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The purchase of used e-cars is finally worthwhile

Until recently, customers did not think buying a used electric car was very attractive. Rapid leaps in technology quickly made the used Stromer look old. The environmental bonus lowered the price of new cars so much that used cars became less relevant. However, this year's reduction in new car subsidies, a growing range and falling prices could now prompt a rethink.

Supply and demand increase

The supply of used e-cars has doubled within a year. An evaluation by the vehicle exchange Mobile.de showed that 25,500 used electric vehicles were advertised in January of this year. Even if the market share of used e-cars is still low at 2.4 percent, the supply figures increased by 106 percent compared to January of the previous year. Another indication of the growing demand for electric vehicles: An advertisement was successful after an average of 38 days, while combustion engines were only sold after 50 days.

And the trend for the next few years is upwards. A good guide are the numbers of new car registrations. With a market share of 13.6 percent, new e-cars are already in the running. The Vice President of the Central Association of the German Motor Trade, Thomas Peckruhn, is also of the opinion that the supply of used e-cars will increase significantly in 2024 and 2025. During this period, the leasing returns from the booming years 2021 and 2022 will come onto the market.

Why is demand increasing?

There are several reasons why the demand for electric vehicles is increasing. Probably the most decisive factor is the falling price for used e-cars. According to an evaluation by AutoScout24, there has been a change in the price development of used electric vehicles. For a long time, prices rose steadily and reached their all-time high in September last year. Since then, however, they have been falling.

The average price of an e-car on the website of the online portal AutoScout24 was 47,314 euros in January, down 14 percent on September. According to Stefan Schneck, Chief Sales Officer for Germany at AutoScout24, the changes in the energy market influenced the price decline, among other things. For example, increased electricity prices last winter and falling fuel costs at the same time would have made driving a combustion engine significantly cheaper and driving an electric car significantly more expensive. In response to rising electricity costs, used car dealers lowered the prices for used e-cars.

Also, the continuous development in the production of e-cars contributes to the reduction of costs, which leads to lower prices. The Center Automotive Research (CAR) predicts that the falling production costs will make the Stromer significantly cheaper in the future. According to Prof. Ferdinand Dudenhöffer, director of the CAR, price reductions of "up to ten percent by 2026 (...) could be possible".

Funding for new e-cars is falling

Problems for the used e-car market have arisen in the past, particularly as a result of the strong state subsidies for new cars. The price difference between a subsidized new and a used electric car was often too small to make it attractive for the buyer to buy a used car. The premium has been eliminated since December 2023 and therefore affects the price difference between new and used cars. Used Stromer are therefore becoming more attractive.

In addition to the lower prices, the stability of the value of e-cars also plays a role in the increased demand. Used Stromer have a better value stability than their fossil competitors and are considered a better investment. After two years of use, the value of e-cars falls to 79 percent of the original value and is therefore more stable than that of conventional combustion engines, which come to 69 percent. This means that used e-cars can also be resold with little loss.

Problems for used e-cars continue

It is becoming apparent that used e-cars are a serious alternative to new e-cars or used combustion engines. However, the rapid technological development of electromobility is causing problems for used electric vehicles. New cars improve in such short periods of time that used e-cars quickly become outdated.

The changes in range and charging behavior in particular are dynamic and mean that electric vehicles that are only a few years old are already falling far behind the latest models. This can act as a deterrent for customers. The well-known problem remains, and yet it still seems to be a good time to buy a used e-car. Better models will continue to emerge, but the status quo of current models is already of a high standard and could be the first step for customers planning to move into e-mobility.

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