29 May 17

Remarketing Electric Vehicles: an evolving but challenging domain

A few days ago remarketing specialist BCA held a conference in its Dutch premises (Barneveld) on one of the hottest topics within the remarketing world: electric vehicles.

Around 30 experts from manufacturers, leasing and rental companies and banks were present to participate in a lively debate throughout the day. Opening the day, BCA’s European Sales Director Pieter Dietrich pointed out that all EV’s are going to be used cars soon – in fact every car is a used car as soon as it drives out of the showroom… He also reminded the participants that as an example of the importance of EV’s, pioneer country Norway will not sell any cars powered by petrol or diesel from 2025.

On the subject of reselling used EV’s it was mentioned many times that lack of public knowledge of them is a hindrance. There were differing suggestions on ways of approaching this issue. BCA is considering whether dedicated EV sales are the answer, while Nissan believes that for public acceptance, they should be treated like any other car, not treated as ‘special and different’.

The battery challenge
The major point of discussion was the battery. The general view is that the car itself, including its electric motor, simply doesn’t break down, and there are hardly any moving parts to propel it along the road – so it’s all about the battery. Even here, things are not so simple, as a number of topics are involved: who actually owns the battery, is it under a lease agreement, is it part of the car or separate, how many times has it been ‘quick-charged’, what percentage of its original driving range is left…? What was pointed out by participants, though, was that while a battery is only as good as its weakest cell, individual cells can be replaced to bring it back to full life.

The range of electric cars has always been a major issue in terms of public acceptance, and the feeling was that with the coming generation of 300-400 km, people will fell happy. And another reason why the used EV scene is difficult to predict comes from this factor and others: batteries are getting cheaper, ranges are getting higher, so precise residual values are not easy to set. Batteries have other ‘recycling’ uses, however, and will always be worth, it was stated, around 2,500 Euros… which sets a minimum RV for older cars.

For the remarketing companies such as BCA, EV’s also bring a different set of parameters. They have to check for different things, re-set their IT systems and very importantly, ensure that EV’s in their depots do not remain immobile for long enough to allow the battery to completely discharge. Re-starting the car in these cases is not as easy as may be thought. This is probably why, in BCA’s experience, traditional used car dealers simply won’t take EV’s.

One thing is sure, however. The upcoming Y-generation with its eco-friendly philosophy, is going to be interested in used EV’s in three or four years, so the market will sort itself out.

The Future of Remarketing will also be discussed at the 2017 Fleet Europe Remarketing Forum, organised on 5 December in Estoril (Portugal). For more information about the agenda, please visit the event website.

Authored by: Tim Harrup