How to sell an electric car

March 5, 2023

From getting the right price to finding the right buyer, we're here to help you sell your electric car.

If it’s been a while since you bought your electric car, then chances are the latest models on the market keep catching your eye. And with next-gen tech, improved battery capacity and gorgeous designs spearheading the latest releases, who can blame you?
But what to do with your current electric car?

Well, the road to 2030 (and the end of new petrol and diesel sales) is only getting shorter, and so more and more drivers are now looking at electric cars for their next vehicle.

But the average driver still has a lot of uncertainty around electric, and most of us have never had to list an electric car for sale before – so how do you sell an electric car and get the best price?

Let’s get into it.

Getting your electric car ready to sell

First up, make sure your electric car is road-worthy and in saleable condition. Give it a good clean and weigh up the cost of repairing simple mechanical faults and minor damage (like paintwork, kerbed wheels or interiors), as it could get you a higher asking price – making back money you spent on repairs in the first place.
Make sure the MOT and service history is up-to-date and all the paperwork is present and correct. If there’s less than three months left on the MOT, consider getting a new one.

Seriously consider a Battery Health Certificate, which shows the car’s battery has been professionally check and provides you with a report on the battery’s state of health. Battery health is one of the main concerns buyers mention when looking at second hand electric cars. At the very least, you should make sure the battery works properly and that you have accurately recorded its capacity and life.

Get your electric car valued

One of the most important steps is to get a valuation for your electric car, so you know how much you’re likely to get. You can get a free valuation with Auto Trader here.
Pricing your car fairly and accurately is likely to help it sell more quickly. Auto Trader uses a combination of trusted data including live adverts, dealer websites and values from major car auction, and ex-fleet and lease cars.

Our valuations are free, without any obligations, so you can get a quote and see where you want to go from there.

Do electric cars keep their value?

Electric cars depreciate, though they tend to hold their value better than petrol and diesel cars do. Factors that can affect the depreciation rate of electric cars include the condition of the battery (and of the car itself), how high the mileage is, and the make model you’re trying to sell.

What to include in an electric car advert

The advert you create for an electric car isn’t going to be much different to a petrol or diesel, so the best practice still holds true: price your car realistically, get good quality photos from a range of angles and make sure your description is accurate and includes everything that makes your car special.
There are, however, a few tweaks you can make to your electric car advert to better find the right buyer.

1. Highlight the benefits of going electric in the advert copy.

You should emphasise the details of your specific car, but you can also use this space to talk about what makes an electric vehicle so special. How much does it cost to charge your car, and does that work out cheaper than a tank full of fuel? What’s the onboard tech like, what stands out? Don’t forget electric cars produce zero tailpipe emissions, which benefits air quality and the overall environment, and also means they’re free to drive through Clean Air Zones like London’s ULEZ.

2. Give plenty of detail on the battery condition and any maintenance done.

The number one fear drivers have about buying a used electric car is that the battery is no longer in good condition, so give an accurate overview of the battery’s remaining capacity and overall health. Highlight any maintenance work or servicing done, and let potential buyers know whether there are any warranties or guarantees in place. For added buyer confidence, consider that Battery Health Certificate.

3. Talk about the available range and charging capabilities.

Be honest about how much range you get out of the battery nowadays (that’s how many miles you cover on a single charge). It’s worth specifying how many miles you get in cold weather too, as it’s usually less than normal. Given the battery and car has aged, and technology had progressed, the range of your second-hand car is unlikely to compete with brand-new – but don’t let that stop you being honest. Buyers will know that, and appreciate the honesty. They’re looking for the right car for them, so give them the facts and the right buyers will find you.

4. Price your car fairly and accurately.

Electric cars tend to hold their value well, so they tend to be more expensive than second hand petrol or diesel models. Do a bit of research into how much similar models are going for, factoring in the health of your battery and how rare or valuable your car is. It’s worth keeping your local area in mind too – a lack of public charging points may hamper demand, while areas with Clean Air Zones on the way could have a wider range of eager buyers getting in touch.

Don’t forget to include all the usual stuff like mileage, specs and tech, and any wear and tear to the vehicle.

What pictures to take when selling your electric car

We’d stick to best practice here and get clear, hi-res shots from every angle. You can get a full list of the best angles right here.
For an electric car, we’d definitely include photos of the charger and cable so potential buyers can clearly see what type it is and what condition it is in.

It’s also worth including photos of any extra features – like the frunk – in action so buyers can visualise themselves using the car and its practical space.

Given how nice the onboard tech is in the average electric car, we’d include a few shots of that too.

Let the potential driver test drive your electric car

Your electric car may very well be the first a potential buyer has ever driven, so a test drive is a great way for them to calm any concerns and get used to it (especially the automatic gears and quiet cabin – remember how you felt when you first got behind the wheel?)
During the test drive, show the potential buyer how to operate the car and give them chance to get used to it. Take a bit of time to showcase the benefits and features of your electric car.

It’s also worth showing them how to charge the car – give them a demo of where to check the battery levels, how to plug the car in, and where to check the battery gauge.

If they can see themselves living with your car, you’re more likely to have a happy buyer on your hands. There are more tips on letting a potential buyer text drive your car here.

How do I transfer tax and ownership of an electric car?

If the buyer decides your car is the one for them, then congratulations!
The next steps are essentially the same as with any other car – you’ll need to transfer the tax and registered ownership to the buyer all the steps you need to follow are here.

Remember, just because you don’t currently pay Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) on an electric car, you still need to register the car for tax. And you’ll still need to transfer the records when you sell the car.

Work out where you’re going to sell it

You have plenty of options when it comes to selling your car, and you could potentially find a market with electric car enthusiasts online or in person.
Selling through Auto Trader puts your car in front of more buyers than any other, we’re ranked top for customer satisfaction, and you’re twice as likely to sell your car within a week when you advertise with us.

Best of all, you can place an advert in three simple steps, and it all starts with simply entering your car’s registration number.

Create your advert and sell your electric car whenever you’re ready.

Need more advice? Here’s our complete guide to selling your car.

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