Which electric cars hold their value the best?

Tristan Young

24 Sep 2021

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With so many new electric cars coming to the market we investigate which EVs in five popular segments of the market will lose the least value when it comes time to sell.

Assuming you’ve got over your range anxiety and want to buy a fully electric car, your next biggest concern is most likely to be the cost of buying one.


Despite government grants designed to make EVs more attractive to buyers by offering a few thousand pounds off the list price, electric cars are still typically more expensive than their petrol or diesel equivalent.


However, in reality it’s not the list price of an EV (or any car) that buyers need to worry about, it’s the depreciation cost. In other words, the difference between the price you pay when it’s new and the price you can sell it for when you sell.


This depreciation in value is the start point for any finance for the car – in other words, it’s the factor that needs funding which is not the cost when the car is new. With around 90% of private new car buyers opting for a finance scheme, you can see why depreciation is a big issue.


In other words, you could find the scenario where a car with a higher list price costs less to finance per month than a less expensive car all because the more expensive car loses less value than the car with the lower list price.


YesAuto spoke to car valuation expert Dylan Setterfield, head of forecast strategy at Cap HPI, to find out which EV in each of five sectors of the market offered the lowest depreciation – in other words likely to give you the best deal.


The figures used by Setterfield show the predicted depreciation after three years and 30,000 miles.


Supermini


1. Mini Electric, £16,052

2. Honda e, £16,630

3. Peugeot e208, £16,666



Those looking for the electric supermini that best holds its value, then look no further than the EV version of the three-door Mini. Despite having a higher list price than either the Honda e or the Peugeot e208, the popularity, and therefore demand, for the Mini brand means it loses the least money over three years compared to its rivals.


Future value expert Setterfield added: “The Mini has its own unique style and the electric version maintains the tradition of being fun to own. It's quick, well designed and will appeal to all Mini fans. Its battery range of 145 miles is not the greatest in the sector, but will be enough for many. Strong used values mean it depreciates less than its rivals, albeit from a higher initial outlay.”


Family hatchback


1. Mazda MX-30, £15,175

2. MG 5, £17,228

3. Volkswagen ID3, £17,745



Of all the EVs listed in this feature, the Mazda MX-30 loses the least amount of money over three years and 30,000 miles. If you can live with the shorter range, you’ll save more than £2,500 in depreciation compared to the popular Volkswagen ID3. It’s also got the coolest doors of any electric car this side of a Tesla Model X.


The Mazda MX-30 is another recent introduction,” according to Setterfield. “Its smaller battery makes this vehicle as light as many equivalent petrol and diesel models, which makes for improved ride and handling against its peers. However, it's lower range, of 125 miles, positions it as an economic choice; a second car.”


Small SUV


1. MG ZS, £17,204

2. DS 3 Crossback, £17,881

3. Kia E-Niro, £18,100



MG positions itself as a value brand and this not only extends to the list price of its cars but also their depreciation. Second place in the family hatchback class with the all-electric 5 and now first in the small SUV segment thanks to the ZS.


Setterfield explained why: “MG's battery electric version of the ZS ticks many boxes. Not only is it positioned with a relatively low up-front cost, but it is also practical, well-designed, generously proportioned and blessed with decent specification levels for a car of its cost. Its official range of 163 miles will suffice for many and this vehicle has been a significant part of MG's recent growth and will probably outsell the petrol model in 2021.”


Mid-size SUV


1. Skoda Enyaq, £16,972

2. Volkswagen ID4, £18,520

3. Ford Mustang Mach-E, £23,798



While all three of the winners in the mid-size SUV segment have been revealed and given a price, none of them are yet in UK showrooms. Such is the speed with which new electric cars are being introduced.


Given the Skoda Enyaq and Volkswagen ID4 share much of the same underpinnings, it looks like the Enyaq will give the ID4 a good run for its money thanks to a saving of more than £1,500 in depreciation.


In this company the Ford Mustang Mach-E looks out of sorts for its depreciation, but the Ford is expected to have a greater range and offer greater driving thrills.


The Skoda Enyaq beat its new VW stablemate to market and edges it out in depreciation terms too,” said Cap’s Setterfield. “It combines a conventional overall look with some bold styling and boasts some impressive interior materials for a car of its price bracket. The model has impressive passenger space front and rear, great internal storage, a 585-litre boot and all the latest technology, with ranges of between 242 and 316 miles.”


Luxury


1. Tesla Model S, £37,308

2. Porsche Taycan, £40,602

3. Tesla Model X, £42,086



It may have been around for nearly 10 years, but the Tesla Model S is still in demand from car buyers which means it loses less money than its latest rival the Porsche Taycan.


Setterfield explained: “The Tesla Model S still depreciates by less than its limited field of rivals, despite some softening of values after the introduction of the smaller Model 3. It is helped by a simplified model range in advance of an updated version due to hit the market later this year. Model S is likely to remain the benchmark for the segment for quite some time.”


Which factors affect an electric cars' depreciation?


The depreciation of an electric car is affected by many of the same factors as a petrol or diesel car. The main factors are the car’s age and the mileage: the older it is and the more miles it has done, the more the value will fall. 


Other things include the condition the car is in – both inside and out. Tatty upholstery, seats that smell of smoke, scuffed alloys, dents in the bodywork: all of these things will scrub value off. 


When is the best time to buy a used electric car?


Like any car, it's hard to pinpoint an exact time to make the purchase. It's about watching the values of the car you want and buying it at the time you can afford. Many people can't wait around, they need a car immediately, so just work out your budget carefully and have a look at what you can afford, making sure the car suits your needs.


The following EVs make great second hand purchases:




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Tristan Young

24 Sep 2021