How I finally made the jump to buying a used electric vehicle

How I finally made the jump to buying a used electric vehicle

Paul Bordenkircher

When my wife and I relocated to Las Vegas in late 2018, I knew I was going to need a second vehicle for my commute to work, but I didn’t have a lot to spend. I hunkered down and started doing my research on what kind of car I could truly afford and would still be reliable.

As I dug in, I realized the expense of operating the car — not just fuel-ups, but regular maintenance too — was a pretty large part of the budget. I’d always been curious about electric vehicles (EVs) so I looked at them as an option. I’d seen all the buzz about Tesla EVs and had read about how low electricity and operating costs were, but the price of a new EV was out of my range. So, I dug deeper. As I did, I found there was a relatively small and unknown market of used EVs that were available, from a variety of brands, and that they were surprisingly affordable to purchase.

Now, after never being a big Chevy fan, I am a proud owner of a Chevy Spark EV. Let me walk you through how I finally made the decision to buy a used EV.

  1. Do your homework: My research told me I could afford a used electric vehicle if I was willing to look around a bit. The technology is here now and I wanted to jump into the electric vehicle movement.
  2. New or used: After doing my research, I knew I could probably afford an electric car if I bought one used. What’s the best thing about a used EV? They’re very affordable to purchase! My car was just under $30k if bought new. I got it three years later for almost a third of that price.
  3. Driving range: I considered exactly what I needed in terms of driving range. All I needed was to get from my home to the Las Vegas Strip and back (about 40 miles). Virtually all EVs on the market can achieve that, and range is continually improving with many new models able to go 300+ miles on a single charge.
  4. Charging access: There are three levels of charging. Level 1 charging can charge a car from a standard household outlet. Level 2 charging is commonly installed in homes, workplaces, and public locations — it’s the same power level as that for a dryer. And DC fast charging stations are mostly available in public locations. Since I was mostly going to charge from home and a garage, I knew I would have adequate charging access.
  5. Charging stations: How accessible are charging stations? Luckily, the Las Vegas area has 649 charging stations, and the majority of them are free. However, I mostly charge mine at home on a standard 120-volt outlet at night while I sleep — saving a surprising amount of time versus visiting a gas station every week or two.
  6. Service maintenance: I looked for a model that would be supported by the car brand’s dealerships in my area. EVs are still relatively new to the market, so many conventional auto repair shops might still be new to the service needed on an EV.
  7. Liquid-cooled battery: It was important that the vehicle has a cooling system for the battery because, you know, I live in a hot desert. And nearly every EV model has it.
  8. Finally, good warranty: I decided my best bet was to get a Certified Pre-Owned car. It comes with an extended warranty and service plan, just in case there were any problems, though I have had none so far.

The biggest challenge to my search was that Nevada didn’t have enough new or used electric vehicle options. That is why I support Governor Sisolak’s Clean Cars Nevada initiative in our state. These programs will bring more clean and electric vehicle options to car buyers like me. For all the things I was really looking for, I had to do my homework. After some time, I ended up with one car that met all of my needs. I hope you find this guide useful. Email if you make the jump to buying an electric vehicle, new or used. Good luck!