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Do Electric Vehicles Depreciate? The Real Numbers

When looking for a car, depreciation is a major factor in your decision. Whether you are buying new and want to calculate how much you will lose over the years or wait to buy used and get the best possible deal. If you want to know if electric cars depreciate, then this post is for you.

I’ve included some of the most popular EVs here and will keep this post updated so that you can refer back to it at any time.

Nissan Leaf Depreciation

The Nissan leaf suffers from above-average depreciation. Averaging 60% over 5 years.

The worst EV on our list is the Nissan Leaf, which has the lowest depreciation year over year. A two year old Leaf seems to be the sweet spot for both value and reliability.

Nissan Leaf DepreciationTop TrimSL Plus or SL
YearMSRPCurrent Price$ Decline% Decline
MY 202133,52633,526 $                –  0%
MY 2020$33,236$32,900-$            336-1%
MY 2019$32,490$28,900-$        3,590-11%
MY 2018$33,222$18,200-$      15,022-45%
MY 2017$30,892$12,500-$      18,392-60%
MY 2016$30,288$11,200-$      19,088-63%
MY 2015$29,890$8,900-$      20,990-70%
MY 2014$29,975$7,800-$      22,175-74%
MY 2013$29,544$6,500-$      23,044-78%
MY 2012$28,410$5,300-$      23,110-81%
MY 2011$28,120$4,900-$      23,220-83%

Chevy Bolt Depreciation

The Chevy Bolt has a depreciation averaging 60% over 5 Years.

The Chevy Bolt is only in its 5th model year, so it is possible that depreciation will decrease slightly over the next few years as first year vehicles typically suffer from above-average depreciation. Still, it gives the Nissan Leaf a run for the money in the depreciation department.

A one or two year old model appears the be the best value.

Chevy BoltTrim LT
YearMSRPCurrent Price$ Decline% Decline
MY 2021 $              37,495 $         37,000-$            495-1%
MY 2020 $              39,295 $         27,700-$      11,595-30%
MY 2019 $              39,295 $         22,300-$      16,995-43%
MY 2018 $              38,900 $         18,400-$      20,500-53%
MY 2017 $              37,500 $         15,100-$      22,400-60%

Tesla Model 3 Depreciation

The Tesla Model 3, so far, shows very little depreciation. First year models have the highest at 21% due to its higher initial MSRP. 2019 Model 3’s however average a 5% appreciation.

Anyone wanting a Tesla Model 3 but hoping to save some money on a used one is probably still scratching their heads. ( Myself included  ) The Model 3 has very little depreciation and even some 2019 models are selling at 2020 prices. Supply and demand are part of the reason for this. Simply, there are more customers than cars available. This may not be sustainable, but four years in there seems to be no decline in used prices.

Tesla Model 3 Standard Range
YearMSRPCurrent Price$ Decline% Decline
MY 2021 $              39,190 $         39,190 $                –  0%
MY 2020 $              39,190 $         39,000-$            1900%
MY 2019 $              36,200 $         37,900 $         1,7005%
MY 2018 $              46,000 $         36,200-$        9,800-21%

Tesla Model S Depreciation

The Tesla Model S has a depreciation of 52% after 5years.

The Tesla Model S does not have the stellar resale value of its younger brother the Model 3. A few factors contribute to this. Primarily advances in technology. The Model S battery tech for example has improved significantly over the years. So the smaller range of the older models is not quite as appealing as the newer offerings.

The Model S MSRP also puts it squarely in the luxury category which is the most depreciated sector in all of automobiledom.

A 2019 or even a well priced 2018 are the best value picks for the Model S. It will alleviate the fears of expensive repair bills, but offer a significant discount on the purchase price.

Tesla Model SMid Range
YearMSRPCurrent Price$ Decline% Decline
MY 2021$95,799$79,300-$16,499-17%
MY 2020$95,799$63,200-$32,599-34%
MY 2019$95,799$55,600-$40,199-42%
MY 2018$95,799$49,400-$46,399-48%
MY 2017$95,799$46,300-$49,499-52%
MY 2016$95,799$39,300-$56,499-59%
MY 2015$95,799$38,600-$57,199-60%
MY 2014$95,799$37,300-$58,499-61%
MY 2013$95,799$22,200-$73,599-77%
MY 2012$95,799$18,800-$76,999-80%

The above numbers do not reflect any rebates available from state to state which may affect the results.

Or perhaps not. Where I live, people are selling Model 3’s with 15,000 Miles for the same price as a new one. If I bought new, I would get a $5000.00 federal rebate and wind up with a new car for $5k less, and yet these ads keep popping up.

I also haven’t drawn a correlation between the EV depreciation and standard automobile depreciation. Though at first glance it appears to be actually quite similar.