EVs among Used Cars Consumer Reports Doesn’t Approve Of

Consumer Reports is telling used-car buyers to largely steer clear of some otherwise popular pre-owned electric cars.

Reliability is the big reason. For example, Consumer Reports lists the 2014 BMW i3 as a vehicle to avoid due to reliability concerns. The 2013 Nissan Leaf gets the same treatment, although the 2014 and 2015 versions are rated at average or above average by the magazine. The Tesla Model S is also not an advisable buy, according to CR, since earlier models had too many issues. Even the 2015 Model S is on the list, making the 2014 the only Model S since 2012 that isn’t a car to avoid.

Of course there are other conventional vehicles CR also warns its readers against, and actually, it manes seven BMW models as those to steer clear of in the used car market.

But the news is of little help to the still small EV market of first-generation models which have not benefitted from evolution, and refinement to the degree that other more established conventional models have.

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The list, titled “Used Cars to Avoid Buying,” tallies up a list of models from between 2006 and 2015 that have scored below average on reliability.

That said, model years need to be specified because even a car that’s exhibited good scores over most of its life can have a bad year or two. That’s how the 2013 Leaf makes the list but the 2014 and 2015 don’t, and it’s also why the 2014 Model S isn’t on the list.

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Being placed on this list can hurt the residual value of a given model, and a lower used-car value could make a new electric model less desirable.

Once reliability improves, so too will residual values, making electric cars a bit more of an attractive buying proposition.

Consumer Reports