2 Affordable Used Electrified Cars Available Nationwide

I get into social media discussions all the time about how electric vehicles are the future, and the main concern was how you’re going to charge them. But as charging has become faster and available in more places, the bigger concern has shifted to cost. Since electric vehicles have lower fuel and maintenance costs and possibly even lower insurance costs, those with good credit can pay $10,000 or more for the vehicle and still have monthly costs. lower. That being said, Tesla has no trouble taking an ever-increasing share of the premium market; the problems are at the lower end of the market. The basic problem is that more affordable EVs don’t have the range or fast charging for commuting. One of the best solutions to this problem is to rent a car for travel. Previously, that meant going back to a gas-powered car or paying a premium for a specialty car on Turo. Last year, when Hertz announced that it was buying Tesla Model 3 and Model Y vehicles on a massive scale, it opened up new possibilities! Now you have two good choices.

  1. You can buy a shorter-range electric vehicle like an old Nissan Leaf and rent a Tesla when you’re on a long trip.
  2. You can get a plug-in hybrid like a Chevrolet Volt and use electric in town and gas on the go, or rent a Tesla for some trips.

Old Nissan Leaf

Screenshot of www.edmunds.com

I owned a 2012 Nissan Leaf for 6 1/2 years and loved it, but it wasn’t the same experience as my Tesla Model 3 or Model Y. Steve Hanley who also owned a Nissan Leaf before moving to a Tesla Model 3, recently wrote about the Nissan Leaf. My advantages are that the car is more spacious than you think, has more cargo space than you think, has high efficiency, good acceleration, instant torque and low maintenance costs. The downsides are that the range of about 70 miles is just enough for local driving, the CHAdeMo charging port it uses for fast charging is disappearing in the US, and the battery doesn’t have active cooling, so the battery will degrade faster in the South where it’s warm or hot all the time. It’s not a great choice in freezing weather, as your limited range will be even more limited in very cold weather.

In short, the Leaf is basically a great starter EV if you’re willing to put up with its drawbacks. I’ve always had a gas-powered car to use for long trips, but today you can either get a longer-range electric vehicle for long trips, or rent one from Hertz or Turo, as long as you don’t don’t make too many trips a year.

Chevrolet Volt (now discontinued)

Screenshot of www.edmunds.com

I helped my sister buy a Volt a few years ago to replace an aging van, and it worked out well. I also considered buying a 2012 Volt when I got my Leaf, but I didn’t like that the original Volt only accommodated 4 since I had a family of 5 all living at home. house at the time. I didn’t need the longer range either, as I had 3 other larger cars to use for longer trips. But it works perfectly for my sister. It benefits from the low costs and excellent driving characteristics of an electric vehicle around town, and when it needs or wants to make a longer journey, it gets great fuel economy. Although Chevy discontinued the car, it is still well supported by national Chevrolet dealerships. Here’s an older article that reviews the Volt’s long-term costs.

Older Honda Civic

Screenshot of www.edmunds.com

My son-in-law owned an old Civic for many years and it’s a good reliable car by historic standards. I list it here to compare and contrast with the two plugin options.

Screenshot of www.fueleconomy.gov

As you can see from the Edmunds and EPA comparisons, with gas over $4.00 a gallon, you really can save thousands of dollars almost anywhere in the 5 years of electric car ownership compared to a gasoline car. The more miles you drive each year, the more you’ll save. These older EVs I mention here don’t have a lot of range, so keep in mind that if you exceed their daily electric range, you’ll have to spend some time charging them during your day.

Hertz rental prices for Tesla

Screenshot from www.hertz.com

Screenshot from www.hertz.com

After spending some time on the Hertz website, I noticed a few things.

  1. Tesla Model 3 and Model Y vehicles were available at most major locations.
  2. Tesla vehicles were often sold out, so if you want one, book well in advance.
  3. Prices varied from city to city, but I was surprised that the price was usually the same or a little more than a midsize SUV and usually less than a midsize luxury SUV.

If you drive a lot during your rental period (say 3000 miles), you could spend around $510 (3000 miles / 25 mpg * $4.25 per gallon) on gas if you have a regular gas SUV, but your Supercharger bill for a Tesla should be less than $187.50 (3,000/4 miles per kWh*25 cents per kWh). If you drive less, your savings will be less.

What happened to the affordable used Tesla?

When Tesla announced the $35,000 Tesla Model 3 three years ago, I expected that over 5 years it would depreciate to around $15,000. Now after 3 years, instead of dropping to around $20,000 (which was my expectation after 3 years), the cheapest Model 3s you can find are over $40,000 (even Standard Range models with 100 000 miles cost about $38,000). In contrast, if you had purchased a 2019 BMW 330i for around $40,000, it depreciated to around $30,000. If you would have bought the 2019 Camry or Accord for $25,000, it depreciated to around $20,000. What happened? It’s a combination of the general supply chain shortages caused by the disruptions due to Covid-19 and the public starting to realize just how good electric cars really are! Tesla’s recent price hikes and long wait times are also certainly a factor. As Tesla makes more cars as Austin ramps up and other automakers also sell more affordable electric cars over the next two years, I expect the price of used Teslas and other electric vehicles come down to lower levels.

Graphic courtesy of Manheim.

Although used car prices are still much higher than before the pandemic, they seem to be starting to normalize again towards lower levels.


Finding an affordable electric car these days is a challenge – certainly harder than I thought when I started this article. What ideas do you have to make the purchase more affordable? I hope the information and data I have provided will help you make a more informed decision.

Disclosure: I am a shareholder of Tesla [TSLA]BYD [BYDDY]Nio [NIO]XPeng [XPEV] and Hertz [HTZ]. But I am not offering investment advice of any kind here.



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About Melanie Tweed

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