2 Dec 16

Why one dealer became a reference for electric-car Residual Values

Who determines the Residual Value (RV) of used electric vehicles (EVs), and how? As electric mobility finally seems to be taking off, that question is of increasing relevance to European remarketing industry – but the answer remains as elusive as ever. However, reports the Dutch website Smart Driving, one German car dealer could have a solution. 

UK researchers point to three EVs as having the highest RVs: the Renault Fluence, Nissan Leaf and Citroën C-Zero. But, as with other electric vehicles, each model has a limited range, and batteries with an as yet indeterminate replacement value. 

Neither model is prominently represented on the used-car lot of one dealer in Obrigheim, in the German Land of Baden-Württemberg. But Joachim Stueber (56) does have the largest collection of used EVs in Europe – mainly Citroën Berlingos and Renault Kangoos. In fact, he has so many used EVs in his portfolio that he has become a point of reference for the RV calculation of EVs. 

Mr. Stueber has exported over 100 used EVs all over Europe – some of them now used as taxis in Kiev, for example. He prefers working on electric cars – less dirty than fossil-fuel ones – and older EVs over newer models: older models have their own batteries, and do not require the extra admin involved with battery hire. 

NiCd batteries
EVs with rental batteries turn out to have less than stable RVs anyway. Plus, says Stueber, older EVs run on NiCd batteries, which are more resistant to wear and tear than more recent ones. 

“Insurers and academics contact me for information on Residual Values for Electric Vehicles. That says a lot about the uncertainty that still clouds the subject”, says Stueber. “From my extensive experience, I can confirm that Evs are less subject to wear and tear and require less maintenance than their fossil-fuel counterparts. The biggest advantage of electric versions of the Kangoo and Berlingo is that spare parts are readily available from fossil-fuel wrecks”.

If RVs for used Renault Fluences are relatively low – less than €10,000 -  it is because of the system of battery rental: at a mileage of 10,000 km/y, count on an extra €82 for monthly rental. The guarantee of a high-performance battery does not seem to contribute to a high RV. The Renault Zoe, which can be purchased with its own batteries, seems more popular – also because the newest models have a range of 400 km.

Supercharger network
Prices for used Citroën C-Zeros, also a model with proprietary batteries, vary between €11,000 and €21,500. Used Peugeot Ions go for almost €29,000, while prices for second-hand Mitsubishi I-Miev vary between €10,000 and €23,500. A 2011 Nissan Leaf with a mileage of 70,000 goes for around €14,000. New Leafs have a price tag in the region of €35,000, about as much as a (fossil-fuel) Nissan Qashqai 2.0.  

The Tesla Model S has a much higher RV that the average electric vehicle. A used Model S with 85 kwh, i.e. a range of about 400 km, can still fetch up to €62,000 on the Dutch used-car website Autoscout. At a new-car price of €110,000, that is a markdown of €48,000 over three and a half years. Used Teslas are subject to fiscal advantages – at least in the Netherlands – and can charge up for free at the Europe-wide Tesla Supercharger network (pictured), to which new stations are continuously added. Tesla also offers a four-year,  80,000-km warranty on the car, and an eight-year one on the battery and motor. All of which explains the waiting list for new Teslas, and the high RV for used ones.

Image: Simon Waldherr, CC BY-SA 4.0

Authored by: Frank Jacobs