what do you absolutely need to check before buying it?

The electric car is becoming an increasingly visible component of the market; an increasingly large share, but new electricity remains expensive. For daily trips, the second-hand market is an opportunity because the purchase price is lower.

In addition, if you scrap your current vehicle, you can even benefit from State aid (1,000 euros of ecological bonus) and a conversion bonus which fluctuates according to your family quotient (a simulator is your disposal on www.service-public.fr).


Apart from the condition of the battery, it is imperative that you inspect the wearing parts.  These include tires, brakes, wiper blades and others.  Check the rims, because when they are damaged, the bill can increase.  Photo DR

Apart from the condition of the battery, it is imperative that you inspect the wearing parts. These include tires, brakes, wiper blades and others. Check the rims, because when they are damaged, the bill can increase. Photo DR

Electricity is specific

You don’t buy a 100% electric vehicle like a thermal car, although the condition of the bodywork, the running gear, the condition of the passenger compartment are among the classics not to be forgotten.

Verification of maintenance (invoices) is also to be done; however, an electric one is not as greedy in terms of consumables (oil, spark plugs, etc.).

Even the pads are stressed less due to the use of regenerative braking. On the other hand, with torque available immediately, the tires can be put to the test. We will therefore address the specific points.

Importance of battery

The battery is the crucial point. With most manufacturers, the battery is guaranteed for eight years. Depending on the age of the car you want, the condition of this essential accessory should be checked.

After a few tens of thousands of kilometers traveled and a number of years, the battery life may not be the same as new.

The actual autonomy can vary enormously depending on the model, the mileage, the number of charge cycles carried out. The battery loses capacity as it is recharged, fast or not, or its technology, and in particular its cooling system.


All the workshops of the different brands are able, during a trip to the suitcase, to tell you what the state of health of the battery is.  Some models, like the Nissan Leaf, even display it on the dashboard in the form of bars.  The warranty plays an important role here.  Photo DR

All the workshops of the different brands are able, during a trip to the suitcase, to tell you what the state of health of the battery is. Some models, like the Nissan Leaf, even display it on the dashboard in the form of bars. The warranty plays an important role here. Photo DR

Battery certification

You can ask the seller to certify the vehicle battery (the Soh / State of health); it’s easy for a professional but an individual can go through the “My beautiful battery” platform which will certify the state of health of the battery.

The test kit consists of a small box to be plugged into the vehicle’s OBD socket and then sent back to the company.

After inspection of the data, the latter establishes a certificate detailing the state of health of the battery (in percentage), its remaining manufacturer’s guarantee and an estimate of the current autonomy. For everyone’s peace of mind, the seller may take advantage of this.


The electric motor does not need special maintenance because there are far fewer moving parts than in a heat engine.  In general, it is advisable to opt for a second-hand model that displays less than 10,000 km on the odometer.  Photo DR

The electric motor does not need special maintenance because there are far fewer moving parts than in a heat engine. In general, it is advisable to opt for a second-hand model that displays less than 10,000 km on the odometer. Photo DR

Beware of old batteries

Note that while the vast majority of electric cars use lithium-ion batteries, this is not the case for all. For example, the Bolloré Bluecar and Bluesummer, as well as the Citroën e-Mehari, are equipped with lithium metal polymer (LMP) batteries.

They have the particularity of requiring that they be maintained at a temperature of between 60 and 80°C, which requires significant electrical consumption, even when stopped.

Condition of cables and sockets

The seller must provide you with the vehicle’s charging cables; there may be several when the car can be plugged into a wallbox-type slow socket or a CCS-type fast socket.

They must not be damaged. Due to the intensity of the current used, especially on fast charging stations, this would be dangerous. The sockets (on the vehicle and at the level of the cables) must be free of any nicks, cuts, traces of torsion and obviously not stripped.