One of the most difficult things when buying a used electric car for the first time is understanding it's lifespan. We all know that a normal gas car will generally last around 150k miles before it starts having major issues. But how long can an electric car stay on the road?
The main thing that matters is battery health
Electric cars have far fewer moving components than gas powered cars. This means that electric cars generally last far longer. EVs can easily stay on the road for 300k-500k miles. But while the car can last a very long time, the cars battery is going to take a big hit over it's lifetime.
While a new Tesla Model 3 can drive over 300 miles on a single charge, it's battery could lose a great deal of it's range over a few years. Most EVs have a warranty that covers some percentage of battery loss over 8 years. In general electric cars tend to lose about 20 to 30 percent of their range after 10 years.
The problem is that mileage doesn't really give us a good picture of battery health. The main culprit to battery degradation is heat. EVs driven in warmer climates will have their batteries degrade faster, so if you do live somewhere hot pay attention to this.
Fast charging can also negatively impact battery health. So even if you live up north be sure to check the range on the battery.
If you're thinking of buying an older EV used be sure to ask questions about the range. Some older EVs have poor battery management systems that can lead to inaccurate range estimates. This can sometimes lead to the battery quickly losing range once it starts discharging poorly performing battery modules.
Just keep in mind that the range will continue to go down. Don't buy a car that has just enough range for your needs. Otherwise in a few years you'll find your car can no longer take you where you need on long road trips and range anxiety will kick in.
As long as you take into account future battery degradation you will be able to find a great deal on a very reliable electric car. Just make sure your car will still fulfill your needs in a few years once you've lost another 10% of your range. Maintenance on electric cars is easy, so even older electric cars should last you a long time as long as they have a good battery.