The Nissan LEAF is the bestselling electric car in history, with global sales expected to pass 200,000 units this January. But in 2015 the LEAF was found to have very low resale value by one study.
Used LEAF prices dropped an average 48 percent from their sticker prices when new, according to used-car website Carlypso. Researchers compared the sticker prices of new 2015 models to the average prices of lightly-used models at wholesale auctions. Note that auction prices are lower than retail prices, so used-car shoppers won’t see quite as much of a discount.
The LEAF was somewhat of an outlier on the list of cars with the worst resale value. It was the only electric car in a group that mostly consisted of large sedans and vehicles from brands with somewhat troubled images. While low gas prices saw sales of SUVs shoot up in 2015, they aren’t necessarily the reason for the LEAF’s low resale value. A few gas guzzlers, including the Chevrolet Camaro and Mercedes-Benz SL-Class sports cars and Chevrolet Express van, were also on the list.
The LEAF was among the first wave of modern electric cars to go on sale in large numbers, and that means it’s also in vanguard when it comes to used electric-car sales. Greater numbers of LEAFs are coming off leases and beginning to populate used-car lots, and prices have remained low throughout the year. The overall electric-car segment is still very small, after all, and the $7,500 Federal tax credit available to buyers of new models lessens the savings they might get from buying a used car.
One possible upshot of this is that any buyers who are looking for a used LEAF will probably be able to get some good deals. They may not qualify for tax credits and other incentives, but if resale values really are this low, there could still be some opportunities to snag a bargain.