18 Jul 19

Dutch used-EV sales triple in one year

In the first half of 2019, Dutch car dealerships sold 3,124 used EVs – triple the amount in H1 2018. Most used EVs are sold within the Netherlands. Although absolute numbers remain small, this relative rise could indicate a breakthrough for electric mobility.

Not so long ago, selling a used electric vehicle (EV) was a difficult proposition: range anxiety was compounded by worries about technological obsolescence and battery wear. 

Increasing confidence
But today, soaring sales of used electric vehicles (EVs) are an indication that increasing numbers of consumers have confidence in the durability of EV technology – even if the models are a few years old. This has a beneficial effect on the residual values (RVs) of EVs, which helps bring down the total cost of ownership (TCO) of EVs.

In this way, rising sales of used EVs are an essential part of the virtuous circle that is currently helping to mainstream electric mobility. The Dutch figures, procured by automotive data supplier VWE, are but one of a host of signals that used-EV sales are ‘normalising’, both on the informal and formal second-hand markets. 

Sales increases
Sales from owner to owner (C2C) over the previous H1s increased thus:

  • 2015: 162 units
  • 2016: 276 units
  • 2017: 402 units
  • 2018: 802 units
  • 2019: 1,399 units

From H1 2018 to H1 2019, that represents an increase of 74%. 

But the increase is even more pronounced when looking at used-EV sales by professionals to consumers (B2C):

  • 2015: 123 units
  • 2016: 265 units
  • 2017: 388 units
  • 2018: 970 units
  • 2019: 3,124 units

That’s a 222% increase from H1 2018 to H1 2019. 

Just 786 of the 4,523 used EVs traded in the Netherlands in H1 2018 was exported, meaning most stayed within the country. 

Rising appetite
Of course, the material prerequisite for the rapid increase in used-EV sales is an increase in the supply of used EVs. Electric vehicles have been on the market in various models and configurations for more than a few years now, and the new-EV market has been growing slowly but steadily. 

But here’s one interesting detail shows the market's rising appetite for used EVs per se: stock days. Whilst used petrol and diesel cars on average linger 75 days before being sold to a new owner, that figure was just 54 days for used EVs. 

However, that rising tide is a relative phenomenon: the absolute figures show EVs are still in a very small minority: the used EVs turned over via the B2C channel in H1 2019 (3,124 units) represent just 0.5% of the total (609,000 units).

Top 10 models
The top 10 of used EVs sold in the Netherlands during the first half of 2019 looks like this (in brackets: change vs. H1 2018):

  1. Tesla Model S: 745 (+234%)
  2. VW e-Golf: 334 (+163%)
  3. Renault Zoe: 300 (+95%)
  4. BMW i3: 271 (+166%)
  5. Nissan Leaf: 269 (+112%)
  6. Jaguar I-Pace: 204 (n/a)
  7. Tesla Model X: 175 (+573%)
  8. Fiat 500: 164 (+148%)
  9. Audi E-tron: 158 (n/a)
  10. Hyundai Kona: 126 (n/a)

Vehicle inspections
Tesla's Model S is the best-selling used EV in the Netherlands, while the Model X achieved the biggest relative gain (but from a much smaller base). Remarkably, the electric version of the Fiat 500 was never sold as a new vehicle in the Netherlands: the sales of used versions are all due to imports, notably from the United States. 

Another measure of the rising popularity of EVs in the Netherlands is the number of so-called APKs (Algemene Periodieke Keuringen) for EVs. These periodical vehicle inspections have increased tenfold for EVs over the past three years, from just 263 in H1 2016 to 2,657 in H1 2019.

Do you want to find out how you can deal with EVs in your fleet? Attend the 2019 Fleet Europe Summit!

Authored by: Frank Jacobs