Some ve­hi­cles de­pre­ci­ate 70 per­cent in only five years

The Denver Post - - BUSINESS - By Aldo Svaldi

When it comes to los­ing value, elec­tric and hy­brid car own­ers face some shock­ing rates of de­pre­ci­a­tion, ac­cord­ing to a new study from iSeeCars.com.

On aver­age, some­one look­ing to sell a car pur­chased five years ago can ex­pect to re­cover only half the ini­tial pur­chase price. But for elec­tric and hy­brid cars, the aver­age de­pre­ci­a­tion is closer to 60 per­cent, with some mod­els shed­ding 70 per­cent or more.

The all­elec­tric Nis­san Leaf suf­fered a 71.7 per­cent de­cline in value over five years, in­clud­ing a 70.3 per­cent de­cline in Den­ver, mak­ing it the worst model when it comes to de­pre­cia­ tion, ac­cord­ing to the study.

Join­ing it on the big­gest losers list were two hybrids: the Chevy Volt, down 71.2 per­cent, and the Ford Fu­sion En­ergi, down 69.4 per­cent. They ranked se­cond and fifth for de­pre­ci­a­tion.

Typ­i­cally, cars that break down a lot and have high re­pair costs don’t fare well in the re­sale mar­ket. Elec­tric cars, how­ever, have much lower fuel costs and fewer parts to break down than ve­hi­cles with in­ter­nal com­bus­tion en­gines.

Their much lower op­er­at­ing costs should boost their re­sale value, but sev­eral things work against that, said Julie Blackley, a spokes­woman for iSeeCars.com.

Elec­tric and plug­in hybrids come with gov­ern­ment in­cen­tives on the front end. Those aren’t avail­able to used car buy­ers.

Range anx­i­ety and a lack of in­fra­struc­ture also have pre­vented the pub­lic from fully em­brac­ing elec­tric ve­hi­cles, which low­ers their pop­u­lar­ity in the re­sale mar­ket. There are sim­ply fewer used car buy­ers in­ter­ested in them.

But the big­gest knock could come down to tech­ nol­ogy. Elec­tric cars pro­duced in 2013 have a shorter range and fewer fea­tures than newer mod­els.

A 5­year­old Leaf can go 60 to 80 miles or so on a charge, de­pend­ing on the con­di­tion of the bat­tery. But the 2018 and 2019 mod­els ad­ver­tise 151 miles, and a bat­tery up­grade com­ing soon prom­ises to boost that to 220 miles.

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