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Discussion Starter #1
Hey gang, I'm on my second 500e and loving it but the lease is about to expire. Instead of getting a new lease, would used be more economical?

While I'm quite familiar with the car, a used purchase raises a whole slew of questions:
  1. Where to purchase? I'm in SoCal. Go to a dealer? Carvana? Shift? Private party?
  2. What to inspect? I assume battery life is the big issue here.
  3. What to budget for service ? In six years of leasing, the only service I've needed were software updates and a malfunctioning seat. But those cars were new-is and well cared for by me. What should I expect if I purchase a 2015 or 2016?
Or ultimately should I stick with a lease? I'm not a do it yourselfer and have low tolerance for car repair hassles.

Thanks in advance!
 

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As of this writing (August 2019), the average retail price for off-lease 500e is:

$10,500 = under 20k miles
$9,500 = between 20k-30k miles
$8,500 = over 30k miles

Certainly it is possible to find outliers but for the average buyer who does not have the time or inclination to chase down unicorns, the numbers I’m posting represent the used market right now.

From what I have see, Carvana prices are consistently a little higher than other sellers; perhaps this is offset by the convenience of their home delivery and “test own it for 7 days” program.

www.four17auto.com has competitive prices and always stocks nice looking cars.

From a lease perspective, this site keeps track of the best current offers: https://ev-vin.blogspot.com/. The best advertised 500e lease (pre-negotiation) is from Tonkin Fiat in Portland, Oregon with a total cost of $6,805 over 3 years (effective monthly $189.03).

Which do you prefer?
 

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I purchased from Carvana and they do give a week to inspect the vehicle. One thing about Carvana is they don't actually follow their inspection 100%. I received my vehicle with below factory tire pressures and the wiper blades needed replacing; these things are clearly stated on their to-do inspection list. There were also a few more paint dings than shown on the website.

As for #2 What to inspect- If I had to buy another used electric car, I would use an OBD2 reader to inspect the high voltage battery. Ironhydroxide started a thread about it at https://www.fiat500owners.com/threads/full-amph-capacity-soh-soh-r-soh-c.147779/

You can determine if the HV battery has problems by comparing values to the chart at: https://goo.gl/JLbRbn

I used this cheap OBD2 reader to run the tests: KONNWEI KW902 Mini ELM327

There are also 12V battery testers you can buy that will load-test the 12V battery and determine it's life remaining and whether it needs replacement. You can search for these on Amazon by typing "Bluetooth Car Diagnostic Battery System Tester".

One other thing you can do is enter the VIN at https://www.nhtsa.gov/recalls to check for any open recalls. If you have to take it in then you might as well have them inspect it for whatever fee they charge.
 

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23k miles on my 2013, & zero dollars maintenance so far (besides tires) although I'm a bit overdue for a new cabin air filter.

Before I forget the really important stuff:
  • When you plug in to test that it charges, from the stock unit, check for cracks in the orange socket. Good idea to test L2 charging also.
  • Try to get one with 2 keys, since they cost a LOT to replace.
  • Check for cracked armrest(s), if you even care (mine usually only feels "in the way")
I have the same OBD2 reader as Salty Peanuts, & it seems to work fine to get the HV battery readings with the free demo version of the AlfaOBD app. I have two major issues with that process:

1) I have still never seen any report of battery degradation causing range loss that's as significant as a couple mph headwind, which may be the true cause of the apparent "range loss", so it would appear that battery life is NOT a big issue, especially considering that batt cost is still dropping pretty fast.

2) OBD doesn't seem to actually show HV battery problems! Reported data shows cars still have the highest full AmpH capacity after 34k miles, & 100% SOH after over 40k mi. ELEVEN cars all with exactly 99.61 SOH-C is almost as suspicious as TWENTY-FOUR with exactly 99.61 SOH-R, especially since the latter range from 8k to over 47k mi.

Apparently batt % readings are inaccurate unless the car has been recently cycled a couple of times from 100 to zero, such as by driving around the block/parking lot & then cranking heat by the charger, which of course nearly nobody does, so maybe nearly none of these readings is really accurate.

I uploaded my own OBD data there when I got my reader 2 days ago, & I'm currently scouring the data pool for anything resembling a trend.
 

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There have been plenty of reports of degradation effecting range on some of the facebook groups. I'm sure there have been some here too. Some of these are batteries that have likely been abused (stored at low discharge for extended periods during shipping overseas). While there certainly have been some batteries that have held up well, there are also some that have not fared so well. So I think someone in the used car market would be wise to check the battery SOH.

Regarding the 99.61 values for SOH-C, From what I can tell, some of those are from cars that were checked after recently having the U69 campaign done. The U69 seems to reset the historical data back to baseline. One person reported after several charge cycles, the SOH-C started to return to the pre U69 values.

Same is true for the SOH-R. However, the SOH-R is measuring the resistance of the pack, so it is a more straightforward measurement and doesn't depend on charging behavior (depth of discharge, peak charge etc.). I suspect it also is more indicative of a sick pack/cell going bad. So the SOH-R should be accurate almost immediately after the U69.

How they calculate the overall SOH is something I don't fully understand.

If I were shopping for a used 500e again, I'd be looking for a 2016 with close to a year warranty left with a SOH-R of 99+ and a full Ah capacity of over 60. This should correspond to an overall SOH of 100%.

Hope this helps.
 

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One thing to consider is talking with the dealer who'll be receiving your 500e. As you know, the residual is higher than the selling price of a 3 yo car. I think Fiat takes the car back into inventory for resale, but the dealer might be able to help you buy your old car back. (You know its history and, as you said, you treat the car gently.)

For myself, if I was considering a lease, I'd check out possibilities of waiting a year or two. The 2020 is supposed to be a better model. The 500e is the only car I've ever considered practical to lease.
 

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Ya, a 500e lease is often a no-brainer, with overall cost less than you'd normally spend just on gas. In fact payments on a used purchase are also often that low too. At least one forum member returning a lease reported that the dealer's first response was "no", but finally agreed to sell it at a competitive price. My friend was considering doing that & I told her "When they say 'no', tell them 'Okay, I'll just wait until I see it up for sale at another dealer & buy it from them!' "
 

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I HAVE seen a few "range loss" reports here, but like I wrote above, none were any more significant than a few mph of headwind, or driving a few mph faster, which some of my own friends gradually started to do after realizing they don't really need over 30 miles of range left when they pull into the garage for the night.

As for loss from storage at low SOC, the reported data shows "SOH: 100% " for the car with the 3rd-longest time at 0-20% SOC, & 99.61% for the 2nd-longest. Even the one left the very longest at 0-20% shows 88%, while others with one fifth as much time at low SOC show as low as 14% SOH.

I'm not saying there's NO degradation, in fact there should be some. That's why it seems inaccurate that after over 30,000 miles, the readout shows "SOH: 100%" & "SOH-R: 99.6%" on a full 12% or more of the cars reporting at https://goo.gl/JLbRbn

That may simply be due to requiring one or more cycles from 100% to ZERO in order to get accurate readings, although I too thought SOH-R shouldn't require that. Note that Carvana's 7-day test drive would allow cycling to zero prior to testing.

Regarding the 99.61 values for SOH-C shown for more than 18% of cars reporting, my own car also shows exactly that, after U69 & then 390 miles & over 10 charge-discharge cycles, although only one to 100%, & only one below 30 (29%). So it doesn't seem like U69 is to blame for those seemingly inaccurate readings.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks everyone. These replies are incredibly helpful

Is anyone familiar with how a used purchase works in terms of California HOV stickers? Did the stickers stay with the car? Or can you get new ones?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
23k miles on my 2013, & zero dollars maintenance so far (besides tires) although I'm a bit overdue for a new cabin air filter.

Before I forget the really important stuff:
  • When you plug in to test that it charges, from the stock unit, check for cracks in the orange socket. Good idea to test L2 charging also.
  • Try to get one with 2 keys, since they cost a LOT to replace.
  • Check for cracked armrest(s), if you even care (mine usually only feels "in the way")
I have the same OBD2 reader as Salty Peanuts, & it seems to work fine to get the HV battery readings with the free demo version of the AlfaOBD app. I have two major issues with that process:

1) I have still never seen any report of battery degradation causing range loss that's as significant as a couple mph headwind, which may be the true cause of the apparent "range loss", so it would appear that battery life is NOT a big issue, especially considering that batt cost is still dropping pretty fast.

2) OBD doesn't seem to actually show HV battery problems! Reported data shows cars still have the highest full AmpH capacity after 34k miles, & 100% SOH after over 40k mi. ELEVEN cars all with exactly 99.61 SOH-C is almost as suspicious as TWENTY-FOUR with exactly 99.61 SOH-R, especially since the latter range from 8k to over 47k mi.

Apparently batt % readings are inaccurate unless the car has been recently cycled a couple of times from 100 to zero, such as by driving around the block/parking lot & then cranking heat by the charger, which of course nearly nobody does, so maybe nearly none of these readings is really accurate.

I uploaded my own OBD data there when I got my reader 2 days ago, & I'm currently scouring the data pool for anything resembling a trend.
Thanks so are you saying that it baxuallt
23k miles on my 2013, & zero dollars maintenance so far (besides tires) although I'm a bit overdue for a new cabin air filter.

Before I forget the really important stuff:
  • When you plug in to test that it charges, from the stock unit, check for cracks in the orange socket. Good idea to test L2 charging also.
  • Try to get one with 2 keys, since they cost a LOT to replace.
  • Check for cracked armrest(s), if you even care (mine usually only feels "in the way")
I have the same OBD2 reader as Salty Peanuts, & it seems to work fine to get the HV battery readings with the free demo version of the AlfaOBD app. I have two major issues with that process:

1) I have still never seen any report of battery degradation causing range loss that's as significant as a couple mph headwind, which may be the true cause of the apparent "range loss", so it would appear that battery life is NOT a big issue, especially considering that batt cost is still dropping pretty fast.

2) OBD doesn't seem to actually show HV battery problems! Reported data shows cars still have the highest full AmpH capacity after 34k miles, & 100% SOH after over 40k mi. ELEVEN cars all with exactly 99.61 SOH-C is almost as suspicious as TWENTY-FOUR with exactly 99.61 SOH-R, especially since the latter range from 8k to over 47k mi.

Apparently batt % readings are inaccurate unless the car has been recently cycled a couple of times from 100 to zero, such as by driving around the block/parking lot & then cranking heat by the charger, which of course nearly nobody does, so maybe nearly none of these readings is really accurate.

I uploaded my own OBD data there when I got my reader 2 days ago, & I'm currently scouring the data pool for anything resembling a trend.
Interesting, so are you basically saying it’s not worth doing the battery analysis?
In terms of judging battery capacity would i be better off testing the car out for a few days, charging, driving etc.?
 

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It is totally worth doing a battery analysis. One member of one of the facebook groups recently had her battery replaced under warranty. She bought her car through Carvana. She didn't test her battery. She loved the car, but complained about the acceleration at higher speeds. That struck me as odd, since I thought my car actually has better acceleration at higher speeds than I was expecting. A few months later, her battery died and she had to have it replaced. With the new battery she notes that the acceleration at higher speeds is significantly improved.

If she had tested the battery during the 7 day trial, she likely would have seen that the SOH-R was not good and known to send the car back for another one to avoid not being without her car for several months.

Checking the battery is so easy to do, I'm not sure why you wouldn't. AlfaOBD provides a ton of info and you can check how well balanced the pack is checking the individual cell voltages (a cell being way off is another indicator you will have problems). Sure the exact value of the SOH-C maybe off a bit, but it should give you at least an indication of there is something wrong.

Use the tools readily available to make a smart decision.

Your other option as you mentioned originally, is you can lease a new one if you don't want to worry about any of this. Or see if you can buy your lease return. At the very least, test the battery on your car if you haven't already returned it so you have a data point from a vehicle you know.
 

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Thanks to Salty Peanuts & Kiesling, for motivating me to finally check the reported battery data.

The data appears to show that either our batteries are extremely resistant to severe (ab)use, or it's absolutely required to cycle to zero to get accurate SOH numbers, because some of the reporting cars with the most severe (ab)use readings still have very good-looking SOH numbers. For example:

  • 99.61% SOH-R on the car left the longest at the lowest SOC (zero-to-20%, it's also the longest below 30%)
  • 100% SOH on the car left the longest at the highest SOC (80-100%)
  • 100% SOH & 99.61% SOH-R on 2 of the 3 cars with the most minutes of high current (regen & acceleration)
  • 100% SOH & 99.61% SOH-R on the car left the longest at very high temperature (40-50C, it's also the longest at 30-40C)
  • Highest Full AmpH Capacity readings (66.7 to 64.9) on:
1) A car with a long time at the lowest SOC, & at 20-30%
2) Two cars with long times at 80-100% SOC
3) A car with long times at high current (regen & accelleration)


There is absolutely no correlation between any reported SOH or AmpH Capacity & ANY of the other reported data. It should degrade at least a bit, but does not SHOW any trend of degradation with age, mileage, time spent at low or high % SOC, or time spent at high current or temperature. This seems to indicate that cycling to zero is required to get accurate numbers.

Ideally you would want to do the 7-day test drive, record the OBD readings initially, & then each time after cycling from 100 to zero, & after cycling back again. It may take a few cycles to make the numbers become accurate, but it may only take one, so there's no sense wasting time without checking it after each cycle.
 

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check how well balanced the pack is checking the individual cell voltages (a cell being way off is another indicator you will have problems).
That may be one of the best ideas yet, but you should also check it after charging all the way until it stops, since that's required to activate the balancing process. Checking before & after may give you an indication of how long it's been since it was balanced, although typically people (especially dealers) will always charge all the way.
 

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I bought my used 500E (totally happy with it) from a 'Dealer" in Van Nuys. The guy was very nice. When I say dealer, its because he buys the cars at auction and then sells them. I think he does have a lot, but probably not what you would expect. Low overhead. I bought my car sight unseen over the internet. It was chaper by about $1000 for me to buy from him and ship to Portland Oregon. I wanted to buy local, but not that bad. I looked online for about a month before I knew what I wanted. You have to decide what color and if you want the sport package or not. Then you have to decide how much the miles on the odometer mean to you. Google VCBAuto, call the guy (Vinny). He will talk to you and I believe he is a straight shooter. When I bought my car, he took it to the dealer for a recall or at least to verify if it had any recalls (I don't remember which) and it had a broken hubcap part on one of the wheels. He had it replaced for me. As for the dealer here in Portland what I learned is that all lease returns are actually owned by Chrysler, and they decide where they go for resale. Seems stupid to me, but maybe I just don't understand. It makes it impossible to buy a just returned leased car because the local dealer does not own it. FYI, I bought a 2016 Fiat 500e Granito Lucente (dark gray) with less than 10K miles for less than 10K. I got lucky. I am a very happy and satisfied customer except for Fiat being stupid and turning off the Uconnect (?) so I can't precondition my car along with the other fancy stuff on the mobile app.
 

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I've bought a 2013 with sunroof with 30,000 on it at the beginning of this year for $5,600 using Cargurus. Drove from Vegas to Burbank to pick it up with a trailer. Runs great. Did not have a battery test, figuring if it was going to go bad it would have. I do a LOT of highway driving, about 50 miles a day at about 75MPH, and it chews up about 70-75% of the charge. Which would effectively give me about a 60 mile range, but I have noticed when I do drive surface streets or slower, ie 35-55, I am getting about 1 miler per percent. And at $25 a month for electricity it is about 1/10 of my gas bill (Tundra).
 

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Yep, TK421, increased speed = increased wind resistance will bring the range down dramatically. It is not a linear relationship either. Doubling your speed increased wind drag by 4X. One day I was driving on major highways where the bulk of the time I was going 55-60mph. I achieved around 80 mile range. Then one day the bulk of my driving was 30-45 mph and I achieved 96 miles range. I imagine that at 75 mph like you were driving, a 60 mile range sounds plausible.
 

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Yep, TK421, increased speed = increased wind resistance will bring the range down dramatically. It is not a linear relationship either. Doubling your speed increased wind drag by 4X. One day I was driving on major highways where the bulk of the time I was going 55-60mph. I achieved around 80 mile range. Then one day the bulk of my driving was 30-45 mph and I achieved 96 miles range. I imagine that at 75 mph like you were driving, a 60 mile range sounds plausible.
No doubt. When I need extra range I just drive "slower" lol
I've had a couple of essentially 0% limp homes where I putted home the last couple of miles at about 20 mph. But I made it. No issue for me. Once you know how the car performs you can modify driving to get the range you need. Within reason lol The car works for what I need it though, a daily commuter.
 

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I am at almost 90K miles on my 2013 500e, perhaps I am just lucky but I still get close to an indicated 100 miles of range after charging. I do not baby it, I commute at 70-75 mph daily, charge overnite on L1 and at work on L2 every workday. I have run it to an indicated 0% range a lot of times, and run it totally "dry" on 3 occasions. I also have bigger wheels and tires, so I am stressing the batteries even more than stock. By all common sense I should have seen a LOT of range degredation, but I have seen only a slight amount. Go figure....
 
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