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Electric cars like Volt, Leaf hold resale value

8:56PM EST December 12. 2012 – 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% of its new-car list price after five years of ownership, compared with a used price in the low 30% range for a similar conventional Nissan Sentra compact sedan, according to price-tracker Kelley Blue Book.

And an extended-range electric 2013 Chevrolet Volt is forecast to be worth 30% of its sticker price at the end of five years, not far from the similar, conventional 2013 Chevrolet Cruze compact sedan at 38%, KBB says.

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% 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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