Used cars are finally becoming popular in China, where car buyers have traditionally preferred new cars over used ones by a wide margin. The growth of China’s used car sales applies to electric cars, too, with sales of used EVs nearly doubling to 47,000 in 2020. The China Automobile Dealers Association expects that number will be bigger by the end of 2021, as Bloomberg reports.
This growth is good because even though China has affordable EVs like the Wuling MINI EV, having even more affordable options — say, used versions of the same cars — makes EVs available to more people. We don’t just need more EVs; we also need used EVs. And once again, China’s EV market is enviable.
The most popular price bracket for used EVs is just under $16,000, according to Bloomberg, but the used prices start way lower. The Wuling MINI EV can cost as little as $4,150 on the used market, down from about $5,000 for a new one. That may not sound like much of a difference, but it’s almost one-fifth of the price. Other electric cars are hovering around the same figure for value retained.
Used EVs from Li Auto keep about 80 percent of their value, those from Nio keep 77 percent, and those from Tesla keep about 74 percent. That’s over a quarter off the Tesla’s price when new! And it’s not like these used electric cars are obsolete, or have depleted batteries.
The majority of used EVs being bought in China are less than three years old, per CADA. I bet an EV from 2018 that’s cheaper by one-fifth, or one-fourth, of its price when new would be appealing to a lot of buyers in the U.S. who are still not totally convinced that electric cars are for them.
We keep waiting for EVs to dip under the $30,000 mark, but even with reduced range, it’s not likely we’ll see a cheap electric car very soon. But the used market could fill the cheap EV gap in the U.S. — if it ever gets backs to normal, that is. It’s not ideal, but the only cheap electric car we’ll see in the short-to-mid term will probably be a used one.