As we wrote last year on our website, EVs have many advantages, such as the fact that they don't release emissions directly by being driven around, which can prove as one of their biggest selling points.
Also, from an ownership stand point, they are cheaper and easier to maintain compared to a fossil-powered car, at least in theory.
This is because they have fewer moving parts and less consumables to worry about.
But there are also things to consider when buying or owning such a vehicle and if you buy used, there are some things you might want to be extra careful about.
Green Start-Up guide: make sure you buy for your needs
This goes for any car, really, not just electric vehicles, but not overspending or underspending could be a tricky balance to hit.
Do you need an EV for city commutes and just about that? Then a Fiat e500 or a Renault Zoe could be what you are looking for.
If you have a family or are constantly taking long trips, maybe look into a Telsa or something like a Skoda Enyaq, for example, as these models have longer range and more luggage space.
While you can definitely drive a Tesla in the city and even a large SUV such as the Enyaq, they're not ideal for such scenarios and are more two do-it-all EVs.
Take a close look at the range
This is probably the most obvious piece of advice out there, as EVs rely on batteries more often than not for their power resource.
Compared to mobile phones, they tend to lose battery capacity at a lower rate and outright battery failures are pretty rare.
As a result, you might want to take the vehicle for a spin, longer than usual, to see its behavior on a slightly longer trip, while using some of its energy-intensive functions, such as air conditioning, heating or the speaker system.
If outside conditions are less than ideal, such as very hot or very cold, you can get an even better understanding of how that particular electric car will behave under such conditions and its performance will get better in more optimal scenarios.
Some experts believe that EVs lose about 10-20% of their capacity in around a decade, so if you're buying a battery-powered car released three years ago, you should be fairly close to new when it comes to range.
There is a caveat, though, since lithium-ion batteries lose capacity faster if they are not charged properly.
Similar to a smartphone, keeping the battery percentage between 20 and 80% is the ideal way to preserve battery integrity for as long as possible, although you can't know for sure if the previous owner followed this piece of advice.
How to buy a used EV: heat is the number one enemy of lithium-ion batteries
As stated before, depending on where you live, you might find an EV for sale that's been driven in a very hot climate that has high temperatures throughout the years.
This is a potential reason to avoid buying an EV in such regions, as hot temperatures don't mix up well at all with lithium-ion batteries.
In fact, besides chaotic charging habits, this is one of the big factors that causes premature and fast degradation to a battery, whether it's installed in a phone, laptop or a car.
Cold weather also affects the performance of the batteries, but it's usually temporary, unless they've been constantly exposed to below freezing temperatures without being operated.
Damage done by overheating, on the other hand, permanently affects the battery and can even cause it to swell, which is extremely dangerous, although a rare occurrence, especially for EVs.
Motor size doesn't matter as much
When it comes to buying a traditional, fossil-powered car, there could be a big dilemma in choosing the engine for that particular vehicle, as some engines can struggle with regards to power delivery.
There are some cars that tend to be more spacious than others, but equipped with fairly low-horsepower engines and low torque, meaning that acceleration may not be sufficient.
Luckily, this is another area where EVs tend to outdo their traditional counterparts, due to the fact that their engines are usually more powerful and all the power comes in an instant as soon as you press the acceleration.
Beware of charging speeds
While most new EVs have some form of fast charging for convenience, if you're buying used, charging standards could have been lower half a decade ago, for example.
If fast charging is important to you, then buying an EV from 2019 would be the oldest you should go, for the most part, especially since it should give you better battery health, as well.
For example, charging a 2020 Fiat e500 from 24 to 188 kilometers should take 25 minutes, while a Volkswagen ID.3 Pro will take 31 minutes to juice its batteries from 35 to 280 kilometers.
Teslas are some of the fastest charging EVs out there and the Model 3 Long Range is able to charge around 380 kilometers of range in less than 30 minutes.
Having a fast-charge capable EV is great for when you are going on a long journey or if, for example, you forgot to charge your car in a while and you need a quick top-up before heading out.
Of course, your country's charging infrastructure and the available capacity at the moment you choose to charge your car is important, as well, but these are things that are constantly improving, so making sure you are future proofed in this regard is definitely a bonus.
Green Start-Up guide: everything you need to know when buying a used EV
These are some of the tips you could keep in mind when buying a used EV, but there are also the traditional car pieces of advice, such as making sure the tires are in good shape, the brakes and steering still work properly and checking out the car's other systems, as well.
All in all, when it comes to buying a used EV, shopping something as new as possible is ideal, since you are likely to get faster charging speeds, a newer battery and overall newer features for your future clean-power car.