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Things to Know Before Buying a Used Electric Car

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With gas prices soaring above 1.50 $/litre with no signs of slowing down, electric vehicles are now a more than ever appealing alternative.

Shopping on a limited budget? There are multiple reasons as to why you should consider buying a pre-owned electric vehicle, even if the value of used cars has risen considerably since the beginning of the pandemic.

To help you in this process, we thought we’d underline a few key elements to consider.

Identify Your Needs

Are you shopping for a main or secondary vehicle? How many people will you need to transport? How many kilometres per day do you travel on average? Range usually varies between 150 and 400 kilometres for used electric cars at the moment. If this isn’t enough for your occasional weekend or vacation gateways, keep in mind that it is still possible to rent a regular car at a decent cost.

Photo: Alain Morin

Charging Options

Do you currently have an outdoor charging port? Do you consider installing a charging terminal at home or do you have access to one at your workplace? If you want to make the most out of electric car ownership, using a 240-volt outlet regularly will definitely help. Making use of the 400-volt rapid chargers offered by public charging networks will also help once on the road.

Government Subsidy

When it comes to financial matters, you’re probably familiar with the “Roulez vert” program offered by the Québec government. It offers rebates that can reach up to 4,000 $ for the purchase of 100% electric pre-owned vehicles. However, a few conditions have to be met for the car to be eligible. For example, the model has to be at least 3 or 4 years old, it has to be inspected to determine the remaining battery capacity and it cannot have received the rebate for a new vehicle under the “Roulez vert” program;

Where to Buy?

You always need to be more careful when it comes to pre-owned vehicles. Members of the Corporation des concessionnaires automobiles du Québec (CCAQ) are generally established vendors that have to comply with a code of ethics. But, if you ever find yourself in litigation with one of the members, CAA-Québec members have access to conciliation services free of charge. You’re better off dealing with a certified dealer rather than doing business with an individual, unless that individual provides you with clear and complete information, including maintenance invoices, regarding the vehicle you want to purchase.

Photo: Sylvain Raymond

When you will finally find your dream car, make sure you investigate its battery. With age and mileage, it inevitably loses some of its capacity and effectiveness. Take into consideration the age, its actual capacity (maximum ranger when the battery is 100% charged), and if it has ever been replaced. High-tension batteries can have a high life expectancy. You also have to look at what’s remaining of the initial warranty on electrical system components (usually 8 years/160 000km).

Lastly, do not neglect the usual due diligence. Take the time to perform a good road test to assess the driving dynamics, and consult the Registre des droits personnels et reels mobiliers (RDPRM) to make sure that the vehicle isn’t still financially tied to its previous owner. Safety recalls shouldn’t be overlooked either.

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