With the Nissan Leaf electric hatchback about to be launched here, sales of second-hand electric cars are showing early indications of low retained values.
Brisbane City Council recently sold one of two electric cars at less than a third of its cost price after just two years and about 4000km. The other one failed to sell at auction, but is available at about $16,000 through Manheim auctions.
The Australian-made Blade Electron Mark V cost about $48,000 and is based on the petrol-powered equivalent Getz that last sold in 2011 for $13,990-$16,990.
Glass's Guide research analyst Rushad Parkar says retained values for a two-year-old petrol-powered Getz are 84 per cent retail and 52 per cent trade for much higher kilometres travelled. "We at Glass's as of now do not have a policy outlined to determine used values for electric cars,'' he says.
"However ... we believe the residual value will follow a path similar to that of the hybrid cars. The market is generally not showing acceptance towards them and the high price across the segment is also a major factor that hampers sales. "Also the lack of available samples ... is a major reason why we have no pricing on these vehicles.''
Brisbane City Council usually keeps vehicles for three years or 60,000km, but disposed of their Victorian-made electric vehicles after only two years and 4000km. Council refused to comment on the use of the electric vehicles but it is believed they will buy two of the new Leaf electric vehicles, costing $51,500.
Nissan corporate affairs manager Jeff Fisher says 13 dealers have been selected to sell the Leaf EV, out of their 190 dealers.
"Obviously we are looking firstly at city/urban-based dealers rather than country dealers,'' he says. "Since we launched it globally, we have had 3000 showing an initial interest and we are pursuing them to see if they are maintaining an interest as the car gets closer to sale.
"Most of those are private buyers.
"As with a lot of hi-tech vehicles, our customers will come from early adaptors, socially aware individuals, usually inner city dwellers and most likely as a second car. "Our fleet sales team has also been going around the country exposing decision-makers to the car, so we'll expect some feedback on their level of interest.''
Nissan Australia has joined with Origin Energy to assess a home recharging system.
"We are underwriting an assessment of people's homes for recharging points,'' he says. "We've got a little bit more than 100 of those in the pipeline who might be Leaf owners in the future. The car which arrives in June will be available in one trim level. "We see it as a premium model which has everything that is available,'' Fisher says.