Fact vs. Fiction: Public Perception Of Used EVs vs. The Facts: Used EVs are more affordable and reliable than used car buyers think

By Cynthia Shahan, Clean Technica, 16 Dec 2017 

Yesterday, two women engaged me in conversation asking questions about driving an all-electric car (since I drive a Nissan LEAF). They were mystified and then happily surprised when I alleviated a few misconceptions about electric vehicles. Most of the time when I’m in a discussion about EVs, it’s because I’m charging and people walk up curious about them. In general, people seem to become much more interested once the facts on driving EVs become clear.

Recently, Autolist.com showed the average buyer’s lack of understanding of used EVs. Breaking through discrepancies of buyer opinions and market data, the study showed a lot of room for improvement selling consumers on cleaner cars.

The buyer intelligence firm Autolist.com’s study looked at user survey and live market data from 1,249 vehicle owners and 17,738 used vehicles. Among the detailed results from the November 2017 survey:

  • The Perception: The average buyer thinks a quality used EV costs $5,000 more than an equivalent gas vehicle
  • The FactsA used 2015 Nissan LEAF is cheaper than an equivalent Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla
  • The Perception: 41% of buyers are most concerned about EV reliability when vehicle range is not considered
  • The Facts: Users report the 2015 Nissan LEAF and Chevrolet Volt have better than average reliability, with the Nissan LEAF scoring better than the Honda Civic and the Toyota Corolla

“Overall, 41% of buyers cited ‘reliability’ as their principle concern with buying a used EV. However, in a review of owner reliability ratings, the 2015 Nissan LEAF was reported to be 6.3% more reliable than the average, outpacing the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, and Ford Focus. Additionally, the Chevrolet Volt was reported to be 2.5% more reliable than average. Together, the study points to a lack of alignment between buyer perceptions of used EVs, and the reality of buying and owning an EV.”

Perhaps EVs just seem like such new territory. Old perceptions are changing thanks to the exposure of owners and informative organizations, websites, and guides — and information such as this study. I found (2 years ago) when leasing the Nissan LEAF that I was educating some of the salespeople about EVs (thanks to CleanTechnica). Perhaps this is changed.

Absolutely, pricing has been misunderstood, and the study exposes that buyer perceptions of used EVs lack the facts. People are curious and to want to grasp the more comfortable reality of buying and owning an EV.

CleanTechnica found similar misconceptions when we surveyed EV drivers about the myths others often have in their head.