A Helpful Guide On Used Electric Cars To Avoid


Used electric cars are a hot commodity right now. Due to shortages of materials as well as higher demands for electric cars because of raised gas prices, used electric cars have become more desired. Some electric cars are more desired than others however and there are even some used electric cars that should be avoided altogether. 

Here is a list of used electric cars to avoid. This includes the first-gen Tesla Roadster, Fisker Karma, and the Smart ForFour EQ. Each of these cars had glaring problems that made them horrible to drive. Each of these vehicles had a very limited range as well as horrendous quality issues and should be avoided completely.

Since electric cars are so new there is still a relatively small supply for used electric cars. Most electric cars will easily last over 8 years so we are just barely getting to the point where people are starting to get rid of their first electric cars. You don’t want to end up with a used electric car that doesn’t work. 

Top 5 Electric Cars To Avoid

As mentioned in the intro there are definitely certain electric cars that you shouldn’t even consider buying whether new or used. The top 5 electric cars to avoid would be the first generation Tesla Roadster, the Fisker Karma, the Smart ForFour EQ, the Mazda MX-30, and the DS3 Crossback E-tense. Each of these electric cars has different reasons for why you should avoid getting them that we will take a peek into. 

The first generation Tesla Roadster came out in the very early days of electric cars. The Roadster was actually the first street legal lithium-ion powered car. With a stylish design and crazy fast acceleration that you get with electric cars the Tesla Roadster seemed very promising. There ended up being a lot of problems with the first gen Tesla Roadster. For one, the battery seemed to fail quite often and would deliver less than predicted range most of the time. Engines overheating were also common. Brake failure was another significant problem. 

Those were the major problems but there were also many minor problems that were major annoyances. For example, the tire monitor system seemed to be as obnoxious as possible and gave false readings and would constantly cause problems. Water for some reason would leak into the headlamps. The interior of the car had pieces that seemed very cheap and not very comfortable. It also is very noisy to drive in the roadster, you can hear everything that’s going on outside. To top it all off you would get all of this for a very hefty price tag of $109,000.

The Fisker Karma was designed to be a high end luxury electrical car to match up with Tesla. When it came time to get these cars on the road they definitely did not live up to the hype. The Fisker Karma had a very sleek, sporty design but did not perform like a sports car. The performance of the car was determined to be substandard and the interior was very cramped and uncomfortable. 

There ended up being 5 recalls made on the vehicle which included concerns about metal fragments being shot into passengers from airbags and the engine having problems with cooling and starting on fire. To top all of this off the Fisker Karma had an enormous price tag of $108,000, way more than most people are willing to pay, especially for an electric car that has a mountain of problems. Eventually Fisker failed but a Chinese company has bought the company and is trying to restart it. 

The Smart ForFour EQ is a small electric car that is mainly found in Europe. Even though the small size of the car is a benefit in Europe there are complaints by owners about how cramped the car is as well as how there is virtually no storage space in the car. Another major reason that you should avoid the Smart ForFour EQ is that it has a tiny battery! The Smart ForFour EQ was not designed to go the distance, at all. 

The Smart ForFour EQ has a battery that is only 17kWh and has a range of less than 100 miles. The other thing to note is that it isn’t like the Smart ForFour EQ is super cheap. A new ForFour is usually in the $20,000 range and for that you have a lot of other options. You are going to get a whole lot more bang for your buck by choosing a different electric car to purchase. 

The Mazda MX-30 is Mazda’s first electric car and as it is common to have problems the first time doing things there are some bumps that are being worked out with the car. The MX-30 has already had a few recalls concerning airbags and a couple of different operating systems. Even with the recalls there hasn’t been any major problems but since the car is so new it is hard to tell how reliable these cars will actually be. 

Complaints have been made about charging the MX-30. It has been reported by some owners that it seems that the range of their MX-30 continues to decrease each time that they charge it. Even though problems relating to the battery or the range of the vehicle can often times be because of how the owner drives and charges the car, it is worth looking into more. 

The DS3 Crossback E-tense is a french made electric car. The car does look pretty good for a SUV big enough to fit a small family and doesn’t have any major problems but there are better options when you are looking for a used electric car. The Crossback has a decent range of almost 200 miles. It’s speed and handling however is sub par when compared to similar electric cars. The biggest draw back is that you can get an electric car that is better all around for the same price of nearly $40,000 new.

Red Flags To Avoid When Looking For A Used EV

Red flags for used electric cars are very similar to red flags when buying any regular used car. Getting to inspect and see a car in person is always going to be better than solely relying on pictures. Make sure to check the state of the tires and make sure all of the systems like the air conditioning, radio, and gauges are working.

It is always a good idea to test drive an EV before you purchase one so you can make sure that everything runs well and that you even enjoy driving it. When you accelerate, make sure that the electric car is still accelerating quickly like all electric cars should. Driving can also help you see what condition the suspension and brakes are in. 

The biggest thing you want to be concerned with while looking at used electric cars is the condition of the battery. You should always ask to have a diagnostics test done by a car technician so you can know the battery’s exact health condition. Do keep in mind that there is going to be some wear on the battery, but it should still be in a good state. You will have to pay a little bit of money for this test, but it can be worth it to make sure that the battery is in the condition you want it to be in. 

Is It Safe To Buy A Used EV With A Salvaged/Branded Title?

Be careful buying a used EV that has a salvaged or branded title. It’s difficult to tell for sure if it is safe to buy a used EV with a salvaged or branded title because it all depends on why the car is salvaged or branded in the first place. If the car was stolen or had/has hail damage then the car should be just fine. Always avoid any electric vehicle that was involved with a flood; that’s an almost guarantee that the battery is toast. Flooded electric vehicles can be have a lot of problems that may not be apparent at first. 

Is There A Specific Mileage That Is Too High For A Used EV That You Should Avoid?

In terms of car lifetime measured in mileage, electric cars have pretty similar lifetimes to that of non-electric cars. Most electric cars don’t make it over 200,000 so it’s best to avoid electric cars that are over 150,000 miles. This, of course, is going to depend on the type of electric car. Teslas are reported to be able to make it to 200,000 miles. Other electric cars like Nissan Leafs or Chevy Volts usually have a life time of less than 180,000 miles or so.

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