Hidden Image

Used Electric Vehicle Buyer’s Guide

Increasing Inventory and IRA Tax Credits Are Driving an Emerging Used Electric Vehicle Market

As of December 2023, more than 180,000 electric vehicles (EVs) are on the road in New York State [1] . While most were purchased new, used vehicles are becoming an increasing share of the EV market.

Though EVs are cheaper than gas-powered vehicles to maintain and operate, the upfront cost of a new EV can be a barrier for making the switch. But growing inventory, plus the 2023 launch of Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) tax credits worth up to $4,000, have made used EVs an increasingly attractive and affordable option for drivers.

If you’re in the market for a new vehicle, a used EV may be right for you. To help navigate the process, this guide will cover key considerations when shopping for a used EV, how to claim the IRA tax credit, and the pros and cons of choosing a used vs. new EV.

In This Story

What to Consider When Buying a Used Electric Vehicle

Shopping for used EVs involves some of the same questions as any used car: Does the price fit my budget? Is it comfortable? Does it suit my lifestyle?

However, there are several EV-specific considerations to keep in mind when browsing options.

  1. Vehicle Condition & Maintenance History

    All-electric vehicles involve less maintenance since they use fewer fluids (e.g., engine oil) and experience less brake wear from regenerative braking. Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) benefit from regenerative braking and running partially on an electric motor, but they also have internal combustion engines like their gas-powered counterparts that require regular oil changes and maintenance.

    With either EV option, it’s still important to evaluate the vehicle’s condition, assess the mileage, and get details on past inspections, maintenance, and accidents. Buyers can typically get a vehicle history report from a dealership or car-buying website. Alternatively, the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) can be used to generate a report with a third-party company.

  2. Vehicle Range

    Vehicle range refers to the distance an EV can travel on a fully charged battery. It’s important to consider your routine driving habits – commuting to work, running errands, or visiting close family or friends – when comparing used EV options.

    Typically, EV battery range degrades by 2% annually. For example, a 2018 Nissan Leaf, which was manufactured with an estimated range of 151 miles, could be expected to have a range of approximately 134 miles in 2024. Note that temperatures below freezing and above 95 degrees can reduce battery range by up to 20%, temporarily [2].

    While EV shoppers may be inclined to prioritize the maximum range, the reality is that New York residents drive an average of 228.3 miles each week – or in other words, 32.6 miles a day. Thus, many used electric vehicle models can accommodate the majority of New York drivers’ day-to-day needs, especially if charging at home, work, or school is an option.

  3. Battery Warranty

    If you’ve ever owned a vehicle, you may have encountered manufacturer warranties providing coverage for repairs and the car’s powertrain for the first several years.

    EV manufacturers are required by law to provide battery warranty coverage for at least eight years or 100,000 miles after the initial purchase, though some automakers offer warranties lasting ten or more years [3]. Warranties cover the EV battery against failure but may also include provisions for replacement if the capacity is reduced below a specified percentage.

    Warranties are usually transferable with an EV sale. Buyers can provide the EV’s VIN to the automaker to check when the warranty expires and verify that it’s transferable to a new owner. EV owners can consider purchasing an extended warranty if they’re approaching the mileage or year that the factory warranty expires.

  4. Charging Access

    Though public EV charging stations are becoming increasingly available across New York State, it’s important to consider where charging is available.

    Charging at home, if possible, gives convenience and long-term savings, as the cost of electricity is usually cheaper than a public charging station. Using a Level 2 charger at home is recommended for all-electric models for charging efficiency (20-40 miles of range per hour of charging) and preserving the EV battery lifespan. Level 1 chargers, which add around 5 miles of range per hour, may be sufficient for older PHEV models with limited range.

    EV charging may be available at work or school, and such locations are ideal for their longer parking durations. When traveling longer distances, public direct-current fast chargers (DCFCs) can charge an EV to 80% in as little as 20 minutes. Note that most PHEVs and some older EVs are not compatible with DCFCs.

  5. Vehicle & Charging Accessories

    EVs are typically sold with a charging cord, but there are other accessories to keep in mind when comparing options and at the negotiating table.

    Getting access to an EV’s telematics connection is essential for an optimal driving experience. Telematics systems provide two-way communication between a smartphone app and the vehicle to manage charging, view range and other metrics, and receive notifications for servicing and maintenance. Access to an EV’s telematics is often complimentary for a set duration before drivers are charged a fee, so it’s worth checking with the dealer to see if a subscription comes included for a year or more.

    If you plan to use public charging stations, getting a used EV with an adapter allows you to charge at different styles of charge ports. For Level 1 and 2 charging, the SAE J1772 plug is the most prevalent. For fast charging via DCFC, most EV models use a Combined Charging Standard (CCS) plug, apart from Tesla. Buyers considering a Tesla EV could benefit from a CSS adapter since all Tesla models have a proprietary charging plug that differs from all other automakers.

Rising Used Electric Vehicle Availability

Electric vehicle sales have increased year over year. Nationally, new EV sales have grown from a modest 53,171 in 2012 to 326,644 in 2019, indicating a rapid rise in used EV inventory in the coming months and years as early adopters upgrade to newer EV models – often with the help of IRA tax credits of up to $7,500 [4].

In fact, used EV inventory has tripled since 2021 and around 190,000 used EVs were sold in the first half of 2023 [5]. According to CarMax 2023 sales data, these are the five most-purchased used EV models [6]:

  1. Tesla Model 3: $37,000 average sale price
  2. Tesla Model Y: $47,00 average sale price
  3. Nissan Leaf: $23,963 average sale price
  4. Ford Mustang Mach-E: $48,015 average sale price
  5. Chevrolet Bolt EV: $26,368 average sale price

Based on CarMax’s 2023 sales data, the average sale prices for both the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Bolt EV are near the $25,000 price threshold to qualify for the used vehicle IRA tax credit of $4,000. About 30% of used EVs currently on the market would qualify for the tax credit, which will function as a point-of-sale rebate for buyers starting in 2024 [5].

How to Claim the Inflation Reduction Act Tax Credit for Used EVs

Used EVs purchases in 2023 can qualify for an IRA tax credit equal to 30% of the sale price up to a max credit of $4,000. Starting in 2024, buyers can choose to transfer the tax credit to the dealer to lower the price of the used EV at the point of sale, rather than claiming it on their tax returns.

Besides the $25,000 maximum sales price, excluding taxes and fees, qualifying depends on several factors, namely the vehicle model year and buyer’s income.

A used EV’s model year must be two years prior to the calendar year of the vehicle purchase, meaning that EVs from 2022 or earlier will be eligible in 2024.

Additionally, the buyer’s income may not exceed the following limits set by the IRS:

Qualifying is also contingent on buying the used EV for personal use, not being the original vehicle owner, and having not claimed the used clean vehicle credit Link opens in new window - close new window to return to this page. in the previous three years.

Browse the full list of used EVs models  Link opens in new window - close new window to return to this page. that meet weight and manufacturer requirements to potentially qualify for the IRA tax credit.

Buying a Used vs. New Electric Vehicle

If you’re planning to go electric with your next vehicle purchase, it’s worth comparing the pros and cons of buying a used vs. new EV to determine which is right for you.

Used EVs come at a lower upfront cost while still enjoying lower maintenance and operating costs than gas-powered vehicles. The national average price for a used EV in Q4 of 2023 was $27,800 [5], with models under $25,000 qualifying for a $4,000 IRA tax credit. Though powertrain warranties may not transfer from the original owner, battery warranties run for eight or more years, helping reduce the risk of investing in a used EV.

The average cost for a new EV hovered around $48,000 in 2023, though there are notable price gaps between luxury vehicles and more economical and compact models [7]. Several new EVs qualify for both an IRA tax credit and NYS Drive Clean Rebate, resulting in a combined discount of $9,500 for certain models.

The range of used EVs varies considerably depending on the model and year of the vehicle. Older models will have sufficient charge for daily use around town, whereas more recent models often have ranges from 100-200 miles.

The average range for EVs sold in the U.S. in 2022 was 291 miles, which significantly exceeds the average New Yorker’s weekly driving distance of 228.3 miles [8]. Opting for a new EV could be a better fit for drivers with longer commutes or those living in rural areas where there’s currently less public charging available. Drivers that plan to rely on fast charging for frequent road trips may also prefer a new EV, or newer used model, since some older EVs are not compatible with DCFC stations.

More on Electric Vehicles

Looking to go electric? Learn more about the benefits of making the switch and New York’s ongoing work to roll out EV charging statewide.


  1. EValuateNY. Atlas Public Policy. (n.d.). https://atlaspolicy.com/evaluateny/ Link opens in new window - close new window to return to this page.. Back to content
  2. Pratt, D. (2021, December 19). How much do cold temperatures affect an electric vehicle’s driving range? Consumer Reports. https://www.consumerreports.org/cars/hybrids-evs/how-much-do-cold-temperatures-affect-an-evs-driving-range-a5751769461/ Link opens in new window - close new window to return to this page.Back to content
  3. Fact #913: February 22, 2016 the most common warranty for plug-in vehicle batteries is 8 years/100,000 miles. Energy.gov. (n.d.). https://www.energy.gov/eere/vehicles/fact-913-february-22-2016-most-common-warranty-plug-vehicle-batteries-8-years100000 Link opens in new window - close new window to return to this page.Back to content
  4. U.S. Department of Energy. (n.d.). Maps and data - U.S. plug-in electric vehicle sales by model. Alternative Fuels Data Center. https://afdc.energy.gov/data/10567 Link opens in new window - close new window to return to this page.Back to content
  5. Najman, L. (2023, October 18). Used Electric Car Prices & Market Report - Q4 2023. Recurrent. https://www.recurrentauto.com/research/used-electric-vehicle-buying-report Link opens in new window - close new window to return to this page.Back to content
  6. Spring 2023 CarMax Electric Vehicle Consumer Report. CarMax. (2023, April 24). https://www.carmax.com/articles/rising-consumer-interest-in-electric-vehicles Link opens in new window - close new window to return to this page.Back to content
  7. New-vehicle prices virtually flat year over year in August due to declining electric vehicle prices, Tesla Price cuts, according to Kelley Blue Book. Cox Automotive Inc. (2023, September 12). https://www.coxautoinc.com/market-insights/kbb-atp-august-2023/ Link opens in new window - close new window to return to this page.Back to content
  8. Randall, T. (2023, March 9). Average range for US electric cars reached a record 291 miles. Bloomberg.com. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2023-03-09/average-range-for-us-electric-cars-reached-a-record-291-miles Link opens in new window - close new window to return to this page.Back to content

Sign Up For News

Stay up to date on energy-saving programs and incentives, best practices, and more.

Stay Connected