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EV demand drives used value increase, says CarGurus

Renault Zoe EV

Used electric vehicles (EV) like the Renault Zoe and BMW i3 are appreciating in value after car buyers "turned a corner" in their attitude to adoption, according to CarGurus.

The automotive shopping site has released new analysis that shows price increases for a number of EVs since 2017.

Renault’s Zoe electric supermini (pictured) performed particularly well.

CarGurus figures show that between January 2017 and November 2019 the average asking price for a used 2015 model year Renault Zoe increased by 18%, from £6,425 to £7,612.

By comparison, the average price for the most popular petrol and diesel supermini, the Ford Fiesta, decreased by 22% over the same period, from £9,165 to £7,160.

Renault's newly-updated Zoe has continued to fair well in terms of residual values. Earlier this week the French carmaker revealed that it had stopped offering the EV hatchback with a battery lease option after Cap calculated that, over three years and 30,000 miles, it is expected to retain 42% of its original purchase price.

Another strong performer in the used sector, according to CarGurus, was the BMW i3, with prices of 2014 examples on the used market increasing by 1% since the start of the year.

By comparison, values of petrol or diesel-engine Mini hatchbacks fell by 14% over the same period.

“Our data shows that the residual values of EVs have turned a corner as an increasing number of buyers are starting to take advantage of the benefits of electric motoring, such as the low running costs and easy driving manners of cars like the Nissan Leaf and Renault Zoe,” said Chris Knapman, editor.

“With the market changing so quickly it can be hard to judge what’s a fair deal, which is why the price analysis and deal ratings offered by CarGurus are such powerful tools. With this technology to hand, consumers wanting to move into the world of electric motoring can feel confident of paying a fair price.”

The Nissan Leaf is the best-selling pure EV in the UK, yet despite a good supply of used car stock its values remain consistently high. Earlier models perform even better than later versions, with the average price for a 2015 Nissan Leaf in November 2019 just 9% lower than in January 2017, at £10,438.

Turning to the higher end of the price scale, the Tesla Model S is also performing well on the used car market.

Between October 2017 and November 2019, the average price of a 2015 Model S on decreased by 29%, from £57,746 to £40,957.

While that’s a bigger drop than for cheaper EVs such as the Nissan Leaf and Renault Zoe it still significantly outperforms the most searched-for petrol or diesel-powered luxury car on the site, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

The uplift in value of cheaper EVs was also highlighted by Cap this month. Its data shows a similar pattern whereby premium EVs, due to their high list price when new, returned a lower residual value than cheaper more attainable models. 

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