Do electric cars depreciate faster than petrol and diesel cars?

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2020 Porsche Taycan
2020 Porsche Taycan
Porsche Media

 • Pre-owned electric vehicles lose value a year after registration. 
 • This is good news for those looking for used electric vehicles.
 • There are four electric vehicles available in South Africa.
 • For more motoring stories, go to Wheels24. 

Prices of pre-owned electric vehicles (EVs) on AutoTrader show some models losing significant value in the first twelve months after registration. Although this might be bad news for those who bought new, it does allow a handful of shrewd buyers to buy EVs at much-reduced prices. Unfortunately, even in the pre-owned market, EVs are still priced well beyond the average motorist's car budget.

Only four EV model ranges are available new in South Africa: the MINI Cooper SE, BMW i3, Jaguar I-PACE and Porsche Taycan. The Nissan LEAF is no longer available since the local automaker decided not to import the second-generation version of the car. Used examples of the first-generation Nissan LEAF are hard to come by.

jaguar i-pace
Jaguar I-Pace

Because EVs sell in very low volumes in South Africa, pre-owned price trends are slow to emerge. Yet, it is possible to take a glimpse into the future of how these cars might trade.

When comparing the prices of new EVs to those in AutoTrader's large pre-owned inventory, the BMW i3 and Mini SE display the least depreciation (see table). This is in line with used car price trends in petrol and diesel cars, where new small hatchbacks tend to maintain a more significant percentage of their value than large luxury sedans and premium SUVs. This is certainly true for the Jaguar I-PACE. Where the entry-level I-PACE now sells for R2m, a 2020 model can be had for as little (relatively speaking) as R1.2m. 

George Mienie, AutoTrader CEO, says: "A prospective owner of a new BMW i3 might find that its price isn't too far from the price of a pre-owned I-PACE.

"Both are brilliant cars, but some drivers will welcome the more ample interior space of the Jaguar."

2020 Porsche Taycan
2020 Porsche Taycan

Porsches are known for strong value retention, but there are still savings to be had. A Porsche Taycan Turbo S or Taycan Turbo can be bought for around R100 000 less than a new example. This might not appear significant, but the sticker price does not take optional extras, easily worth R250 000 to R500 000, into account. Much of that value is often transferred to the second owner at little cost.

The strong demand for pre-owned BMW i3 and MINI Cooper SE cars – coupled with good value retention – could continue for several years since most EVs coming to South Africa in the next two years will be expensive, premium products. 

BMW i3
2020 BMW i3

EVs such as these in the range of R600 000 to R900 000 are therefore likely to escape the significant loss of value that affects those in the R2m-plus club.

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