The Detroit Free Press reports electric vehicles like the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt aren't maintaining the same residual values as their internal combustion counterparts.

Kelly Blue Book says the 2012 Nissan Leaf will hold around 20 percent of its value after five years while the Nissan Sentra will retain around 30 percent of its value. KBB predicts the Volt, meanwhile, will be worth 30 percent of its MSRP after the same amount of time, which is a full eight percent less than the 2013 Chevrolet Cruze. On average, a used car is expected to hold 36.6 percent of its value after five years, according to ALG.

Of course, those figures shift a bit when the $7,500 federal tax credit on EVs is taken into account. Since the cash lowers the new-car price for the Leaf and the Volt, the credit can actually make the vehicles worth less as a used car on a percentage of original value basis.


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  • 79 Comments
      Andre Neves
      • 2 Years Ago
      Nahhh. Who would've ever guessed!?
      goodoldgorr
      • 2 Years Ago
      They didn't hold up their value because from the start it have poor value and they only sell them if it got a big tax break because in reality it is a subpar product. Only politicians, leftist and extreem right political maniacs and social pertubated folks push for these cars. Normal consumers even today are barely aware of these cars or have a bad opinion about them. I said many time and i repeat to start production and selling and promotion and execution now of hydrogen fuelcell cars. Consumers will buy right away and it will ease pollution and the price of gasoline will drop because for the first time since 100 years it will have direct competition. At least i will be able to find cheaper gasoline for my gasser even if i don't buy a hydrogen car right away because i plan to change my car in 2022 approx when it will be worn out. If gas get lower since then , then i might buy a v8 mustang or a challenger because the price of gasoline will be cheaper because they will lower the price of gasoline, the main problem when you have a v8 and do a lot of road.
        Ele Truk
        • 2 Years Ago
        @goodoldgorr
        The only people who would buy a hydrogen fuel cell car are those people who live within a mile or two of a Hydrogen filling station, current count less than two hundred nationwide. Nope, not many fuel cell cars will sell.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      eblondmdboy24
      • 2 Years Ago
      People are really really silly. First of all a VOLT will have a brand new engine in it. Same quality engine the Cruze has and no millage. So the VOLT is like buying a BRAND NEW engine. EVEN if the battery pack in 250k miles has less range you will still get better millage with a 0 miles engine. The volt will still run without a battery pack . Remember folks the Volt has a engine in it too! Most volt owners never use the engine. So who ever wrote this is not educated.
        nsxrules
        • 2 Years Ago
        @eblondmdboy24
        Most Volt owners still use the gas engine. Might be low mileage, but it won't be new.
          md_stew
          • 2 Years Ago
          @nsxrules
          Wow! Batteries are coming down in price. Faster than I thought they would.
        md_stew
        • 2 Years Ago
        @eblondmdboy24
        Thing is that 250k miles is still wear and tear on everything else. Just cause the engine is new doesn't mean its a new car! A new engine will cost like $3k, a new battery is $8k
          Ziv
          • 2 Years Ago
          @md_stew
          New/refurb batteries cost $3,000 right now.
          Ele Truk
          • 2 Years Ago
          @md_stew
          People keep claiming $3000 for a new battery, where does that number come from? If it's from Prius world, then the number is completely wrong. The Prius battery has 1.3KWh of energy, the Volt 16.5 KWh. There is no way a replacement 16.5 KWh battery can be had for $3000.
          Ziv
          • 2 Years Ago
          @md_stew
          Ele Truk, here is the link to a GMnewparts webpage for the Volt battery. It is just under $3,000. That is probably a subsidized price, but there have already been people on GM-volt.com complaining about the price of a replacement radiator who mentioned in passing that the same rock took out their battery and the replacement battery cost $3000 and it wasn't covered by the warrantee because it was road damage. http://www.newgmparts.com/parts/2011/CHEVROLET/VOLT/?siteid=213815&vehicleid=1447713§ion=HYBRID%20COMPONENTS&group=HYBRID%20COMPONENTS&subgroup=BATTERY&component=BATTERY
      MyMammaSays
      • 2 Years Ago
      No surprise here... Owners fed up with paying real dollar car prices for a "car" that only travels a fraction of the distance trading in after regretting their choice. Well now we all know what they learned the hard way and the market for these limited distance transports has all buy dried up. The Volt or Prius are much much better choices as they allow unlimited miles and no slaving to the plug.
      John Hansen
      • 2 Years Ago
      Of course, if you take the pre-incentive number, the resale value will be lower. Why would anybody consider the pre-incentive number? Here is the number that actually makes sense... 36.5%. The Volt retains 36.5% of its resale value, not 30%, after you take the $7,500 into consideration. I arrive at that figure by taking a $42,000 Volt. 30% of that is $12,600, which is what KBB estimates it will be worth after 5 years. The post-incentive cost the same Volt is $34,500. $12,600 is 36.5% of $34,500. In fact in the article that this references they actually said the same thing... "If you only look at residual percentages, it's on the low side," says Eric Ibara, director of residual value consulting for KBB. "But if you look at dollars," how much people actually spend to keep an electric compared with conventional car, "it's not." So the long story short is that the Volt is predicted to hold 36.5% of it's value vs 38% for other cars.
      Ziv
      • 2 Years Ago
      I am with Basil down below. If I could get a 5 year old Volt in 2015/16 for just $12,000, I would be ecstatic. Volts tend to be very well cared for, and the pack would have at least 3 and probably 6 or 7 years of life left in it. And when the pack gets to the point where I am only able to get 30 miles of AER I can replace it for just $3000. I think this study is a bit myopic.
        John Hansen
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ziv
        Why ever replace the pack? Still getting 30 miles of range on the battery and indefinite range with the ICE on a 12 year old car? Not broken, don't fix. I predict almost nobody will ever replace the packs, just like almost nobody replaces packs in Priuses.
          Ziv
          • 2 Years Ago
          @John Hansen
          John, your point is well taken. Given the fact that the Volt uses just 10.8 of 16.5 kWh, and it only really 'needs' to have a 2 kWh buffer, I figure the Volt pack has around 3.7 kWh of battery to bring online steadily as the Volt pack slowly degrades over the years. So the Volt is holding 33% of its useable capacity to dip into over the years to maintain the 38 mile AER. After 2 years of ownership, most of the original Volt buyers report no range loss while a few are reporting a slight diminution of their AER, so it looks likely that the Volt pack will last at least 10 years, if not longer. I wonder though about what will happen to most of the Volts in 12 to 15 years when the packs start to allow an AER of less than 30 miles. You are probably right that a lot of Volt owners will simply adapt to the lower AER but given the care a lot of Volt owners are giving their cars, I wouldn't doubt that a lot of them choose to keep their Volts in top shape and put a couple thousand into a new pack. It will be fun to see how it all works out.
        Spec
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ziv
        Yeah, I'd love a 5 year old Volt for $12K. I'd like to replace my gas car with a PHEV. The electric will still get driven most of the time but a PHEV can handle long haul driving.
      edward.stallings
      • 2 Years Ago
      People that buy them realize their stupidity when they get 30 miles from home and it's dark and cold and their stuck in a traffic jam with their lights on (heater off to save charge), wondering if they will be walking home through the hood. Think they hold out for a high price? No! They want to unload the Leaf and buy a real car.
        Ziv
        • 2 Years Ago
        @edward.stallings
        The Volt and the Leaf are Vaporware! They will never be built! They will electrocute you if you drive through a puddle! They will kill the first responders in the first crash! Sarc/ Ed, you just don't get it. The Volt and the Leaf are rather nice cars, but they aren't the destination. Within a few years they will both be better and cheaper. And despite that, the Volts that were sold in 2011 will still be worth 40% or more of their original net price when they are 5 years old because they will still be going 35+ miles on a charge, saving their owners a ton of money and still being a ton of fun to drive. And you will still be driving 19th Century technology and complaining about the price of gasoline.
        garylai
        • 2 Years Ago
        @edward.stallings
        Well, I'm 19,000 miles and counting in my non-real car Leaf. Never gotten even close to being stuck anywhere yet. The car is actually more efficient in a traffic jam then a "real car" because EVs are most efficient at slow speeds and because all the braking just recharges the battery. Just yesterday I was stuck in a one-hour traffic jam on my 25 mile one-way commute in 35 degree weather, and I arrived home with more range than I do on a normal commute without traffic. Your comments are complete nonsense.
        Avinash Machado
        • 2 Years Ago
        @edward.stallings
        What nonsense.
      JR
      • 2 Years Ago
      Look no further than the prices of any used electronic devices(computers,ipods,gaming). I was lucky to get $20 for my PS3...
        Generic
        • 2 Years Ago
        @JR
        Cars don't get dated as fast as electronics. Electronics loose most of their value as soon as you buy them. Most of their cost is dealer markups along the way, store front markup, shipping etc. Supply and demand play a huge roll too. How many PS3's are built compared to EV/hybrid cars? Cars are still very functional after 5 years of use, as long as they were cared for and not driven in to the ground.
      gslippy
      • 2 Years Ago
      Well, the risk of low resale is another reason I'm leasing my Leaf. After three years, it's Nissan's problem. However, I really like the car - no problems so far (3 months).
      DaveMart
      • 2 Years Ago
      Depreciation, not fuel, is the biggest cost in running a newish car. After than maintenance costs rule, which should be very favourable for electric cars, so long as the battery has not given up the ghost.
      paulwesterberg
      • 2 Years Ago
      As reported by "The Detroit Free Press", where the reporters love freedom and hate electric vehicles.
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