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Tesla Model 3 for under $50K, MG ZS EV for $35K, Hyundai Ioniq for $30K: Our used electric car picks and buying tips

Electric cars are the future, but they are also expensive... unless you look for a used one.

It might seem you have to be rich to buy an electric car these days, with even some budget EVs blowing out to more than $50K, but we've found a way to get into an EV for a lot less.

We're talking about going second-hand - which might not suite every buyer, but if you want the most affordable way to go all-electric, you can't beat a pre-loved EV.

Here are some rules for buying an used EV and our second-hand electric car picks from our sister site Autotrader.

But before we begin, let us give you some advice - electric-vehicle buying rules, if you will - on what to beware of and also what to look for when purchasing a second-hand electric car.

Service history

First, look for a servicing history of the EV. Sure, electric cars don't have anywhere near as many moving and mechanical parts as a combustion engine vehicle, but proof of regular servicing means the car has been looked after properly and, in some cases, means the warranty hasn't been voided.

Warranty and battery coverage

Speaking of warranties, you want to find a brand with a long one covering both the vehicle and the electric vehicle battery. This way even if you buy a three-year-old car the EV battery (which can be costly to replace) is covered for many years yet.

Wear and tear

Next go for the newest car you can find in your budget with the lowest kilometres. Look for signs of wear and tear, damage, worn tyres, aftermarket wheels, and other modifications. It's always a good idea to have the car inspected by a licensed mechanic who specialises in electric vehicles, too.

Range

Many older EVs had a very limited range they could travel on a full charge. We're talking about 250-350km, so think about often and how far you'll regularly drive the car and how you will charge the car.

Scams

Finally, if the deal on the EV you're considering looks too good to be true, it probably is. Unfortunately, there are some people out there looking to rip you off. But you have the money and you're the boss. Always use common sense when buying, be careful when purchasing privately or go through a reputable dealer. If you're unsure what the price should be, use our price indicator tool, which will tell you what everybody else is charging in our classifieds section. Do you research at our website and become an expert on the car you're looking to buy.

With all that in mind, let's go used EV shopping...

 

2018-2022 Hyundai Ioniq Electric

Looking a bit like a Toyota Prius but with sleeker, fastback styling the Ioniq is 4.5m long, seats five, has plenty of space and good cargo capacity.

Before there was the Ioniq 5 there was the Ioniq which was made between 2018 and 2022.

Looking a bit like a Toyota Prius but with sleeker, fastback styling the Ioniq is 4.5m long, seats five, has plenty of space and good cargo capacity.

The battery in this EV is small 38.3kWh and the range is about 250km, but you can pick up low kilometre examples - we're talking less than 30,000km - for under $35K driveaway.

The Ioniq Electric has one motor driving the front wheels making 88kW and 295Nm.

Hyundai covers its cars with a five-year warranty/unlimited kilometre warranty. Even more importantly for an EV is Hyundai's eight-year/160,000km battery warranty.

When new, the 2019 Ioniq Electric Premium listed for $48,990 before on-road costs. At the time we wrote this story Autotrader had nine for sale throughout Australia. Our pick is a 2019 Ioniq Electric Premium with just 29,315km for $35,990.

 

2020-2022 MG ZS EV

The 2020 MG ZS EV has a 44.5kWh battery with a range of about 263km.

The MG ZS EV is a small SUV about 4.3m long, seats five and has excellent practicality.

The 2020 MG ZS EV has a 44.5kWh battery with a range of about 263km.

In the 2020 model, one electric motor powers the front wheel and makes 105kW and 353Nm.

The great news here is MG's warranty for the car and the battery is seven years/unlimited kilometres. So, a 2020 model MG ZS EV bought today would still have more than three years of coverage left both on the car and the battery.

When new in 2020 the MG ZS could be had drive-away for $43,990.

There were a multitude of MG ZS EVs for sale on Autotrader when we wrote this story starting at about $30K drive-away. The standout though was a 2020 model in the Essence grade with just 9706km on the clock for $34,990.

 

2019-2022 Nissan Leaf

Thanks to the Leaf being around for so long it means there’s plenty of second-hand stock, but avoid the first generation and go for the second-gen Leaf.

Nissan was one of the first brands to offer the world a fully electric vehicle with a decent range and a not-so ludicrous price - it was the Leaf and the year was 2010.

Thanks to the Leaf being around for so long it means there's plenty of second-hand stock, but avoid the first generation and go for the second-gen Leaf which was produced from 2017 onwards. That said we'd advise going for a 2019 or newer model.

The Leaf has one electric motor driving the front wheels and makes 110kW and 320Nm. A 40kWh battery gives this Leaf a range of about 270km.

When new the 2019 Nissan leaf listed for $49,990. At the time we wrote this story, there were 57 Leafs for sale on Autotrader throughout Australia with pricing starting at about $31K.

A standout example we saw is a 2019 model with 40,934km on the clock for $31,990. Despite being four years old Nissan's eight-year, unlimited kilometre battery warranty will cover you for quite a while yet.

 

2019-2020 Tesla Model 3

The Model 3 small hatch is Tesla’s most popular model, outselling even big-name traditional models like the Toyota Camry.

Tesla wasn't the first to put electric cars in Australian driveways, but you can credit it with making EVs hugely popular and desirable with sexy designs, incredible acceleration and amazing range between charging.

The Model 3 small hatch is Tesla's most popular model, outselling even big-name traditional models like the Toyota Camry. The large sales numbers of new Model 3s means we're starting to see a plentiful supply of second-hand Model 3s come onto the market.

The 2019-2020 Model 3 Standard Range Plus is rear-wheel drive and powered by a powerful electric motor making 225kW and 400Nm. The 55kWh battery gives you about 400km of range.

Brand new, an entry grade Model 3 RWD lists for $57,400, but a 2019 model can now be bought used from $48K.

At the time we published this report there were 70 Teslas for sale on our sister site Autotrader and 47 of those were Model 3s.

The pick of the current bunch is a 2020 Model 3 Standard Range Plus with 56,709km for sale at $49,990.

When new the 2020 Model 3 Standard Range Plus was covered by a four-year/80,000km warranty, but the eight-year/160,000km battery assurance period means even a three-year-old Model 3's battery is protected for some time yet.

Richard Berry
Senior Journalist
Richard had wanted to be an astrophysicist since he was a small child. He was so determined that he made it through two years of a physics degree, despite zero...
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