The shift to electric cars is well underway, with sales of EVs overtaking diesel for the first time ever in December as more drivers look to make the switch. However, when buying a used car, drivers should always be aware of various scams, including odometer fraud, which can also be seen with EVs.
Electric vehicles are generally seen as being far more technologically advanced than petrol and diesel counterparts, as well as environmentally friendly.
Unfortunately, electric cars can still be clocked, as 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 percent of all vehicles in Europe have a clocked mileage.
Given that most cars average around 10,000 miles every year, changing the odometer to remove thousands of miles at a time makes the car seem far more attractive.
Digital odometers on modern cars are vulnerable and can be tampered with using a laptop and some specialised software leaving no visible evidence of interference.
Matas Buzelis, head of communications at carVertical, said: “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 of an electric car, although, generally, EVs are cheaper to maintain compared to vehicles with internal combustion engines.
“Used car sellers can get more money for their cars by tampering with mileage, therefore odometer 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.”
Most electric car manufacturers provide at least a 100,000km warranty for their batteries, although they can typically last more than 320,000km.
Odometer readings are one of the best methods of evaluating the condition of a car, especially during a standard MOT test.
Despite this, people cannot solely rely on the mileage reading because it can be fake and the battery life computer can be reset, especially with EVs.
Scammers can adjust it within minutes, meaning potential buyers must take additional precautions to ensure a car is actually worth its asking price.
It is estimated that 43.6 percent of used EVs have also been in an accident, making damages in electric cars nearly as common as in fuel cars.
CarVertical suggests that because EVs mostly serve as city commuters, 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.