Resale values of e-vehicles play an important role in the decision making process of organisations fleet management. It is often a decisive parameter in the economic evaluation of vehicle fleets as it impacts the total cost of ownership. For conventional vehicles with diesel drive train, resale values can easily be estimated on the basis of the national used car markets. For e-vehicles, the situation is more difficult, as no established resale market exists currently. Resale values therefore need to be estimated in general. The market of e-vehicles was only really launched around the middle of the 2010s, and the market for used cars has only slowly been developing since then. Although an important component, resale values of e-vehicles therefore often had to be excluded from investment analysis (Propfe et al 2012) or they had to be based on estimations (Hacker et al 2015). This is now changing with the development of the used car market of e-vehicles and it becomes possible to use resale values for more precise total cost of ownerships (TCO) analysis.
At an early stage in the e-vehicle implementation, a model approach was established to estimate their resale values (Propfe et al 2012). The resale values were at that time assumed to be around 30% lower than resale values of conventional vehicles due to lack of knowledge about life cycle expectations of batteries and relating risks for second hand car owners (Propfe et al 2012).
With the emerging used-car-market for e-vehicles, in 2019 a study could be carried out comparing the TCO of a VW Golf in different European countries on the basis of actual resale prices (Weken et al., 2019). While the loss of value for e-vehicles was previously estimated to be very high compared to conventional vehicles, a new insights are now gained based on the actual resale prices:
According to the 2019 study, the average loss of value rate (total new purchase price minus residual value in proportion to total new purchase price) of the analyzed commercial electric vehicle is lower than of comparable combustion engine vehicles in the Netherlands, Norway, Austria and United Kingdom. While the considered diesel and fuel vehicles have an average loss of value rate of around 40% to over 50%, the loss of value rate for the evaluated electric vehicles in the countries analysed is only between 30% and 40%.This means that the resale value of electric vehicles is higher in relative terms and thus the loss of value lower, compared to vehicles equipped with combustion engines. The analysis in these four countries shows that the analysed electric vehicles’ TCOs are comparable with those of petrol vehicles (Netherlands, Austria and United Kingdom) or even lower, also due to exemptions from road taxes and lower total energy costs.
In Sweden and Germany, the loss of value rate of 40-45% for electric vehicles is significantly higher than for conventional vehicles (30-40%). As a consequence, TCOs for the evaluated electric vehicle are less favourable. In both countries, the level of TCOs in absolute terms are between 1,000€ and 4,000€ higher than that of conventional vehicles.
In Denmark, the loss of value rates of the considered electric vehicle and combustion vehicles are at comparable levels. There is only a small difference in TCOs in favour of the electric vehicle, which are slightly lower due to lower total energy costs and lower road taxes (Weken et al 2019).
Generally it is expected that, as the used car market for electric vehicles develops and demand increases, the resale values will tend to rise and the TCO comparison improves further in favour of electric vehicles.
It is important to note that the tendencies described above are based on only the one study from 2019, which has been identified as the only available at present time. It is important to continue observing the market to develop a broader data basis and achieve a better understanding of the area, e.g. regarding questions whether different manufacturer brands and vehicle types show the same pattern etc..
- Hacker et al (2015): Wirtschaft lichkeit von Elektromobilität in gewerblichen AnwendungenBetrachtung von Gesamtnutzungskosten, ökonomischen Potenzialen und möglicher CO2-Minderungim Auft rag der Begleitf orschung zum BMWi Förderschwerpunkt IKT für Elektromobilität II: Smart Car – Smart Grid – Smart TrafficAbschlussbericht; Aktualisierte Fassung, April 2015
- Propfe et al (2012): Cost analysis of Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles including Maintenance & Repair Costs and Resale Values. World Electric Vehicle Journal Vol 5
- Weken et al (2019): Effectiveness of financial incentives for stimulating BEV uptake. 32nd Electric Vehicle Symposium, Lyon, France