Buying a used car should be exciting, but the lack of transparency in the used vehicle market is frustrating. This hasn’t changed with the increasing prevalence of electric vehicles.
While many people shift to electric cars to reduce emissions, running and maintenance costs, a study by carVertical shows EVs are still prone to various scams, including mileage fraud.
Electric cars can be clocked just like any other car
Electric cars are the future, as people begin to prefer quiet and CO2-neutral driving instead of fossil fuels and noisy engines. Although governments are gradually taking away the perks of owning an EV, electric cars are much easier to maintain and, at the same time, technologically more advanced than diesel and petrol vehicles.
Unfortunately, any EV can be subject to mileage fraud – they use the same digital odometers as any other vehicle. In fact, digital odometers are much easier to tamper with compared to mechanical ones found in older vehicles.
According to car history company carVertical, 15.6% of all vehicles in Europe have a clocked mileage. The share of clocked EVs is similar – 13.4% of all electric cars had their odometers altered. This suggests that buyers of used electric and fossil-fuel vehicles face almost the same risk of mileage fraud.
4 out of 10 EVs have been in an accident
Did you know that every second used car in Europe has been in an accident? 43.6% of used EVs have also been in an accident, making damages in electric cars nearly as common. Moreover, EVs mostly serve as city commuters, so the number of accidents will likely increase as the EV fleet ages.
Traffic accidents can be minor or severe, resulting in frame and drivetrain deformations, premature corrosion, and damaged EV batteries. Many of these damages can be repaired, but defective battery packs in electric cars must be replaced to avoid shortages or fire hazards. New battery packs are costly, and some drivers will try to sell their vehicle as “accident-free,” instead.
Mileage fraud hides the real battery condition
Odometer readings are great for evaluating the condition of a car. Most EV manufacturers provide at least a 100,000 km warranty for batteries. However, they can typically last more than 320,000 km.
A vehicle’s mileage may help determine how much juice is left in a battery. The problem is you can’t solely rely on the mileage reading because it may be fake and the battery life computer an be reset. Scammers can adjust it within minutes, meaning you must take additional precautions to ensure a car is worth the asking price.
“Depending on the capacity, battery replacement can cost tens of thousands of euros or even half of a car’s value. This is the most expensive part in an electric car, although, generally, EVs are cheaper to maintain compared to vehicles with internal combustion engines,” says Matas Buzelis, the Head of Communications at carVertical.
Used car sellers can get more money for their cars by tampering with mileage, therefore mileage fraud isn’t disappearing any time soon. Fraudulent people adapt to new technology in modern cars, and trends are showing that electrifying fleets won’t solve this issue either.
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