US: Understanding consumer opinion about used electric cars
November 10th, 2023, Janice Fernandes

US: Understanding consumer opinion about used electric cars

The market for electric vehicles has been gaining momentum in recent years. But what about used electric cars? How likely or unlikely as consumers to consider purchasing a second-hand EV? And what motivates or deters them from doing so?

According to recent YouGov Surveys: Serviced data, 52% of US adults are unlikely to consider buying a used EV, while 28% are open to the idea. Younger adults aged 18-34 (44%) are substantially more likely to be open to the idea, while those aged 55 and above (12%) are least likely to consider second-hand EVs.

What motivates consumers to consider purchasing a used electric car?

Among US adults who are likely to consider purchasing a used EV, reduced environmental impact (54%) is the most popular motivator. Lower operating and maintenance costs and availability of incentives or rebates for second-hand EVs would also serve as strong motivators, with 47% each of respondents valuing these factors.

Reduced environmental impact and lower operating and maintenance costs strongly influence the decision of 35-54-year-olds (55% and 52%, respectively) and those over 55 (68% and 66%) to consider purchasing a pre-owned EV. For younger Americans aged between 18 to 34, reduced environmental impact (47%) and availability of incentives or rebates (43%) are popular motivators.

Additionally, a substantial proportion of US adults (45%) find the lower purchase price compared to new EVs to be a compelling factor. This holds most true among the older age group (55+), where 63% see it as an incentive, compared to just 39% in the 18-34 age group.

The desire to experience electric vehicle technology garners interest from 42% of all respondents. The 35-54 age group shows a higher inclination toward this factor (47%), compared to those 55+ (31%).

About a seventh of consumers cite depreciation of new EVs as a motivator for choosing used ones (16%). This concern is slightly more prevalent among the 35-54 age group (20%).

What concerns and barriers have deterred individuals from considering the purchase of a used electric car?

Range anxiety takes the lead, affecting three-fifths of all respondents (61%), even making it a prominent factor across age groups.

Lack of charging infrastructure in the local area is another significant barrier, cited by 54% of respondents. Notably, this concern is more pronounced among those aged 55+ (59%) and less so among 18-34-year-olds (44%).

Additionally, more than two-fifths of US adults (44%) find higher operating and maintenance costs to be a barrier. High upfront costs for pre-owned EVs follow closely behind at 42%, while uncertainty about the vehicle's history and condition is a concern for 41% of respondents.

About a quarter 23% of these consumers perceive used EVs as being less reliable than new ones and 18% express concerns about the limited availability of second-hand EV models.

When seeking information, 45% of respondents who are likely to consider purchasing a used electric car turn to online research and forums. Those in the 55+ age group are most likely to conduct research in this way (59%).

Nearly a quarter of respondents (23%) turn to social media to get all information about second-hand EVs. Recommendations from friends or family (13%), dealerships (12%) and automotive publications and reviews (12%) round out all the other sources where US adults seek information about used electric cars.

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Methodology: YouGov Surveys: Serviced provides quick survey results from nationally representative or targeted audiences in multiple markets. This study was conducted online on October 30-31, 2023, with a nationally representative sample of 1,433 adults in the United States (aged 18+ years), using a questionnaire designed by YouGov. Data figures have been weighted by age, gender, education and region to be representative of all adults. Learn more about YouGov Surveys: Serviced.

Image: Getty Images