By the end of this year, one used electric vehicle (EV) will be sold every single minute in the United States. That’s right, every sixty seconds, the keys to a pre-loved EV will be put into the hands of a consumer. This not only takes one less gas-guzzling car off the road but avoids the materials, emissions, and mineral extraction of making another EV.
That stat is the word from Recurrent, a Seattle-based startup specializing in EV industry analytics and insight. According to the startup’s 2024 QI report, this increase means the American used EV market is increasing in sales volume by roughly 100% since 2022 and by 40% since 2023. To keep up with all this demand, used car retailers need to understand what it means for a used EV to be in excellent condition.
“The auto industry needs a common currency for understanding and comparing used EV batteries, like the odometer was for used combustion vehicles,” Scott Case, the co-founder and CEO of Recurrent said via GeekWire.
With an oversubscribed $16 million Series A financing round, Recurrent wants to become that “common currency,” and with customers such as Edmunds.com and Cars.com and investors such as round-leader ArcTern Ventures, Automotive Ventures, Goodyear Ventures, Wireframe Ventures, and Pioneer Square Labs its well on the road to its goal.
So what is the currency? For Recurrent, it's a battery health score, that looks at factors such as range, how well it holds its power, and how it's affected by weather and temperature. These facts are free to consumers, and Reccurents paying customers include dealerships – both traditional and online dealers — and vehicle auctioneers.
With a total of $19 million in funding, skyrocketing momentum in the used EV market, and the decreasing cost of EVs — especially used — this is just the beginning for the company.
“Our market indicators suggest that we are at the start of an inflection point for used electric cars in the U.S.,” Case said in a statement. “Shoppers no longer need to choose between range and affordability. A used EV shopper can drive home in a Tesla for less than $25,000.”
Typically Tesla’s range from $42,990 to $119,990, depending on the model, and used EVs can be a lot cheaper, knocking off several thousand dollars. But what is cutting that cost even further, to nearly half of the new car sticker price, are rebates. And those rebates from 2022’s Inflation Reduction Act just got better, with a four grand tax credit added to used EVs under $25,000 earlier this month.
Recurrent has an awesome guide on how this specific rebate works, but a key point of it is that a lot of mid and longer-range used EVs are newly eligible on top of the hybrids and lower-range models from previous years. These newly added EVs include the 2017-2020 Chevy Bolt, the 2019 - 2020 Hyundai Ioniq, and the 2019 or 2020 Hyundai Kona EV just to name a few, all of which can be found at or right under the cut-off price.
The rebates and the increase in the range are the two biggest factors Recurrent attributes to the surge in used EV sales.
“Used EV value is unequivocally driven by a vehicle’s range and battery,” Ian Pinnington, partner at ArcTern Ventures said via the startup’s funding announcement.
“ArcTern conducted extensive primary research to develop the high conviction that Recurent’s data-driven solution is not only the right approach but is in a standalone market-leading position,” he added. ‘As Recurrent continues to become a standard in the used EV ecosystem, we believe the company will inform all used EV transactions.”
However, despite the market accelerants, everything isn’t all roses — or rather, new tires and shiny paint jobs. The rebates are dependent on dealerships registering.
While the auto industry as a whole is preparing for the EV transition, and over 7,000 dealerships have registered their company with the Department of Treasury, Recurrent reports only “7% of the roughly 200 dealerships contacted in December 2023 confirmed that they had taken steps to participate.”
“As a used EV shopper, you definitely want to get this $4000 discount, but the rules aren’t straightforward – which dealers, which vehicles and which buyers qualify,” said Case.
Because these rebates can be confusing, Recurrent has created a free tool to help shoppers determine if their dream used emissions-free car is eligible. The startup also invites you to send general questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Nobody grew up learning how to take care of an EV from their parents or grandparents like we all did for combustion engine cars,” Case said via GeekWire. “So for people that are transitioning and getting their first EV, there’s some learning curve and we’re helping new owners.”