Demand for electric vehicles is so high in the UAE that many cars are being sold second-hand for more than the owner originally paid for them.
The new Tesla Model 3, which is one of the most popular electric vehicles on sale in the UAE, has a starting price of just under Dh185,000 for the standard range model.
However, classifieds website Dubizzle Cars has the same Model 3s from 2021 on sale for as much as Dh210,000.
The surge in demand is down to soaring fuel prices, leaving motorists looking for ways to reduce their long-term costs and a global shortage of new cars.
While the market for used electric vehicles is in its infancy in the GCC, there has been huge growth in the first half of 2022, said Tareq Ismail, head of sales and purchases at Dubizzle Cars.
However, while many are keen to get an electric vehicle, failure to do your homework could prove costly.
“We’ve seen cases in which people have bought brand new Teslas and driven them for a year or two and then sold them for a profit,” said Mr Ismail.
“It’s not uncommon. Demand is so high that people are willing to pay what it takes to get their hands on one.
“The boom for electric cars in particular has only intensified as a result of the shortage in supply of cars in Q1 and Q2 2022, coupled with escalating fuel prices."
He said there has been a surge in pricing of up to 35 per cent for electric vehicles in the first half of 2022.
The National reported in June how a global shortage of new cars had led to the second-hand car market being pushed up to unprecedented levels.
The shortage is due to a scarcity of microchips which are key components in the majority of new cars.
The cost of fuel has also risen significantly, not least because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which has put further financial pressure on motorists.
These factors have led more motorists than before to consider buying an electric alternative to their petrol and diesel-fuelled vehicles, Mr Ismail said.
“The biggest trend we are noticing is people seeking to move on from traditional vehicles in favour of those that are better for the environment and are far more efficient in terms of consumption and will ultimately offer better value for money in the long term,” he said.
“Electric vehicles offer huge savings and good resale value and all conscious car investors are most interested in any car that has these two traits.
“With limited numbers coming to the UAE and a large number of vehicles being reserved in advance, electric vehicles have a considerable desirability factor.”
There were just under 5,000 registered electric vehicles and just over 8,000 hybrid ones in Dubai in 2021, according to a report from a subsidiary of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority.
The previous year there slightly more than 2,300 electric vehicles and just over 6,000 hybrid vehicles registered in the emirate.
Buy an EV that has been tested in UAE
While the second-hand market for electric vehicles is expanding in Dubai, motorists were warned to ensure they do not end up buying a car that is untested in the UAE.
“A lot of people are importing electric vehicles from China because there is a shortage of new cars being supplied,” said Adam Whitnall, chief executive of car comparison site Drive Ninja.
“The problem is that while they might be cheaper, they are untested in the UAE.
“If something goes wrong then you might not be able to get it repaired here as it will be difficult to find someone with the training and parts to fix it. You could be substantially out of pocket.”
While the Chinese electric vehicles might seem to offer value for money, they are not tested for the extreme heat in the UAE, potentially creating a huge strain on the battery.
One of the most popular electric vehicles from China is the Volkswagen ID, an imported car that will typically set you back about Dh145,000 with zero miles on the clock.
Because they come without a warranty, they are priced about Dh30,000 less than similar models in other countries.
Are EVs a drain on the pocket?
A common complaint about electric vehicles is that they cost significantly more than their petrol counterparts to repair.
But that is a fallacy, according to another expert.
“That’s simply not true. If you buy an electric vehicle here then you’ll get a lengthy warranty, often up to eight years,” said Salman Hussain, chief executive of Fuse EV Conversions.
“Even if you buy a used electric vehicle here the warranty will still be valid for the remainder of its duration.”