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Used EVs: How to navigate the tight market for -2-

The EV's battery cooling system is another factor. Liquid cooling helps preserve battery life and performance, and many, but not all, EVs have these systems. The Nissan Leaf, for example, has an air-cooled battery.

If the EV's battery fails, however, you may have options. Even if the car is out of its basic warranty period (typically three years), the battery should still be covered under the federally required warranty: eight years or 80,000 miles. California's zero-emission vehicle regulations require even more coverage. Check out your own state's rules and the degradation stipulations set by the particular manufacturer as they vary.

Beyond batteries, used EVs may be missing the latest software, too, such as features like Apple AAPL CarPlay and Android Auto GOOG, or it may simply be less user-friendly than newer versions.

Overall maintenance

EVs have fewer moving parts than traditional cars, so there is less that can break down. And in general, you might find that used EVs will have fewer miles on the odometer relative to gas-powered cars, which means they've had less wear and tear on the brakes, tires and suspension.

"This is the silver lining of their more limited range -- people often just don't drive them that much," said Montoya.

EVs also require less regular maintenance. Most conventional vehicles call for a major service in the third year, which can often cost a few hundred dollars or more. Compare that to the Nissan Leaf, for example, which requires only a tire rotation and brake fluid and cabin filter replacement in its third year.

There's also less scope for home fixes or relying on your familiar mechanic.

"We're creating a new economy around EVs. People don't really realize that there's going to come a world where Jiffy Lube and Pep Boys are going to have to shift their businesses towards electrification," said Shahidi.

"Getting your oil change won't exist anymore. So what does that mean? It means that mechanic or future mechanic is going to have to come up with a business that's focused around servicing batteries or servicing electric cars," he said.

-Rachel Koning Beals


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

08-13-22 1028ET

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