For instance, a Ford Focus Electric hatchback would have retailed new for $40,387 in 2012 ($32,887 after federal incentives), and its Focus SE cousin for $20,500. But in July 2015, Black Book values the used Focus Electric at $10,250 while the gas-powered Focus holds $9,100. That means with incentives included, the Focus Electric retains 31 percent of its value to the Focus SE’s 44 percent.
The full chart can be seen, below.
The Chevrolet Volt shows a similar depreciation curve against the gas-powered Chevrolet Cruze. Interestingly, the Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi i-Miev electric vehicles are actually valued beneath the cheaper gas-powered Nissan Versa and Mitsubishi Lancer, respectively.
“On several of today’s popular EV vehicles, the depreciation curve is very steep, largely driven by lack of consumer demand preferences for fuel-efficient models with the current price of gas,” said Anil Goyal, Vice President of Automotive Valuation and Analytics for Black Book.
In general, the depreciation curve for higher priced vehicles is steeper than that of lower priced entry-level models, but even so, these sharp drops in small EV values would appear unusually large. That being said, once gas prices rise, so too will the value of used electric vehicles—perhaps dramatically.