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Date: February 12, 2024
Pedro Kaiser
By Pedro Kaiser
Europe

The “odyssey” of second hand EVs: What obstacles does this market present?

In Europe, used EV users encounter complications such as a lack of subsidies and problems with the health status of the battery. What aspects should be considered when buying these vehicles?
Second hand electric vehicle EVs

Within the European continent, the second hand electric vehicle (EV) market poses complications for customers interested in purchasing them.

The lack of subsidies for buying these models, uncertainty about the lifespan of their batteries, and the price struggle due to the increased supply in the field are some of the hurdles.

Regarding state aid, some European Union member countries offer a range of incentives for acquiring new electric cars, making used ones less appealing.

These measures include bonuses for purchasing units, free parking, and a reduction or waiver of registration taxes.

Additionally, some countries provide subsidies for leasing zero-emission cars, such as France.

The reality is that, while all these aids boost the industry, many of them do not consider second hand EVs.

In the economic aspect, due to Tesla’s clear dominance and the “flood” of Chinese firms, notably BYD, several brands are working to offer new lower-priced EVs.

Some of the brands that have presented projects for the production of affordable EVs include Citroën, Fiat, Opel, Renault, Volkswagen, Skoda, among others.

Specifically, the EVs announced by these companies would cost 25,000 euros or less.

Another challenge facing the sector is related to the lifespan and health of the batteries.

The electric packs of these vehicles represent nearly 40 per cent of their total price.

That’s why buyers must be able to ensure that the batteries are in good condition when investing their money.

Recently, several companies have ventured into designing health tests for electric car batteries.

The British startup Altellium, for example, has developed a test that provides a certificate.

It will be used in around 12,000 dealerships in the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States (US).

Moreover, the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) has published on its official website a list with information to encourage and guide users in the purchase of second hand electric cars.

Among these points, the benefits stand out, such as fuel savings and a longer life cycle compared to a diesel car.

The document also provides advice, for example, checking that the battery retains at least 70 per cent of its health status when buying a second hand EV.

This information can be verified through the car’s information system.

The importance of the second hand EV market

Taking care of the used electric car market is relevant to prevent pollution from abandoned units.

That is why, based on proposals from the European Union, electric vehicle manufacturers will now be responsible for ensuring that units are not abandoned at the end of their lifespan.

EV graveyard
EV Graveyards in China.

Several companies have already started to comply with the new requirements.

For instance, Nissan is repurposing the old batteries from its Leaf units in automated guided vehicles that deliver parts to workers in their factories.

Volkswagen is doing the same.

Additionally, the German company recently inaugurated its first recycling plant in Salzgitter, Germany, and plans to recycle up to 3,600 battery systems per year during the pilot phase.

Meanwhile, the French automaker Renault is recycling all the batteries from the electric cars it produces.

It implements this method through a consortium with the French waste management company Veolia and the Belgian chemical company Solvay.

It is worth noting that recently, the joint venture created by Stellantis and Galloo, SUSTAINera Valorauto SAS, launched a new service contributing to sustainability called Valorauto.

This is a free solution for vehicles that are out of use, involving their collection and subsequent dismantling.

In the same vein, it also leverages original parts and grows the market for reused original spare parts.

This service gathers vehicles weighing less than 3.5 tonnes, both for passenger cars and light commercial units, whether combustion or electric.

It is already operational in Belgium, France, and Luxembourg.

Read more: EV Graveyards: While China is seeking ways to address the issue, Europe is already implementing solutions

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