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USA: You Could Buy a Used Electric Car for 15% of Its Price When New

NEW YORK (TheStreet) — Hey, have I got a deal for you — an all-electric car. So long as you buy it used, that is.

A study for USA Today by Kelley Blue Book suggests that all-electric cars such as the Nissan Leaf could experience jaw-dropping depreciation over the first five years.

The 5-year-old Leaf could sell for only about 15% of its original sales price, while a similar Nissan Sentra SL compact, a gasoline-engine vehicle, would retain 36% of its original value.

Other all-electric vehicles such as the Chevrolet Spark EV and Ford Focus Electric are also likely to suffer huge depreciation. In fact, the Leaf, Fiat 500e and Smart Fortwo, all electric cars, topped Kelley’s list of 2014 models likely to have the highest depreciation.

The problem is centered on the pure electric vehicles — plug-ins with no back-up gasoline engine. Hybrids, which have gas motors as well as electric ones, tend to hold their value much better. For instance, the Toyota plug-in Prius, which can charge from an outlet but also has a gasoline engine, retains 35% of its value after five years, just two percentage points less than a comparable all-gas vehicle.
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