Used Electric Vehicles (EVs): The battery test race to work out and its real worth

electric vehicle
A used KIA EV6 electric car is seen for sale outside the showroom of a used car dealer in Manchester, Britain, October 19, 2023. REUTERS/Phil Noble/File Photo/File Photo

A number of firms are competing to assist purchasers in determining the true value of used electric vehicles (EVs) as the race to verify battery health and performance is heating up.

With conventional combustion-engine cars, the amount of miles and years accumulated can quickly indicate to potential buyers how much they should pay. With EVs, whose value is mostly determined by their battery’s range and capacity to hold a charge, that formula does not apply.

Battery health could not previously be assessed, which hindered used EV sales. However, this is altering as businesses scramble to scale up EV battery tests, some of which last just a few minutes.

One of them is Altelium, a UK startup that created an EV battery state-of-health test and certificate and launched it this year in over 7,000 U.S. auto dealers and over 5,000 UK dealers through dealer service providers like Assurant and GardX.

The electric transition won’t take place, according to Alex Johns, business development manager at Altelium, which claims to have interest from other markets, including China. “If the second-hand car market doesn’t work properly, the new car market doesn’t work properly, and it won’t happen,” he added. “We’re in an implementation race.”

Typically, a battery accounts for 40% or less of the cost of a new EV. The way that the battery is handled is crucial. An EV’s battery can degrade more quickly if it is charged too quickly, charged continuously when the battery is almost full or left fully charged for extended periods of time.

The Austrian startup Aviloo discovered that after 100,000 kilometers (62,140 miles), the health of an EV battery can vary by up to 30%. Aviloo has created a test for dealers and private individuals.

Because of the previous owner’s poor charging habits, a consumer who wants a used EV with 90% of its range when new may end up purchasing one with only 70% of that range. This could potentially deduct thousands of euros from the value of the vehicle, according to Marcus Berger, CEO of Aviloo, whose investors include Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE).

“With an EV, mileage and age don’t tell you anything,” Berger stated. “It’s all about the battery.”


Independent tests are essential because automakers frequently provide excessively optimistic information about EV range that critics claim they overstate. The EV market has suffered from a lack of visibility.

Recurrent, an EV battery tracking startup, reports that compared to fossil-fuel models, used EV prices in the United States fell by 32% year over year in September. According to AutoTrader, used EV prices in the UK were down 23% year over year in August while used fossil fuel model prices increased at least 4%. AutoTrader cited “consumer concerns around battery life in used EVs” as a reason for concern.

Prices for used EVs have been impacted by a price war that Tesla started.

According to data from AutoTrader and Deutsche Automobil Treuhand, three-year-old EVs in the UK and Germany have residual values that are more than 10% less than their fossil-fuel equivalents.

“Knowing the capacity of that (EV) battery is going to be critical,” said Stephanie Valdez Streaty, director of Mobility R&D at Atlanta-based Cox Automotive, which owns Manheim, the biggest used-car auction house in the world.

Eldar Vagabov, chief operating officer of Driverama, said the company uses Aviloo to weed out EVs with battery defects or capacities below 80%, which it buys in Germany each year to sell throughout central Europe.


Before spending 31,000 euros ($32,820) on a 2014 seven-seater Tesla Model S with 240,000 kilometers on it, 38-year-old Michael Willvonseder felt it was important to have an independent battery test.

Aviloo was used by a Wiener Neustadt resident who discovered that the battery had 90% of its original capacity and had a range of 412 km as opposed to 456 km when it was brand-new.

“I want a car that’s reliable, not rubbish, and I need it to last a long time,” Willvonseder stated.

Due to an impending influx of vehicles, it is becoming urgent to properly value used electric vehicles.

For instance, more than 1.2 million brand-new fully electric vehicles were sold in Europe in 2021. Many of these vehicles will enter the used car market in 2024 when their leases expire.

If used prices continue to be low, it might lower the cost of new EVs.

“You need a high functioning used-car market for residuals on new cars to be good,” said Scott Case, CEO of Seattle-based Recurrent, which has 20,000 EV owners signed up to track battery data and is also collaborating with Black Book and dealers.

According to Case, owners who take good care of their batteries could receive a “potential premium of thousands of dollars” when selling.

German certification body TUV Rheinland, which has operations in 60 countries, is a rival to startups. Battery Quick Check, which it co-developed with the startup Twaice, has been introduced in car workshops all over Germany, and it is anticipated that other markets will follow next year.

When purchasing a used EV, “people just want less risk,” according to Katharina Alamo Alonso, managing director of Battery Quick Check.

($1 = 0.9446 euros)

Credits: Reuters

Read more at News Intercept:

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