Table of contents
Differences Between Electric and Gasoline CarsDo Electric Cars Have Inherent Shortcomings?5 Essential Considerations When Buying a Used Tesla/Electric VehicleBatteryElectric MotorSuspension SystemCenter Console ScreenData TransferWhere to Buy Used Electric Cars?
買二手Tesla/電動車5個必睇位|附電池容量衰退計算方法

5 Considerations When Buying a Used Tesla/Electric Vehicle

The sales of electric vehicles, including Tesla, continue to increase in Hong Kong. According to the Transport Department, the number of newly registered electric vehicles for 2023 has exceeded 20,500 as of September of the year, with Tesla alone accounting for over 7,000 vehicles. Many people are considering a used Tesla/electric vehicle to avoid the limitations of the One-for-One Replacement Scheme and long delivery times. However, there are certain differences between buying a used Tesla/electric vehicle and buying a traditional used gasoline car that you need to be aware of.

In this article, we will share 5 essential considerations when buying a used Tesla/electric vehicle to reduce the chances of headaches and regrets.

Differences Between Electric and Gasoline Cars

If you are interested in buying an electric car, it is best to have a basic understanding of the differences between electric and gasoline cars. Electric cars use electric motors instead of gasoline engines to directly power the vehicle, eliminating the need for components such as engines and transmissions. The benefit is that there is no need for regular maintenance of the engine, such as oil changes and transmission fluid replacements, like for gasoline cars. However, other components such as air conditioning, brakes, steering, and suspension systems are similar to those of gasoline cars.

Do Electric Cars Have Inherent Shortcomings?

買二手Tesla/電動車5個必睇位|附電池容量衰退計算方法

Electric cars require a large amount of battery storage to provide power to the electric motor. However, batteries are quite heavy. Taking the older version of the Model 3 Long Range as an example, the battery alone weighs around 480 kg, which is nearly 1/4 of the total vehicle weight, or more than double the weight of a conventional gasoline engine which weighs around 200 kg. Add to that the weight of the electric motor, and electric vehicles easily weigh more than their gasoline-powered counterparts, imposing a significant burden on the vehicle.

5 Essential Considerations When Buying a Used Tesla/Electric Vehicle

The purchasing considerations for used Tesla/electric vehicles are generally similar to those for traditional gasoline cars. Apart from factors such as the vehicle's condition, mileage, exterior, brakes, and driving performance (for more details, refer to Steps in buying a used car and precautions to take in 2023), there are 5 key points to consider when buying a used Tesla/electric vehicle.

  • Battery

As the heart of an electric vehicle, the battery's condition is of utmost concern to most buyers. A study suggests that electric vehicle batteries experience an annual capacity decline of approximately 2.3%, and the cooling method used (air-cooled or liquid-cooled) has a bearing on battery durability. A comparative study conducted on the 2015 Tesla Model S and the 2015 Nissan Leaf found that the Tesla's battery capacity decreased by 2.3% annually, while the Leaf’s battery experienced a decline of 4.2% each year. The study attributed this difference to Tesla's use of cooling liquid to regulate the battery temperature, whereas the Leaf only employed an air-cooling system.

Research indicates that battery degradation is more rapid in the first 2-3 years and gradually stabilizes over time, so buyers need not be overly concerned. The research company also provides an online database for checking battery degradation data of 27 electric vehicle models, allowing potential buyers to compare different models and understand their preferred used electric vehicles better.

To assess battery health, let's take the Tesla Model 3 SR+ shown below as an example (with an approximate total mileage of 80,000 km). We can calculate the battery capacity using the following formula:

買二手Tesla/電動車5個必睇位|附電池容量衰退計算方法

(1) Range on Fully-Recharged Battery x (2) Average Energy Consumption x (3) Projected Mileage ÷ (4) Projected Actual Mileage

The resulting value is 44,866, indicating a battery capacity of 44.866 kWh, which represents a decline of approximately 10% from the manufacturer's indicated battery capacity of 55 kWh.

  • Electric Motor

The lifespan of a traditional gasoline car engine depends on maintenance and can range from over 100,000 km to over 1 million km. On the other hand, electric motors require minimal maintenance and have a lifespan of nearly 500,000 km. This not only saves on maintenance costs and time but also meets the demands of Hong Kong users.

Currently, many electric cars are available in both single-motor (front-wheel or rear-wheel drive) and dual-motor (all-wheel drive) versions. While single-motor versions have better range, dual-motor versions offer better performance and power distribution, reducing reliance on a single motor and potentially mitigating wear and tear over the long term.

  • Suspension System

Electric vehicles carry significant battery weight, and often weigh over 2,000 kg or even close to 2,500 kg. Although the batteries are located at the bottom of the vehicle and the weight is distributed evenly between the chassis and suspension system, over time the driving will put significant pressure on the suspension system, resulting in reduced lifespan. Shock absorbers and control arms are among the components most affected, and a complete replacement will be costly. Therefore, it is important to pay special attention during test drives, particularly on uneven road surfaces, to check for any unexplained noises.

  • Center Console Screen

買二手Tesla/電動車5個必睇位|附電池容量衰退計算方法

Many electric vehicles feature large center console screens, with physical buttons inside the cabin being almost completely eliminated. Most control functions and settings are now operated through the screen. If the screen encounters issues, it can be quite inconvenient. This is especially true for early Tesla models, as some owners have reported problems such as LCD leaks or malfunctioning screens. Therefore, it is essential to conduct a detailed inspection when purchasing a used electric vehicle.

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  • Data Transfer

Many electric vehicles have connectivity features that not only provide entertainment and navigation functions but also allow Over-the-Air (OTA) software updates for the vehicle. Therefore, before taking ownership of a used electric vehicle, see that the previous owner has disconnected their account or reset the system to the factory settings. The new owner should promptly log in with a new account to ensure smooth future updates.

Where to Buy Used Electric Cars?

Authorized Dealers

Many electric car dealerships in Hong Kong periodically sell used electric cars on their official websites, with Tesla and Zung Fu (the official distributor of Mercedes-Benz in Hong Kong) being examples. In the case of Tesla, the used vehicles have to undergo factory inspection and come with an additional warranty for one year or 20,000 km (whichever comes first). Prospective buyers can call to make an appointment to view the cars, but test drives are not offered.

Used Car Dealers

Owing to the popularity of electric cars, used car dealers naturally carry electric cars as well. For example, DCH Certified Used Car, which has a sales center in Kowloon Bay, offers used Tesla cars as well as used electric cars from other brands. All used electric cars are available for free test drives and come with a 3-month warranty.

Online Used Car Platforms

Used car websites such as 28car.com, BuyCar.hk, and HKCarTrader have search filters that allow you to quickly find listings for used electric cars and choose your desired vehicle. These websites feature used car listings from both car dealerships and private car owners. It is advisable to have a friend who is knowledgeable about cars accompany you when making a purchase.

FAQ 1

What are the differences between electric and gasoline cars?

Ans 1

Electric cars use electric motors instead of gasoline engines to directly power the vehicle. They do not have components like engines or gearboxes, which require regular maintenance such as oil changes and gearbox fluid replacements. However, other components such as air conditioning, brakes, steering, and suspension systems are similar to gasoline cars.

FAQ 2

What should I pay attention to when buying a used Tesla electric car?

Ans 2

The most important aspects to consider are the battery condition, suspension system, and central control screen. It is advisable to choose a model with dual motors as they tend to be more durable. Moreover, it is essential to check whether the previous owner's data has been deleted from the car's onboard computer system.

Suggested Meta

Buying a used Tesla or electric car is not like buying a used gas-powered car. We share what to pay attention to when buying a used Tesla or electric car.

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Kwiksure is a licensed motor insurance brokerage company with over 20 years of experience in insurance. The company strives to simplify insurance and select the best insurance plans for customers that fit their budget and coverage needs.

Kwiksure provides a range of insurance products, including car insurance, motorcycle insurance, cross-border insurance between Hong Kong and Mainland China, home insurance, travel insurance, domestic helper insurance, and voluntary medical insurance. The team has been named "Best Car Insurance Broker" and "Outstanding Leadership Award" by various media outlets over the years.