Used electric cars ‘closing value gap’ on diesels

Car data firm expects battery improvements and familiarisation with electric vehicles to bring used values closer to diesel cars

The forecasted value of used electric cars is moving closer to that of traditional diesel cars as the used vehicle market “becomes more accustomed to the technology”, vehicle data provider Glass’s claims.

According to Glass’s, which publishes an annual trade pricing book for the industry, electric vehicle residual value forecasts are in some cases already broadly similar to diesel equivalents, but with improvements expected in battery power, the gap is expected to close further.

Glass's claims the value of used electric cars is getting closer to that of used diesels

Glass’s claims the value of used electric cars is getting closer to that of used diesels

Rupert Pontin, Glass’s head of valuations, explained that the “residual gold standard” for electric vehicles is the Tesla Model S, which has a minimum 220 mile range and a three-year/60,000 mile value of around 43% of its original, brand-new value.

This, he said is “almost exactly the same as a well-established direct competitor, the BMW M535D M Sport”, which is a diesel car.

And, elsewhere in the market, the Vauxhall Ampera Electron’s residual value is around 27.85% of its brand-new value, which is close to its diesel competitor, the Insignia SRI CDTi’s 34.56%. Meanwhile, the electric BMW i3 extender Suite’s residual value is 39.11% compares with the BMW 320d Sport’s 43.46%.

Mr Pontin said: “Clearly, there is still a difference here between EVs and diesels but there are signs that it is closing all the time. Crucially, when the overall running costs of an EV are taken into account, factors such as savings on fuel mean that they may beat traditional models.”

He added that Nissan’s announcement that a new battery pack for the Leaf EV would cost 5,000 euros (£3,581) had also been “a major boost in the last few months”.

He said: “Residual values (RVs) of the Leaf are among the poorest of the EVs at around 29% at three years 60,000 miles because there are quite a number around. However, removing the mystery surrounding the battery pack pricing took away a large degree of uncertainty from forecasting its RVs. While 5,000 euros is expensive, it is something that can be planned into a budget when you are making an RV forecast.”

He said: “EVs of one kind or another currently account for about 2% of the market. However, if the UK is to meet its 2020 emissions target of 95g/km per vehicle, their penetration must increase quite rapidly. As this happens and they become a more familiar part of our daily lives, we expect electric vehicle residual values to firm up and stabilise.”

Electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles produce zero air pollution emissions at the tailpipe, and are therefore thought to help cut pollution from traffic, which benefits local air quality while also reducing carbon emissions.

Diesel vehicles have come in for criticism from air quality campaigners over their claimed contribution to nitrogen dioxide pollution, but the motor industry last week launched a campaign aimed at combatting the “demonization of diesel” for its impact on air quality (see story).

Ultra low emission vehicle numbers in the UK recently passed the 25,000 mark (see story), and the government’s Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) last week announced a number of funding opportunities to encourage further uptake (see story).


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