Used EVs Are In Hotter Demand Than Ever
Environmental advocates say tax credits can make EVs — new and used — more accessible to people with moderate incomes. They argue that EVs should be more of a luxury product that is subsidized typically for the wealthy.
And yet local programs struggle to attract takers, even short -lived residents. Oregon’s clean car rebate program, launched in 2018 for low- and middle -income households, saw only 516 buyers opt for used EVs, or about 5 percent of cars purchased through in the program. Some bought new models.
Alejandra Posada, who manages the used EV rebate program for Peninsula Clean Energy, an electric utility in San Mateo, California, discusses several reasons for slow use. Most participants in that program, launched in 2019 for low -income residents, are looking for cheaper vehicles that leave them with few EV options with high coverage. Those buyers are typically single-car homes and want an EV as their primary vehicle — not as a second vehicle for parking around town, a more common situation for the more affluent. replaces. During the first two years, nearly 30 of the 100 or more program recipients opted for fully electric vehicles, Posada said. Most instead opted for plug-in hybrids, which typically had several dozen miles in all electric range before a gasoline engine replaced.
“It’s a high-touch job,” Posada said of setting up people using used EVs. That includes helping people navigate other incentive programs to make costs more reasonable. He talked about their uncertainty about batteries and range and the logistics of charging. Many people are unaware, for example, that they can plug an EV into a standard outlet.
Many Americans are confused about the basics of EVs, according to Jeff Allen, executive director of Forth, an advocacy and research organization focused on electric mobility. A question he still hears from drivers: “’Can I take it safely by washing the car? Spoiler: Yes, “he said.
Fears about EV batteries are also diminishing. “The batteries in these cars are more than anything [car companies] thought they would, “said Luke Walch, owner of used electric car dealer Green Eyed Motors out of Boulder, Colorado. A cottage industry of battery health diagnostic companies is appeared to inspect used cars.With permission from the owners, Recurrent collects data from 6,000 EVs on the road. “Transparency here will help accelerate the market,” said cofounder and CEO Scott Case.
Stephanie King, who lives outside of Portland, Oregon, bought her second electric car — and first used one — this month, after her old car crashed. His used 2019 Kia Niro is more expensive than the new one he bought two years ago, but less usable, he said. For King, electric driving is non-negotiable, especially since he’s a full-time ride-hailing driver who puts many miles into his car. “I can’t do that on my planet,” he said of gas -powered cars. He is filing papers to take advantage of Oregon’s rebate program today.
Policy experts are divided on the amount of EV incentives, especially for used cars. For reducing greenhouse gas emissions, “it’s not a well -targeted solution,” explains economist Dave Rapson, who teaches at the University of California at Davis. EVs are greener than conventional cars, but they still use a dirty electric grid, and the money spent on forcing their adoption could be better used to get utilities and large cleaning industries. in energy supply. Tax credit programs for new EVs have proven to be expensive, with part of the benefit being absorbed by automakers who can use them as an opportunity to raise prices. That kind of padding might have been even more important a decade ago, when auto makers were reluctant to make any electric cars, but not so much now, with a dramatic shift in all that power lines. (That’s one reason the initial federal tax credits disappear when an automaker sells 200,000 cars.) And if the discounts help lower the prices of electric cars, more incentives for used cars will result in “double dipping,” according to Rapson, because Incentives for new EVs drop in the selling price.