In 2019, market analysis and research firm Deloitte predicted that electric vehicles would reach price parity with combustion-powered counterparts in 2022. One year later, General Motors Chief Technology Officer Matt Tsien shared his optimism about EV prices. Cost parity between EVs and conventionally powered vehicles “will come sooner than many people think,” he said during a keynote speech at a Society of Automotive Analysts event. Skip forward to the second half of 2022, and EV prices are running away from ICE cars. The latest analysis from iSeeCars.com reveals just how much more expensive used EVs are, and recent MSRP hikes are driving new EV prices even higher.
Used Electric Car Prices Up 54.3% In One Year
Used car prices are dropping rapidly at the wholesale level, however buyers have yet to see any significant price drops at the retail level. Over the past eight weeks, used car prices have dropped nearly 5 percent at dealer auctions. Could the car price bubble be finally coming to an end? If you’re in the market for an electric vehicle or plug-in hybrid, we’re far from it.
According to data from iSeeCars, used electric car prices saw an increase of 54.3% from July of 2021 to July 2022. Over the same period, gas-powered cars were up just 10.1%. Number crunchers at iSeeCars analyzed the prices of over 13.8 million 1-5 year old used cars sold between January and July of 2021 and 2022 to determine the price growth of electric cars compared to ICE vehicles.
As gas prices reached new records this spring, the demand for EVs rose in parallel. However, a closer look at the data reveals that the few affordable electric cars on the market saw the greatest price increases, and by a long shot.
At a time when the average EV transaction price is over $66,000, the future of electric mobility is riding on the success of more affordable options. The number of sub-$40,000 EVs seems to be shrinking by the day.
Are Affordable EVs Going Extinct? It Appears So
iSeeCars found that America’s two most affordable electric cars saw prices increase the most. Used Chevrolet Bolt prices were up 29.3% since 2021, and used Nissan Leaf prices were up 45%. For the Leaf (which starts at $27,800 new), this massive price spike translates to an average sale price of $28,787 in July 2022. The average used Chevy Bolt sold for $28,291 last month. Considering the specs of the Bolt (notably charging capabilities), that’s a lot of money for a used EV.
With DC fast charging times typically around 45 minutes to one hour to add 200 miles of range, both of these electric models are likely to see drastic depreciation as much faster charging EVs become more commonplace. This is especially true for the Leaf, which lacks the decent range of the Bolt.
The Kia Niro EV seems to be the outlier here. With 239 miles of EPA-rated range and 77 kilowatt DC fast charging capability, it almost seems like a good deal with used Niro EV prices ‘only’ increasing 15.7% year-over-year. At the time of writing, used Kia Niro EVs are priced between $35,000 and $43,000.
Another Day, Another EV Price Hike
New electric vehicles are seeing price hikes, too. Just last week, Ford announced that the 2023 Mustang Mach-E was getting a massive price increase. The base Select trim now starts at $48,195 (up $3,200). The rear-wheel drive option was eliminated, effectively canceling the most affordable Mustang Mach-E. The most popular trim, the Premium AWD Mustang Mach-E, now starts at $56,175 before the $1,300 destination fee. That’s a $6,075 increase from earlier in 2022.
When Ford reopened F-150 Lightning orders in August, the news was accompanied by a $6,000 to $8,500 price increase. The most affordable F-150 Lightning now starts at $46,974. Most buyers will want the XLT with extended range, and that option now starts at $80,974. Will Ford lower the price by $1,000 to qualify for the new EV tax credit? We’ll find out soon enough.
Tesla prices are up over 20% since early 2021. The Model 3 is now 27% more expensive, and the most popular EV in America, the Model Y, now costs 30% more with a starting price of $65,990. Rivian made headlines when they canceled the most affordable configuration of the Rivian R1T electric truck. Anyone with basic math skills (or a calculator) can see that new and used EVs alike are becoming more expensive.
When Will EV Prices Go Down?
This right here is the question we’re all doing our best to answer. Still, it’s hard to tell. Here’s what needs to happen before EV prices will go down:
- EV production and inventory must increase
- For that to happen, supply chain constraints must ease
- Battery suppliers must continue to meet demand
- Automakers need to commit to affordable models rather than luxury EVs
- More EV competition may drive prices down
Is there any good news? It depends on which EVs you’re interested in, and your buying timeline. The new EV tax credit is the first to ever offer a used EV tax credit and future rebate, however strict eligibility requirements for both are causing an uproar. For some, buying an EV may soon be thousands of dollars cheaper. For others, federal EV incentives vanished when President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 into law. See which new EVs and used EVs qualify for the revised incentives.
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