I often get asked which electric car I actually own. Well, the answer is that I don’t own one, at the moment. I test them, but there isn’t one on my drive that I’ve actually paid my own money for. Why? Well, the answer is probably the same one as everyone else bar the early-adopters: most affordable pure EVs don’t conveniently cover all that I need to do.
I also plead other mitigating circumstances: I don’t get a huge amount of use out of a personal car because being a motoring journalist requires me to test quite a few different models, so having a load of finance tied up in something flash isn’t on the cards. But I really do want to have my own EV, and I’m getting reasonably close to paying off my current (petrol) car so started having a look at what might be in my price range as a project. Yes, I would be messing with it. No, I really can't help myself.
A new car is pretty much out of the question for budget reasons, so the obvious answer was to have a wander through the used market, specifically the original Nissan Leaf. Being the longest-available volume seller in the game, there’s a large amount of reasonably-priced stock. Something like £8-10 grand will buy you a 107bhp/24kW Leaf. But what about down at the ‘cheap’ end of the Leaf spectrum?
Well, here’s the surprise - even down at the bottom end of the market, the Leaf is holding up surprisingly well in terms of second-hand values. This may just be anecdotal evidence, but it looks like the surge in EV interest is propping up the second-hand prices of the older cars. Obviously you don’t get the big range you can find in more modern small EVs, but they are perfect for general commuting/shop-popping duties as long as they can manage something like 60-miles in all conditions. Thing is, those cars are generally still £5k-plus. And for me, the range is marginal for a car that costs that much.