Ready to Plug In? Confidently Shop for a Used Electric Vehicle

AAA Mid States

AAA recently released its new Used EV Buyer's Guide that includes basic information on electric vehicles (EVs) like ownership costs, details to consider before purchasing, and guidance for those who want an EV but need more affordable options. 

Last year’s AAA survey revealed that of consumers interested in EVs, 25% would purchase used, with Millennials (32%) the most likely to consider this option. AAA wants consumers interested in going electric, whether new or used, to be informed and educated on EV ownership before purchase to ensure a rewarding and confident experience. 

Many consumers are attracted to the idea of going electric – but worry they will face a steep price tag for a new EV. A used EV may be a more feasible option for buyers concerned about cost or those looking to add a second car to their household. 

In addition to the newly released guide, AAA has other resources to help buyers navigate the car-buying decision. The 2022 AAA Your Driving Cost analysis revealed that EVs have the second lowest annual ownership costs behind small sedans. Additionally, used EVs are estimated to cost less to own than their gas-powered counterparts. Especially for consumers looking to save significantly on fuel costs – EV owners save $8,000 or more over five years in this area.

As electric vehicles (EVs) continue to gain popularity, it's essential to know what to look for in a quality used electric vehicle and what questions to ask. Here are a few frequently asked questions:

Is buying a used EV risky, considering the cost to replace the battery if it goes bad?

Buying a used vehicle, EV or gas-powered, comes with risks. Before any major purchase, especially in the case of a used vehicle, consumers should do their research. Regarding a used EV, it is critical to understand the remaining warranty on the battery and other components before making a final decision. One thing people may not realize is that as an EV battery ages, the original range begins to decrease. This can be an indication of how much life the battery has left.

To do this, ask the dealership or seller of the EV you’re considering to have the vehicle fully charged before you arrive to see it. When you turn the vehicle on, make note of the range. Then ask the dealership or seller for the original certified range of the vehicle. Compare the two numbers – the larger the difference, the more the battery has degraded (i.e. worn out) over time.


Should car buyers who want to purchase a used EV also consider buying a warranty? Are there warranties that cover EV battery replacement?

EV owners might consider extended warranties that cover other mechanical failures, such as a powertrain warranty, to reduce unexpected out-of-pocket expenses other than the battery. Typically, extended warranties for the replacement of batteries are uncommon, especially the traction battery. This is likely because of the federally mandated warranty of 8 years/100k miles. This is why car buyers considering a used EV understand the state of the traction battery at purchase. 


Other than the battery, are there other considerations that car buyers should keep in mind for used EVs that don't apply to their gas-powered counterparts?

Like purchasing a used gas-powered vehicle, you may have to consider older technology, everyday wear and tear, and limited options and choices. The condition of the tires, brakes and other basic vehicle systems is just as or more important on an EV than a gas-powered car so don’t forget these basic items.  Buyers of used EVs can receive up to $4,000 or 30% of the price of the vehicle when purchasing an EV that is a minimum of two years old, whereas purchasers of new EVs could get a maximum tax rebate of $7,500.


The AAA Used EV Buyer's Guide is now available at

What the Guide Offers – "A Pre-Shopping Checklist"

•          Basic background of EVs

•          Driving range and charging

•          Used EV ownership cost comparisons (battery versus gas-powered) 

•          Repair and maintenance costs

•          Supplemental AAA Car Buying Resources 

To help educate the public, AAA conducts ongoing research on EVs, including consumer sentiment surveys, testing to determine factors impacting electric vehicle range, the true cost of electric vehicle ownership, and a survey on consumers' experience with going electric. To see the full body of research, visit the AAA Newsroom.