Buying a new car is hardly a good investment, but buying a new electric car is often a worse one. For years, electric cars have plummetted in value, but for the first time, they showed some appreciation on the used-car market.
Automotive News (subscription required) reported Monday that electric cars like the Chevrolet Spark EV, Nissan Leaf, and Fiat 500e began to appreciate in value for the first time, although by a very small percentage. The Spark EV, for example, retained 25 percent of its original value in the fourth quarter of 2018 vs 21 percent of its value at the same time in 2017. Minor movement, but appreciation is good news for owners.
It’s not great news for prospective buyers, however. The uptick in values will mean used electric cars will be slightly more expensive on the pre-owned market, but not by much. The market also hasn’t created much of a demand for pre-owned electric cars, either. Analysts in the report said we won’t see dealers suddenly stocking up on used electric vehicles in 2019.
The appreciation in value for electric vehicles can be attributed to two factors: prices for used cars have increased across the board and EV values have likely reached their rock bottom after years of spiraling decline. Non-electric compact cars also saw a similar value drop in the past few years.
The appreciation in value may also foreshadow a shift in consumer preference in the electric-car market, too. Albeit a small one, higher prices may show a shift as Americans consider electric cars more than ever. Most pre-owned EVs on the market are perfectly suited for a certified pre-owned program as many come from lease customers who only committed to the technology for a few years.