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Electric cars holding resale value

Potential resale value has been a question raised about electric cars, and the answer, according to two recent used car pricing estimates, is that two best-selling electrics may lag behind similar conventional vehicles – but not by much.

An all-electric 2012 Nissan Leaf (the 2013 is not on sale yet) is expected to be worth 20 percent of its new car list price after five years of ownership, compared with a used price in the low 30 percent range for a similar conventional Nissan Sentra compact sedan, according to price-tracker Kelley Blue Book. An extended-range electric 2013 Chevrolet Volt is forecast to be worth 30 percent of its sticker price at the end of five years, not far from the similar, conventional 2013 Chevrolet Cruze compact sedan at 38 percent.

Another pricing service, ALG, pegs the resale value a percentage point higher each for the Leaf and Volt. The average resale value of a 2013 compact car over the same five-year period is 36.6 percent of list, ALG says.

But the comparison looks even closer when federal tax incentives of up to $7,500 to buy new electric cars are taken into account, they say. Those rebates, in effect, shave the actual new car price for these vehicles, making it worth less as a used car.


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