McCarthy Chevrolet Lee's Summit Blog

5 Reasons You Should Buy a Used Electric Car or PHEV


Finding a great used car that’s cheap, reliable, and great on gas sounds like a fairy tale. If you’ve got the room for a home charger, however, pre-owned PHEVs or electric cars are excellent options that may just cover your entire wishlist. But is buying a pre-owned EV or plug-in hybrid car better than buying new? Take a look at these top 5 reasons why you should consider financing a used electric car.

Electric Pump

5. Lower Cost

When you buy a new EV or plug-in hybrid, you may be eligible to receive up to $7,500 in federal tax credits. However, when you take into consideration the upfront cost of buying new, a used PHEV is usually easier on your wallet.

For example, a new model like the Honda Clarity has a sticker price of over $33,000. Reduce that by the maximum federal tax rebate—again, that rebate scales up to a max of $7,500—and you’re paying about $26,000.

With a pre-owned electric vehicle or plug-in car, you’ll pay much less out-of-pocket. Take a used Chevy Volt, for instance. New, the Volt is priced comparably to the Clarity; used or certified pre-owned Volts, however, can usually be had for under $20,000. By our math, that’s at least $6,000 in savings for a vehicle that’s just a few years old.

That amount of savings isn’t even taking into account how much you pay for fuel. Using this online Vehicle Cost Calculator, we compared the ownership cost of a used 2017 Chevy Cruze to that of a used 2017 Chevrolet Volt and used 2017 Bolt. By cost-per-mile, the Bolt EV ($0.08) was by far the cheapest vehicle to own, followed by the Volt PHEV ($0.12) and the Cruze ($0.15). As such, operating costs followed suit.

Cost of Ownership Graph


4. State EV Incentives

Although pre-owned electric automobiles aren’t eligible for federal tax breaks, your state or county may offer incentives that reduce your cost of ownership. Several electric utility companies have instituted “off-peak” hours for customers who own EVs, allowing them to charge their vehicles at a reduced rate (usually at night). Others offer incentives and rebates on certain electric vehicle models or home charging stations.

It’s best to ask your utility company if they have any special programs in place for EVs prior to buying one. And be sure to check for updates on state-wide policies at

3. Battery Longevity

Electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids have come a long way over the last decade. Today’s PHEVs don’t have the same issues with battery life and defects as they once did, and they can last more than a decade, which is just added peace of mind to any potential used EV shopper.

How? Modern electric car batteries are protected by special thermal management systems and a “battery buffer.” This buffer limits potential battery degradation—the same type of degradation that ruins smartphones after a few short years—by instituting a cap on usable energy capacity. Older electric vehicles didn’t have this technology in place.

Many brands provide extended pre-owned warranties specific to their electrified vehicles; these often cover the car’s internal battery and components from failure for years. GM’s Chevy Bolt and Volt warranties carry over on all certified pre-owned sales. The warranty covers EV batteries, brakes, drive units, and other equipment for a period of 8 years or 100,000 miles, and it can be transferred to any subsequent owner at no cost.

Because EVs are more reliable than ever, costs to maintain and service them are also low.

2. Decent All-Electric Driving Range

Because newer electric vehicles can travel faster on a single charge, older EVs have fallen to the wayside. That’s good for any bargain-hunter who doesn’t have a long daily commute. Older-model Chevrolet Volts can go about 53 miles on pure electric, so even daily trips from Lee’s Summit to Kansas City are possible. Better yet is the Chevy Bolt. 2017 Bolt EVs can travel over 230 miles at 100% charge, so you won’t need to plug it in every day.

1. Zero Emissions

Humans emitted over 40 billion tons of CO2 in the atmosphere last year; if this trend isn’t curbed by 2050, the scientific community agrees that a bleak future awaits us. EVs, or zero-emissions vehicles (ZEVs), are one of the few solutions on the table—and to meet that lofty goal, all new cars sold in America will need to be zero-emissions vehicles by the year 2035. Electric automobiles like the Chevy Bolt are aiding in this effort. You should consider joining the fight, too.

There’s a low demand for used electric cars—but that won’t last long. As more people buy new EVs and PHEVs, the pre-owned market will expand. Now’s the time to hop aboard this gravy train, as prices remain low and resale values stay high.

Browse our selection of pre-owned electric and hybrid vehicles for sale near Kansas City. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, contact us at 816-356-6610; the sales team at McCarthy Chevrolet Lee’s Summit will gladly help you locate the right EV at a price you can live with.

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