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What is the best EV for used buyers?

What is the best EV for used buyers?
Top Gear Advice

The MkI Nissan Leaf is not so much the best cheap EV for second-hand buyers as it is the only…

That bit when a new technology first comes out is the easiest part for the current tech company. There are people, you see, who buy everything new. They don’t even care if it works or not, they just want people to see that they’re holding it.

These people are called early adopters and they are the people who made the Nissan Leaf electric hatchback a success when it launched in 2011.

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These days we are in now are actually the most difficult phase – not because of the myriad supply chain problems, export difficulties, global workforce shortages due to illness or high inflation due to the conflict in Eastern Europe, but rather because the early adopters have all bought their cars and the electric car now has to make the transition to the mainstream.

Will buyers who don’t really care about being seen in the latest technology want to drive EVs too, or will it be too difficult for them?

It’s an interesting issue, and one that takes place in sharp relief in the used car market. Used buyers don’t get financial incentives, company car deals or countless tax breaks to run their electric cars, they just walk past the rows of cars at their local thrift store and decide which one they like.

It’s a dog-eat-dog world, only the dogs don’t want to spend too much money. That’s difficult, because there are hardly any electric cars available on the second-hand market and the cheapest ones are all Nissan Leafs.

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The Leaf looked ridiculous, was clunky inside and had an insanely small 24 kWh battery that provided an insanely short 169 mile range on the infamously forgiving NEDC cycle. You could get 90 miles out of it if you were lucky, much less into the depths of a brutally dreary British winter.

There’s a strong case for the car when you need something to run to your yard office, post a letter on the street, or stash shoes in. It is highly recommended for the driver who has a ramp and only rides within walking distance.

Unfortunately for anyone with more demanding requirements than this, the Leaf has a slightly weaker housing to work in its favor. Second-hand buyers are being held hostage by the many and varied problems that the new car market has faced over the past three or four years – Brexit, COVID-19, semiconductors, economic problems, they have all conspired to push new car sales to record pressing lows.

So fewer new cars go through to second-hand buyers. And in times of economic stress, people hold on to their cars longer, further reducing the supply. All this drives up the prices of what? is increasingly high on the market. What a nightmare unless you are a used car salesman bringing it in.

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We know there are some great EVs available new, but it will take some time for them to trickle through the market. As a second-hand buyer, that gives you two options: the first ten Nissan Leaf, or that petrol convertible in which you prefer to drive.

Best EV for used buyers – Nissan Leaf
Price:
£6,000-14,000
Range: 109 miles
Engine: 107 hp e-motor
Battery: 28kWh
Top speed: 89mph
0-62mph: 11.1 seconds
Storage space: 370 liters
Real world reach: The shops