Guide to Buying Second Hand Electric Cars

Electric Car Charging

There’s no denying it: the electric car revolution has landed, and more Aussies than ever are looking to make the switch from traditional petrol guzzlers to eco-friendly electric vehicles (also commonly referred to as EVs). And why not? There is a whole host of reasons to buy an electric vehicle, not least of all its eco-friendly design. And while the upfront price of an EV can sometimes be more than a traditional petrol car, electric cars are generally much less expensive to maintain and run. 

However, if the upfront cost of a brand-new electric vehicle seems pricey, then buying a second hand electric car could be the answer. 

Understanding How Electric Vehicles Work

Before we take a closer look at the range and features of electric cars, let’s get a grip on how they actually work. Unlike their petrol counterparts, electric vehicles run on, well, electricity. But there’s more to it than that. 

Pure Electric Vehicles (EVs)

Running solely on electric power, pure electric vehicles can be charged up at charging stations and are ready to take you wherever you need to go—without a single drop of petrol or diesel.

Some examples of popular pure electric vehicles include the Nissan Leaf, the Polestar 2, and the Tesla Model Y. 

Plug-in Hybrid EVs (PHEVs)

Think of these as the best of both worlds. They have an electric motor and a petrol engine. What this means is that when the electric charge runs out, the petrol engine kicks in, ensuring you’re never stranded.

Two popular examples of hybrid electric vehicles are the Toyota Prius and the Polestar 1. 

The Advantages of Going Electric

Switching to electric isn’t just a trend. It’s a lifestyle choice with plenty of benefits that go beyond being economical. 


One of the most significant advantages of electric vehicles is their green credentials. With zero tailpipe emissions, they contribute to cleaner air and a healthier environment. So, every time you drive, you’re doing your bit for Mother Earth.


While the initial purchase price might be higher, the running costs of EVs are considerably lower. Electricity is cheaper than petrol, and with fewer moving parts, maintenance costs are reduced. 

Quiet and Smooth

Another advantage of electric motors over petrol motors is that they’re much quieter. Electric cars offer a quiet and smooth driving experience, making your rides more peaceful and enjoyable. 

Instant Torque

One of the joys of driving an electric car is the instant torque. This means rapid acceleration right from a standstill, giving you that exhilarating feeling every time you hit the pedal.

Understanding Battery Life and Range

The battery is the lifeblood of an electric vehicle, and understanding its range and longevity is crucial when you make your purchase. 

Battery Range

The range indicates how far your EV can travel on a full charge. While early electric cars had limited ranges, advancements in technology have seen newer models boasting ranges comparable to their petrol counterparts, which is great news for those of us who love a good cross-country road trip. Always check the range on the EV you plan to buy to ensure it fits your daily commute and travel needs.

Battery Degradation

Like all batteries, those in EVs degrade over time. However, most manufacturers offer warranties that last several years, ensuring peace of mind. When buying a used electric car, it’s essential to check the battery’s health and any remaining warranty.

Battery Types

There are different types of batteries used in EVs, with Lithium-ion being the most common due to its high energy density and long lifespan. Familiarise yourself with the battery type to understand its maintenance and replacement costs.

Charging Your Electric Vehicle

charging electric car

The heart of an electric vehicle is its battery, and keeping it charged is crucial. Australia has been ramping up its charging infrastructure, making it easier for EV owners across the country to keep their cars fully charged and ready to go. Let’s break down some of your EV charging options. 

Home Charging

Most EV owners opt for home charging. It’s convenient, and with overnight charging, you wake up to a fully charged car every morning.

Public Charging Stations

From shopping centres to public parking spots, charging stations are popping up everywhere. Apps like PlugShare, ChargeFox and now even Waze can help you locate the nearest one.

Fast Chargers

Some electric cars are capable of using fast charge technology. Fast chargers bypass the vehicle’s onboard charger and send power directly to the battery instead. The rate of charging can reach 15 times that of other chargers. This means you could get as much as 75% battery charge in just 30 minutes. 

Portable Chargers

Just like a portable phone charger, you can also get portable EV chargers. This is a great option for a fully electric vehicle if you’re planning a long trip, or emergencies where you find yourself low on battery.

Top 5 Reasons to Buy a Second Hand Electric Vehicle

The electric car market is booming, and with it, the second-hand market is thriving. Here are the top five reasons why you should buy a used electric vehicle: 

  1. Cost savings: One of the most enticing reasons to go for a second hand electric car is the savings. You get all the benefits of an electric vehicle without the hefty price tag of a brand-new model.
  2. Environmental benefits: Buying second hand promotes sustainability. By choosing a preloved car, you’re giving it a new lease of life, reducing waste, and further decreasing your carbon footprint.
  3. Opportunity to upgrade: As electric vehicle technology evolves rapidly, newer models with advanced features are constantly being released. Buying second hand allows you to start with a basic model and switch as newer versions come out, without feeling the pinch.
  4. Access to reviews: When a model has been around for a while, you have access to reviews and real-life experiences from other drivers. This can help you make a more informed decision.
  5. Depreciation benefits: Cars depreciate the most in their first few years. By buying a used electric car, you avoid this initial depreciation hit, which gives you better value for money.

Safety Features to Look Out For

Safety should always be top of mind when buying a new car, and electric vehicles come packed with features to ensure a secure ride. Here are some of the features to look for when buying a used electric car. 

Regenerative Braking

This system captures and stores some of the energy lost during braking, enhancing efficiency and reducing wear on the brakes.

Stability and Traction Control

These features help maintain control in slippery conditions, ensuring the car stays on its intended path.

Advanced Airbag Systems

Modern EVs come equipped with advanced airbag systems that offer protection from multiple angles in the event of a collision.

Autonomous Features

Some high-end electric cars come with autonomous driving features, from automatic lane-keeping to adaptive cruise control, enhancing safety and driving comfort.

The Environmental Impact of Electric Cars

While electric vehicles are a greener alternative, it’s essential to understand their environmental footprint. Here are the top three reasons why electric cars are better for the environment than their petrol counterparts:

  1. Reduced Emissions: EVs produce zero tailpipe emissions, contributing to cleaner air and a reduction in greenhouse gases.
  2. Battery Production: The production of EV batteries does have an environmental impact, primarily due to the mining of metals like lithium. However, the overall benefits of driving an EV, especially when charged with renewable energy, outweigh the negatives.
  3. Recycling Potential: As the EV market grows, so does the infrastructure for recycling used batteries, further reducing their environmental impact.

Navigating Gumtree for Your Electric Car Purchase

Gumtree, Australia’s online local marketplace, is a treasure trove for electric car enthusiasts. Whether you’re looking for a brand-new model or a second-hand gem, Gumtree has got you covered. Here are just a few of the reasons why so many Aussies choose to buy and sell their vehicles on Gumtree:

  • Diverse Listings: From the latest Tesla to a well-maintained Nissan Leaf, Gumtree’s vast array of listings ensures you find the perfect match for your needs.
  • Refined Searches: With Gumtree’s user-friendly interface, you can refine your search based on model, price range, and location, making your hunt more efficient.
  • Localised Options: With Gumtree’s focus on local listings, inspecting and purchasing your dream electric vehicle becomes a breeze.
  • Trustworthy Sellers: Detailed seller profiles, ratings, and reviews ensure transparency and trust in every transaction.
  • Secure Messaging: Gumtree’s secure messaging system ensures your personal details are protected. You can chat with sellers, ask questions, and even negotiate prices without sharing your contact information.
  • Safety Resources: Gumtree is committed to ensuring a safe and smooth transaction. With plenty of safety resources, you can be confident in your purchase.

Whether you’re considering buying or selling your electric vehicle, Gumtree is your go-to online marketplace.

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