The Best Electric Cars to Buy Used in 2021

The Best Electric Cars to Buy Used in 2021

For those that can afford to buy one, getting an electric car is an opportunity to lower your carbon footprint, while saving serious dough at the pump. And while EVs still command a premium over their gas-powered equivalents, there are still bargains to be found in the used market.

And, unlike a decade ago, EVs are less of a gamble. The underlying technology found in modern electric cars has improved dramatically, and drivers now enjoy longer ranges and better on-road performance. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Electric vehicles require far less maintenance than gas or diesel cars. With no spark plugs or oil changes to worry about, there are fewer reasons to crack open the hood. Additionally, brake wear is significantly reduced due to the use of regenerative braking.
  • They cost less to run. In 2018, the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute found that EV owners typically pay $485 each year to power their car. Owners of gasoline-powered vehicles paid $1,117, or more than twice as much.
  • Charging is increasingly convenient. In addition to at-home charging, there are an estimated 41,045 public charging stations in the US. Although not nearly as common as conventional gas stations (the US has around 115,000), public charge points are common enough to depend upon.
  • Batteries should last the entire lifespan of the car without needing replacement. After a decade’s worth of use, it should still be able to retain at least 30 percent of its original capacity. Additionally, EV manufacturers are obligated to provide an eight-year (or 100,000 mile, whichever comes first) battery warranty, giving additional reassurance.
  • Although battery replacements are expensive (Tesla, for example, charged one insurer almost $16,000 for a new battery pack), carmakers and third-party companies are increasingly offering cheaper refurbished batteries.
  • Some states offer tax rebates and incentives for electric car buyers. California, the biggest US market for EVs, offers up to $2,000 against the cost of buying or leasing a new zero-emissions vehicle. Florida offers $1,000.

Convinced, but looking for a bargain? Buying used can save you some serious money. We’ve compiled a list of some of the best electric cars on the pre-owned market. From sporty SUVs to space-saving subcompacts, we’ve got something to please everyone.

Cheap Electric Cars

2016 Chevrolet Spark EV (from $8,650)

2016 Chevrolet Spark EV (from $8,650)

The 2016 Chevrolet Spark is a city car through-and-through. Its compact frame makes it perfect for squeezing into tight parking spaces, while its exceptional handling means it’s well-suited for maneuvering through urban environments.

Despite its budget price, the Spark is surprisingly packed with modern conveniences, with built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and USB audio. Meanwhile, its leatherette seating and heated seats add a touch of luxury seldom found below the $10,000 price point. That said, its small size and limited cargo space means it’s better suited to couples than families, while its slow charging speeds mean prospective owners will need to plan ahead before hitting the road.

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2016 Chevrolet Spark EV (from $8,650)

The 2016 Chevrolet Spark is a city car through-and-through. Its compact frame makes it perfect for squeezing into tight parking spaces, while its exceptional handling means it’s well-suited for maneuvering through urban environments.

Despite its budget price, the Spark is surprisingly packed with modern conveniences, with built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and USB audio. Meanwhile, its leatherette seating and heated seats add a touch of luxury seldom found below the $10,000 price point. That said, its small size and limited cargo space means it’s better suited to couples than families, while its slow charging speeds mean prospective owners will need to plan ahead before hitting the road.

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Shop Used Chevrolet Spark EV

2015 Volkswagen e-Golf (from $10,750)

2015 Volkswagen e-Golf (from $10,750)

A sporty ride with exceptional handling, the 2015 e-Golf is a Volkswagen through-and-through, and promises a fun driving experience. As an added bonus, it comes with an interior that prioritizes comfort and convenience with inclusions like Carplay support, a reverse parking camera, heated seats, and Bluetooth connectivity.

While its range makes this better-suited for commuting and shopping trips (depending on driving style, you can expect between 80 and 100 miles), you shouldn’t worry about range too much. It’ll charge up to 80% battery in just half an hour using a 240-volt adaptor.

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2015 Volkswagen e-Golf (from $10,750)

A sporty ride with exceptional handling, the 2015 e-Golf is a Volkswagen through-and-through, and promises a fun driving experience. As an added bonus, it comes with an interior that prioritizes comfort and convenience with inclusions like Carplay support, a reverse parking camera, heated seats, and Bluetooth connectivity.

While its range makes this better-suited for commuting and shopping trips (depending on driving style, you can expect between 80 and 100 miles), you shouldn’t worry about range too much. It’ll charge up to 80% battery in just half an hour using a 240-volt adaptor.

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2017 Ford Focus Electric (from $12,350)

2017 Ford Focus Electric (from $12,350)

A recent model, the 2017 Ford Focus delivers exceptional value for money. Its large battery pack delivers ranges of up to 115 miles, depending on driving style, while its fast charging system provides up to 75 miles range within 30 minutes. Meanwhile, its spacious interior and generous back seat make this a tempting proposition for families.

In terms of amenities, the Focus doesn’t cut corners, including real leather seats and keyless entry and ignition. Also included is a built-in touchscreen navigation system, a back-up camera, and a powerful built-in sound system.

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2017 Ford Focus Electric (from $12,350)

A recent model, the 2017 Ford Focus delivers exceptional value for money. Its large battery pack delivers ranges of up to 115 miles, depending on driving style, while its fast charging system provides up to 75 miles range within 30 minutes. Meanwhile, its spacious interior and generous back seat make this a tempting proposition for families.

In terms of amenities, the Focus doesn’t cut corners, including real leather seats and keyless entry and ignition. Also included is a built-in touchscreen navigation system, a back-up camera, and a powerful built-in sound system.

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Small Electric Cars

2014 BMW i3 (from $13,650)

2014 BMW i3 (from $13,650)

Good things come in small packages. The 2014 BMW i3 exemplifies this saying, offering a delightful driving experience. It packs the exceptional performance and handling you’d expect from a BMW, making it adept at city and highway driving alike.

Although its range isn’t the best we’ve ever seen (81 miles, per the EPA), this particular model comes with a built-in range extender. This is a small gas generator that recharges the battery when it reaches critically low levels, giving the driver extra time to find a recharge point. In terms of amenities, this model comes with leather seats, touch-screen navigation, and a reverse parking camera.

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2014 BMW i3 (from $13,650)

Good things come in small packages. The 2014 BMW i3 exemplifies this saying, offering a delightful driving experience. It packs the exceptional performance and handling you’d expect from a BMW, making it adept at city and highway driving alike.

Although its range isn’t the best we’ve ever seen (81 miles, per the EPA), this particular model comes with a built-in range extender. This is a small gas generator that recharges the battery when it reaches critically low levels, giving the driver extra time to find a recharge point. In terms of amenities, this model comes with leather seats, touch-screen navigation, and a reverse parking camera.

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2018 Smart fortwo prime (from $11,950)

2018 Smart fortwo prime (from $11,950)

The two-seat 2018 smart fortwo is one of the smallest EVs money can buy, and can comfortably handle even the most crowded of city parking lots. While it lacks some of the welcome extras found in other cars of its era, like Apple Carplay, you’re unlikely to mind. Its 57-mile range means it’s only really equipped for city driving, commuting, and running errands.

Nonetheless, the fortwo offers a brisk driving experience, and storage capacity is surprisingly decent considering its small frame. Charging is also excellent, with its 240-volt home wall charger able to fully replenish the car’s battery in just three hours.

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2018 Smart fortwo prime (from $11,950)

The two-seat 2018 smart fortwo is one of the smallest EVs money can buy, and can comfortably handle even the most crowded of city parking lots. While it lacks some of the welcome extras found in other cars of its era, like Apple Carplay, you’re unlikely to mind. Its 57-mile range means it’s only really equipped for city driving, commuting, and running errands.

Nonetheless, the fortwo offers a brisk driving experience, and storage capacity is surprisingly decent considering its small frame. Charging is also excellent, with its 240-volt home wall charger able to fully replenish the car’s battery in just three hours.

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2015 Fiat 500e (from $8,500)

2015 Fiat 500e (from $8,500)

A solid all-rounder, the 2015 Fiat 500e provides almost everything you’d want from an electric city car: a solid 87-mile range, 240-volt fast charging that delivers a full charge in four hours, and an exceptionally fun drive.

Handling and acceleration is solid, and this Italian stallion comes with a generous sprinkle of added extras that make it a compelling choice for the first-time EV buyer. Its comfortable leatherette are wonderfully extravagant, while its small cabin packs a premium sound system, built-in navigation, and Bluetooth support.

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2015 Fiat 500e (from $8,500)

A solid all-rounder, the 2015 Fiat 500e provides almost everything you’d want from an electric city car: a solid 87-mile range, 240-volt fast charging that delivers a full charge in four hours, and an exceptionally fun drive.

Handling and acceleration is solid, and this Italian stallion comes with a generous sprinkle of added extras that make it a compelling choice for the first-time EV buyer. Its comfortable leatherette are wonderfully extravagant, while its small cabin packs a premium sound system, built-in navigation, and Bluetooth support.

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All-electric SUVs and Sedans

2013 Toyota RAV4 EV (from $12,350)

2013 Toyota RAV4 EV (from $12,350)

The 2013 Toyota RAV4 EV is basically a Tesla with a different name, using the same software and battery tech found in that year’s Model S, as well as the same AC motor. And it shows. Acceleration is lightning-fast: and the RAV4 EV goes from 0-60MPH in just seven seconds. Range, meanwhile, is solid. You can expect to squeeze 100 miles of driving from its 41.8kWH battery.

But despite that, it’s still a compact SUV. Although unlikely to win any beauty contests, growing families will appreciate the 2013 RAV4 EV’s generous cargo and cabin space. Charging time isn’t the fastest, with the included 110-volt charger taking 40 hours for a full recharge, although an optional 220-volt charger brings that down to just five hours. As for modern conveniences, it’s got a central navigation screen, Bluetooth, and a backup camera, among others.

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2013 Toyota RAV4 EV (from $12,350)

The 2013 Toyota RAV4 EV is basically a Tesla with a different name, using the same software and battery tech found in that year’s Model S, as well as the same AC motor. And it shows. Acceleration is lightning-fast: and the RAV4 EV goes from 0-60MPH in just seven seconds. Range, meanwhile, is solid. You can expect to squeeze 100 miles of driving from its 41.8kWH battery.

But despite that, it’s still a compact SUV. Although unlikely to win any beauty contests, growing families will appreciate the 2013 RAV4 EV’s generous cargo and cabin space. Charging time isn’t the fastest, with the included 110-volt charger taking 40 hours for a full recharge, although an optional 220-volt charger brings that down to just five hours. As for modern conveniences, it’s got a central navigation screen, Bluetooth, and a backup camera, among others.

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2016 Kia Soul EV (from $11,350)

2016 Kia Soul EV (from $11,350)

The 2016 Kia Soul EV is undeniably practical. If cargo space is a concern, you'll be happy to know it's got plenty of it, with a roomy cabin space and hatchback perfect for a person on the go. But that’s only part of the story, with the SUV offering a solid 93-mile range and three charging options (two AC at 120-volts and 240-volts, plus one 480-volt DC).

Hooked up to a DC output, owners can replenish the Soul EV’s 27kWH battery to 80 percent in just 30 minutes. On a more conventional 240-volt output, it hits full capacity after five hours. This is accompanied by a generous bundle of added extras, including navigation, a reverse parking camera, and a crystal-clear sound system.

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2016 Kia Soul EV (from $11,350)

The 2016 Kia Soul EV is undeniably practical. If cargo space is a concern, you'll be happy to know it's got plenty of it, with a roomy cabin space and hatchback perfect for a person on the go. But that’s only part of the story, with the SUV offering a solid 93-mile range and three charging options (two AC at 120-volts and 240-volts, plus one 480-volt DC).

Hooked up to a DC output, owners can replenish the Soul EV’s 27kWH battery to 80 percent in just 30 minutes. On a more conventional 240-volt output, it hits full capacity after five hours. This is accompanied by a generous bundle of added extras, including navigation, a reverse parking camera, and a crystal-clear sound system.

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Shop Used Kia Soul EV

2019 Kia Niro EV EX (from $29,950)

2019 Kia Niro EV EX (from $29,950)

At the pricier side of things, we’ve got the 2019 Kia Niro EV. As a recent model, owners benefit from recent advances in battery tech, with the Niro delivering an exceptional 239-mile range, despite its hefty frame. Support for DC fast charging means you can reach 80 percent capacity in an hour, while more conventional 240-volt AC chargers can fully replenish it overnight.

Added benefits include a welcome selection of media options: from Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, to Bluetooth and satellite radio. Meanwhile, your tunes will sound impressive pumping through the Niro’s Harman Kardon speakers.

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2019 Kia Niro EV EX (from $29,950)

At the pricier side of things, we’ve got the 2019 Kia Niro EV. As a recent model, owners benefit from recent advances in battery tech, with the Niro delivering an exceptional 239-mile range, despite its hefty frame. Support for DC fast charging means you can reach 80 percent capacity in an hour, while more conventional 240-volt AC chargers can fully replenish it overnight.

Added benefits include a welcome selection of media options: from Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, to Bluetooth and satellite radio. Meanwhile, your tunes will sound impressive pumping through the Niro’s Harman Kardon speakers.

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30-days warranty
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Shop Used Kia Niro EV EX

Tesla Model 3 Long Range (from $34,950)

Tesla Model 3 Long Range (from $34,950)

The Tesla Model 3 is the most affordable EV from the Silicon Valley carmaker, but it’s no slouch, delivering the white-knuckle performance and exceptional range endurance the company is known for.

The 2018 Model 3 comfortably hits 60MPH in just 5.1 seconds, while its expanded battery pack provides up to 310 miles of range, depending on driving style. It also comes with the largest infotainment system of any of the cars listed, measuring 15-inches across and mounted centrally on the sedan's elegant dashboard.

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Tesla Model 3 Long Range (from $34,950)

The Tesla Model 3 is the most affordable EV from the Silicon Valley carmaker, but it’s no slouch, delivering the white-knuckle performance and exceptional range endurance the company is known for.

The 2018 Model 3 comfortably hits 60MPH in just 5.1 seconds, while its expanded battery pack provides up to 310 miles of range, depending on driving style. It also comes with the largest infotainment system of any of the cars listed, measuring 15-inches across and mounted centrally on the sedan's elegant dashboard.

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Conclusion

More and more Americans are choosing to ditch the pump in favor of a greener alternative, and that shows in the incredible diversity of EVs available right now. From cheap electric cars like the 2016 Chevrolet Spark, to high-powered sedans like the Tesla Model 3, there’s something for everyone. And buying used can give you all the cost benefits that come with owning an EV, without the steep upfront cost.

With Shift, you can get a great bargain on your next all-electric auto, with the added benefits of a 30-day warranty, a 7-day returns period, and a free 150-point pre-sale inspection from one of our qualified mechanics.

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Author
Shift Editorial Team