advantage. Given the absence of the endothermic engine, it will not be necessary to verify the functioning of all its mechanical parts. Electric powertrains, as we know, are practically not subject to maintenance and have a much longer life than that of internal combustion units.
Of course, it is always important to check if the car has regularly made all the coupons and find out if it has suffered any kind of accident. In this regard, you can find several online services that reconstruct the history of the vehicle.
Check battery status
We come, now, to the most important aspect to check on an electric car: the state of the battery. Those who buy an electric car should know that, with time, the accumulator loses capacity due to a number of factors (age, number and type of recharges and more). This means, in simple terms, that if new it will be able to allow the car to travel, for example, 400 km, after 4-5 years of use, it will allow the vehicle to travel shorter distances on a single charge.
In technical jargon we speak of “State of Heath” (SOH), and it is a value indicated with a percentage. 100% means that the battery has the maximum capacity. With time and usage, the value of the SOH will tend to fall.
It is true that the batteries have a warranty that allows the replacement at the expense of the manufacturer, but it is equally true that it is necessary that the accumulator loses a lot of capacity (on average a loss of 30% within no more than 6-8 years) in order to request the change under warranty.
Therefore, you cannot rely on the guarantee to rest assured. The risk is to find yourself with a car perhaps paid a lot, able to travel less km than originally promised.
But how do we see this battery parameter so important? It must be the seller to certify this data. If you are a private individual, you will have to contact a dealer or a certifying service. If, on the other hand, the car is already at an official dealership, it will be directly the seller who will have to detect this important value which, of course, must be as high as possible.
What if we don’t trust it? This control in some cases can be carried out independently. All this requires only a few small technical skills, a Bluetooth or WiFi reader to be connected to the OBD port of the car and a small software for the smartphone.
On the market there are still electric cars originally bought with the rental battery. These are mainly renault zoe. In these cases, it must be remembered that in addition to the cost of the car you will have to take charge of the payment of the monthly fee which, however, does not decrease over time. However, with the rental battery, in case of problems the manufacturer intervenes immediately and the replacement is always free.
Know what you are buying
It may seem trivial, but you need to know well the model you intend to buy. We must verify exactly the version that is proposed to us: manufacturers sell their electric cars differentiating them, in some cases, only by the capacity of the battery. Therefore, it is essential to ask ourselves what is the version of the car that we find ourselves considering.
The risk is that we think of buying a model with a certain battery and then actually finding ourselves with a different accumulator. In addition, older generation cars may have less and less common charging connectors (such as chAdeMO), which could lead to problems when refueling energy. Still on the subject of charging, it is necessary to check the maximum power in alternating current and direct current to which we can “refuel” the car we want to buy.
In general, speaking of the car charger, a three-phase version at 11 kW or 22 kW is preferable to reduce the time of a full tank of energy to public columns. And if it is the first electric owned, let’s remember to study well how charging works to understand everything you need to make a full of energy at home or on the go. Speaking of charging apps, that of Plenitude+Be Charge allows you to access thousands of refueling points throughout Italy, both Quick and Fast, with great ease. In addition to pay-as-you-go rates, prepaid packages or subscriptions are available that allow you to save money if we plan to use the public recharge more frequently.
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