Live Somewhere Without Electric Car Choice? Say Hello To The Used EV Cottage Industry

As anyone outside of the state of California will tell you, getting access to the latest and greatest in electric cars can sometimes be a pain — at least if you’re looking for anything other than a Tesla.

Mainstream automakers, be it due to compliance car regulations and or concerns over enacting a mass roll-out for a car that auto dealers are still reluctant to sell, often launch plug-in cars in California (and the other eleven states in the U.S. which have adopted California’s ZEV mandate) months or years before those same cars are available elsewhere.

Not every state has the choice of plug-in cars that ZEV states do.

Not every state has the choice of plug-in cars that ZEV states do.

Sometimes, as in the case of the Toyota RAV4 EV, those cars aren’t ever officially made available elsewhere, leaving those outside of the so-called “ZEV states” facing an almost Hobson’s choice of plug-in vehicles to buy. But as our friends over at GreenCarReports note, while new car dealerships will only sell you the new cars that automakers let them, there’s a small cottage industry of specialist used car dealerships helping people get their hands on plug-in cars wherever they happen to live.

So far, we’ve encountered several specialist used car dealerships focusing specifically on electric vehicles. One — Platt Auto of Portland, Oregon — might be located in the electric-car friendly Pacific Northwest, but actually helps people from further afield find a used electric car they can afford. (Full Disclaimer: it’s also where we purchased our used 2013 Nissan LEAF staff car

Green Eyed Motors is importing cars like the Kia Soul EV to Colorado

Green Eyed Motors is importing cars like the Kia Soul EV to Colorado

Another dealership we’re familiar with doesn’t even operate a traditional physical dealership. Based in the Orkney Islands, Eco-Cars specializes in sourcing and selling electric cars across the UK, even in places where there aren’t many auto dealerships let alone electric car specialists. Indeed, since it moved its base of operations from Leicestershire in the Midlands to the Orkney Islands three years ago (an archipelago located almost ten miles north east of the Scottish mainland) it has increased the number of electric cars on the islands’ roads by a factor of ten.

But in Colorado, there’s a new used car dealership that can not only offer used car buyers an all-electric car that they may not be able to ordinarily buy in their area but also manages to leverage existing state law on electric car incentives to ensure that customers aren’t paying through the nose for the privilege of going green.

Enter Green Eyed Motors of Boulder. While this established used car dealership offers regular gas-guzzling SUVs for sale alongside more environmentally friendly models, it is also making use of Colorado’s generous clean vehicle rebate program to make it possible for people buying a used electric car in the Centennial State to save up to $6,000 on the vehicle’s sticker price.

How? In a word, careful interpretation of the wording in the Colorado clean vehicle rebate statute.

More choice is great for everyone, regardless of where they live.

More choice is great for everyone, regardless of where they live.

Unlike some U.S. states, which only offer clean vehicle rebates and tax states only for brand-new cars, the state of Colorado offers tax credits of up to $6,000 for both new and used electric cars for the first person to register that car in state.

To ensure all of its used electric cars are in compliance with that restriction, Green Eyed Motors sources its cars from electric car friendly states like California, where it picks up nearly new, low-mileage electric cars and then ships them to Colorado for sale. Checking that they’ve never been registered in Colorado before, the cost of shipping the cars to Colorado is easily offset by the state’s tax credit, making it a no-brainer for both the company and its customers.

Currently, there’s an impressive selection of nearly new plug-in cars for sale at the dealership, including a Kia Soul EV, a Chevrolet Spark EV, multiple Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drives, a Toyota RAV4 EV, and a Fiat 500e.  Importantly, post-incentive prices are in line with the price that you’d expect to pay in California, meaning there’s no dealer markup.

Do you live outside the usual EV-friendly states? Have you been able to find a specialist dealership or garage to help you own and maintain your dream electric car miles away from where it was originally launched?

Leave your experiences and recommendations in the Comments below.


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