Question Best second-hand EV as the first car?

Kevin Bolden

Novice Member

As a new resident of the States, I'm thinking about which second-hand EV I should buy as my first electric car. As I noticed, there are way too many factors that need to be taken into consideration, so I collected a couple of questions, hopefully, you can help me in them. I would be glad to have any info on:

• Power consumption of different EVs

• Recharge times

• The quality and reliability of the built-in navigational system

• Range calculation efficiency

• Battery lifespan? Degradation over time? I’m wondering how much I can trust a few years old model in this matter

• How hard is it to find a trustworthy service for EV's?

Thank you in advance!


Distinguished Member
I’d have thought that available budget for a first car is rather important as well, and would indicate the possible compromises you may have to make.


Staff member
EFFICIENCY To the best of my knowledge, the Hyundai Ioniq is the most power-efficient standard road-going EV (so, excluding things like Twizy) and it's what I have. Power consumption varies by outside temperature, use of heat and/or aircon inside and driving style, with city/regular road (<50mph) driving being more efficient than highway (>70) for example. In a mix of driving mine does typically well over 4 miles per kWh in UK "cold" conditions and over 5 mpkWh in summer. I'd assume that most/all others will not do as well to varying degrees.

RECHARGE TIMES - depends on how "empty" it is when you start and on the power output of the charger, up to a maximum rate limited by the car itself. Again, this last number varies hugely by make/model. And many (most/all?) cars do throttle their intake, especially as the car gets close to "full". A standard 240v 7kW charger post (common here at least at retail/leisure locations) runs at 7kW or thereabouts, as the name would suggest. Hence, supplying 28kWh would take 4 hours. A 50kW charger would take nominally 30 minutes to supply 25kWh. In Hyundai's case the previous model would never draw more than about 75kW even at higher powered outlets and then only for a fairly short part of the charge cycle from empty.
What is important, though, is understanding the need to re-think refuelling. Instead of always waiting until it's needed and then refuelling as a separate activity (as with liquid fuel), an EV user should take opportunities when they arise, often in parallel with some other activity. It may be overnight at home while you sleep; it may be at a retail or leisure outlet while shopping, etc; or it may be whilst eating or drinking (esp. on a long trip with refuelling en route). Those aren't always going to work out and there may well be times you have to make an otherwise unnecessary stop, but it's likely you will be able to charge whilst doing something else you were going to do anyway for a good proportion of the time. And on all those occasions, it takes (net) but a few seconds to connect and disconnect the car. Bear in mind - a (say) 180 mile range represents ~3 hours highway driving and speaking for myself - I'd be very likely to need a R&R stop for myself after 3 hours. Do it where there is a charger and it offsets the net charging time.
If your intent is to do a commute trip which is within the vehicle's range, then charging at home takes practically no net time at all.

Onboard navigation - specifically as regards the Ioniq, it's as good as any I have seen onboard other cars for routine navigation, but not constantly updated (as is the case with a smartphone app, say). And its list of charging points is not current. Updates in my case are (supposed to be) performed by the dealer at service time. They may permit user downloads in other territories; I don't know. And other makes may well differ.

Range Calcs. Often referred to by reviewers as the GOM (Guess-O-Meter). It's a calculation based on the known capacity/state of charge of the battery PLUS your recent driving activity/consumption. Hence, for (say) a full charge, it will report different estimated range depending on whether your last few trips were winter, summer, highway or town, with or without AirCon/Heat (etc). And the remaining range will fall more slowly or quickly than the actual miles driven depending on how different your current trip is to that recent average. For example, if you spend three weeks commuting in town, charge it, then hit the highway it will likely go less far than its inital estimate. As long as you understand this then you can interpret what you see in an educated manner and react accordingly.

Battery lifespan No direct experience beyond my first EV which was two years old when I traded it at which point there was zero detectable difference from new. Hyundai warranty their battery packs for 8 years/125k miles in the UK. I guess it's similar elsewhere and/or with other makes. I doubt any manufacturer will give a warranty period that doesn't have a good contingency margin. According to this page (the validity of which I cannot confirm nor deny)
The bottom line here is that if it’s properly cared for, an electric car’s battery pack should last for well in excess of 100,000 miles before its range becomes restricted. Consumer Reports estimates the average EV battery pack’s lifespan to be at around 200,000 miles, which is nearly 17 years of use if driven 12,000 miles per year.
Service Unable to comment except to say that, as they are mechanically way, way simpler than any ICE - and simpler yet still than any hybrid - the need for service (beyond routine tyres etc., aircon, brake fluids and so on which don't differ from any other vehicle) ought to be much reduced. I get mine routine servicing done at a franchised dealer as so doing maintains the warranty and "free" roadside assistance package that comes with it. And as far as I know they do precious little to it for my money. It may well be the case that if anything serious does fail in anything that's EV specific then it may cause some issues due to lack of experience - but as I say, the mechanical simplicity (no "transmission" in the conventional sense; no pistons or gaskets or turbochargers etc.) suggests the probability will be massively reduced.

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