Why experts say falling EV prices could actually hinder widespread adoption

Why used EV prices are falling

Prices of used electric vehicles are down roughly 30% year over year, according to market research studies using data from September and October.

The cheaper prices might bode well for buyers, but they raise concerns that low resale values could hurt EV adoption among mainstream consumers. The falling prices also add fuel to a debate over whether EV demand is faltering.

The mainstream appeal of these cars is still not there,” said Karl Brauer, executive analyst for iSeeCars, a search engine for used cars. “They’re still too expensive, and they’ve got too many limitations in terms of how you use them.”

Still, EVs are making up a larger share of total new car sales — more than 8% through October of this year, according to J.D. Power — and some say fears of a slowdown are overblown.

People are broke, interest rates are high,” said Scott Case, CEO of Recurrent, which provides vehicle history reports that focus on battery life. “The demand for EVs is not the issue. It’s the affordability.”

Several studies indicate what many EV supporters insist: The vehicles are cheaper to own than gasoline-burning cars — owners don’t have to shell out for gas, and maintenance costs tend to be lower because EVs have fewer moving parts.

But a car’s residual or resale value is a big factor in determining the total cost of owning it. Edmunds, which provides a range of automotive data services, said in its Q3 2023 Used Vehicle Report that “the low resale values for used EVs could become a major deterrent to new EV purchases and EV adoption more broadly.

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