The Nissan LEAF is the most popular used electric vehicle in eighteen of the 25 states with the largest share of EVs, while the Tesla Model S is the most popular in the remaining seven according to a study by car search engine iSeeCars.com.
To determine the most popular used EVs in each state, iSeeCars analyzed over 54,000 used EV sales from 2019 to 2020.
“Despite Tesla’s growth in the EV market, the Nissan LEAF is more popular among used electric vehicle buyers, comprising 27.7 percent of sales, while the Tesla Model S accounts for 17.8 percent,” said Karl Brauer, Executive Analyst at iSeeCars.com. “This is likely due to the LEAF’s affordability with a used car price of $13,054 compared to a used Tesla Model S at $48,996, as well as its brand recognition as the first mass-market EV that’s been on the market for a decade.”
Most Popular Used EV by State
Out of the 25 states with the highest share of used electric car sales, the Nissan LEAF is the most popular used EV in the top seven states, as well as 18 states overall.
|Most Popular Used EV in the Top 25 States with the Highest EV Share (iSeeCars Study)|
|State (By Total EV Share)||Most Popular Used EV||% EV Share|
|Nevada||Tesla Model S||28.7%|
|Florida||Tesla Model S||22.5%|
|Texas||Tesla Model S||33.0%|
|Illinois||Tesla Model S||33.8%|
|North Carolina||Nissan LEAF||32.9%|
|Nebraska||Tesla Model S||28.6%|
|New Mexico||Nissan LEAF||34.8%|
|Virginia||Tesla Model S||30.3%|
|New York||Nissan LEAF||23.6%|
|New Jersey||Tesla Model S||28.7%|
Despite Tesla’s popularity in the automaker’s home state of California, the Nissan LEAF is the state’s most bought used electric vehicle. “California has led the charge with green vehicle adoption driven by its Zero-Emission Vehicle (ZEV) program, which has been adopted by other states to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Brauer. “This has led to a large market and therefore more competition for electric cars in California, as seen by the fact that the state’s share of Nissan LEAFs is 21.8 percent, lower than all other states where the LEAF is the most popular used EV.”
Hawaii is the state with the highest share of used Nissan LEAFs at 61.3 percent, and it is the third-highest state for used EV sales overall. “Hawaiian utilities offer $10,000 rebates on new Nissan LEAFs, so the popularity of these vehicles among drivers extends to the used market as well,” said Brauer. “Additionally, Hawaii generally has the highest gas prices in the country, so car shoppers have the added incentive to purchase electric vehicles.”
Illinois is the state with the highest share of Tesla Model S vehicles with 33.8 percent, with Texas a close second with 33.0 percent. “Illinois doubled its gas tax in 2019 from 19 cents to 38 cents per gallon, which incentivizes drivers to purchase an EV,” said Brauer. “Dallas, Chicago, and Houston are the top three markets for used Tesla Model S sales, which contributes to the popularity of these vehicles across those states.”
Top Three Used Electric Vehicles by State
iSeeCars further analyzed the data to determine the top three used EVs in the top 25 states with the most EV sales.
|Top 3 Most Popular Used EVs in the Top 25 States with the Highest EV Share (iSeeCars Study)|
|State (A-Z)||#1 Used EV||% EV Share||#2 Used EV||% EV Share||#3 Used EV||% EV Share|
|Arizona||Nissan LEAF||22.3%||Tesla Model S||17.2%||Fiat 500e||12.0%|
|California||Nissan LEAF||21.8%||Tesla Model S||15.1%||Fiat 500e||14.1%|
|Colorado||Nissan LEAF||42.9%||Tesla Model S||12.0%||Chevrolet Bolt EV||6.4%|
|Connecticut||Nissan LEAF||30.1%||Tesla Model S||14.8%||Chevrolet Bolt EV||9.6%|
|Florida||Tesla Model S||22.5%||Nissan LEAF||18.7%||Chevrolet Bolt EV||10.7%|
|Georgia||Nissan LEAF||42.0%||Tesla Model S||21.5%||Tesla Model X||7.3%|
|Hawaii||Nissan LEAF||61.3%||BMW i3||8.8%||Tesla Model S||6.6%|
|Idaho||Nissan LEAF||27.5%||Volkswagen E-Golf||14.0%||Tesla Model S||11.2%|
|Illinois||Tesla Model S||33.8%||Nissan LEAF||21.6%||Tesla Model X||10.1%|
|Kansas||Nissan LEAF||30.3%||Tesla Model S||12.6%||Kia Soul EV||10.6%|
|Maryland||Nissan LEAF||26.3%||Tesla Model S||20.1%||Chevrolet Bolt EV||11.2%|
|Massachusetts||Nissan LEAF||33.0%||Tesla Model S||15.3%||Chevrolet Bolt EV||13.5%|
|Minnesota||Nissan LEAF||47.7%||Volkswagen E-Golf||17.2%||Chevrolet Bolt EV||12.4%|
|Nebraska||Tesla Model S||28.6%||Nissan LEAF||22.0%||Tesla Model 3||14.8%|
|Nevada||Tesla Model S||28.7%||Nissan LEAF||25.6%||BMW i3||7.1%|
|New Jersey||Tesla Model S||28.7%||Nissan LEAF||16.8%||Tesla Model X||11.2%|
|New Mexico||Nissan LEAF||34.8%||Volkswagen E-Golf||13.8%||Chevrolet Bolt EV||12.3%|
|New York||Nissan LEAF||23.6%||Tesla Model S||19.7%||Chevrolet Bolt EV||10.5%|
|North Carolina||Nissan LEAF||32.9%||Tesla Model S||21.5%||Tesla Model 3||8.6%|
|Ohio||Nissan LEAF||29.6%||Tesla Model S||19.4%||Chevrolet Bolt EV||12.6%|
|Oregon||Nissan LEAF||37.0%||Volkswagen E-Golf||12.2%||Fiat 500e||10.5%|
|Texas||Tesla Model S||33.0%||Nissan LEAF||18.7%||Tesla Model 3||11.1%|
|Utah||Nissan LEAF||35.0%||Fiat 500e||15.7%||Tesla Model S||11.6%|
|Virginia||Tesla Model S||30.3%||Nissan LEAF||28.4%||Tesla Model X||8.4%|
|Washington||Nissan LEAF||50.5%||Tesla Model S||8.9%||Chevrolet Bolt EV||6.7%|
When looking at the top three used EVs across the 25 states with the highest share of used EVs, the Nissan LEAF appears as the second-most popular used EV in every state where the Tesla Model S is the most popular. Tesla is represented in all but three states including Oregon, Minnesota, and New Mexico. “Models like the Volkswagen e-Golf and the Fiat 500e are sold in select markets, including Oregon, so there is more competition at more affordable prices in those markets for Tesla,” said Brauer.
In California, the Tesla Model S comprises 15.1 percent of used vehicle sales and narrowly beats the state’s third-ranked used EV, the Fiat 500e at 14.1 percent. “California’s relatively low percentage of used Model S sales suggests that used Model S sales might be affected by competition from new Tesla Model 3 sales due to similar pricing,” said Brauer.
Two additional Tesla models, the Model 3 and Model X, each make the list as the third most popular used EV in three states–the Tesla Model 3 in Texas, North Carolina, and Nebraska, and the Tesla Model X in Illinois, Virginia, and New Jersey. “The Tesla Model 3 and the Tesla Model X are relatively new models, so there aren’t many of them in the used car marketplace,” said Brauer. “The popularity of these vehicles in these states suggest that owners don’t keep these vehicles as long as drivers in other areas.”
States with Highest Share of Used Teslas
iSeeCars looked at the states with the highest share of used EVs to see which had the highest share of used Tesla vehicles. This includes the Tesla Model S, the Tesla Model 3, and the Tesla Model X.
|States with Highest Share of Used Teslas Among States with Most Used EVs|
|Rank||State||% Tesla EV Share|
Nebraska is the state with the highest share of used Teslas at 57.7 percent. “Nebraska is one of the six states where Tesla is not allowed to open dealerships because it violates the state law by selling directly to consumers,” said Brauer. “Rather than having to buy a Tesla online and pick it up in a neighboring state, consumers might prefer to buy a used Tesla as a way around this law.”
California falls below the overall average of 28.8 percent with Tesla only accounting for 23.4 percent of its used EV sales, and Minnesota has the lowest overall percentage of Tesla sales at 10.1 percent.
Top 10 Used Electric Vehicles
iSeeCars also analyzed which used electric vehicles overall are the most popular and found that ten electric vehicles comprise over 90 percent of the used EV market.
Ranked third behind the Nissan LEAF and the Tesla Model S is the Fiat 500e, which accounts for 9.1 percent of used EV sales. “The subcompact Fiat 500e was discontinued in the United States after the 2019 model year, and new versions were only sold in California and Oregon,” said Brauer.
The Chevrolet Bolt EV ranks fourth. “The Chevrolet Bolt was introduced in late 2016 and became widely available across the country in August 2017, so they are just starting to be widely available in the used car marketplace,” said Brauer.
Ranked fifth is the Volkswagen e-Golf, which was discontinued in the United States for the 2020 model year. “The e-Golf was sold in select markets and it did not stand out among its competitors with its range of 123 miles,” said Brauer.
The Tesla Model 3 and the Tesla Model X rank sixth and seventh respectively. “The Tesla Model 3 was first delivered in July of 2017, and as the vehicle did not begin a leasing program until 2019, there are not many used versions in the used car marketplace,” said Brauer. “The Tesla Model X began deliveries in late 2015. There aren’t many used versions available, suggesting that consumers are more likely to hang onto these vehicles.”
Rounding out the list is the eighth-ranked BMW i3, the ninth-ranked Chevrolet Spark EV, and the tenth-ranked Kia Soul EV. “The BMW i3 is more expensive than many of its competitors with an average used car price of $18,842 and it doesn’t have as long of a range as the Nissan LEAF,” said Brauer. “The Chevrolet Spark EV and the Kia Soul EV have both been discontinued, which shows that there wasn’t much demand for these cars.”
Most Popular Used EVs by Metro Area
iSeeCars determined the most popular used electric vehicle in the 50 most populous metro areas.
|Most Popular Used EV in the Top 50 Most Populous Metro Areas|
|Metro Area||#1 Used EV||% EV Share|
|Albuquerque-Santa Fe, NM||Nissan LEAF||33.0%|
|Atlanta, GA||Nissan LEAF||38.8%|
|Austin, TX||Nissan LEAF||36.4%|
|Baltimore, MD||Nissan LEAF||23.5%|
|Birmingham, AL||Nissan LEAF||27.2%|
|Boston, MA-Manchester, NH||Nissan LEAF||31.7%|
|Charlotte, NC||Nissan LEAF||26.8%|
|Chicago, IL||Tesla Model S||36.4%|
|Cincinnati, OH||Nissan LEAF||23.1%|
|Cleveland-Akron (Canton), OH||Nissan LEAF||29.3%|
|Columbus, OH||Nissan LEAF||38.1%|
|Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX||Tesla Model S||39.7%|
|Denver, CO||Nissan LEAF||43.1%|
|Detroit, MI||Nissan LEAF||21.0%|
|Fresno-Visalia, CA||Nissan LEAF||29.4%|
|Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo, MI||Nissan LEAF||34.4%|
|Greensboro-Winston Salem, NC||Nissan LEAF||37.9%|
|Greenville-Spartanburg, SC||Nissan LEAF||43.0%|
|Harrisburg-Lancaster-York, PA||Tesla Model S||20.7%|
|Hartford & New Haven, CT||Nissan LEAF||30.3%|
|Houston, TX||Tesla Model S||26.1%|
|Indianapolis, IN||Nissan LEAF||24.8%|
|Jacksonville, FL||Fiat 500e||51.2%|
|Kansas City, MO||Nissan LEAF||43.3%|
|Las Vegas, NV||Tesla Model S||29.2%|
|Los Angeles, CA||Fiat 500e||18.7%|
|Memphis, TN||Nissan LEAF||28.1%|
|Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, FL||Tesla Model S||21.2%|
|Milwaukee, WI||Nissan LEAF||34.1%|
|Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN||Nissan LEAF||47.3%|
|Nashville, TN||Nissan LEAF||34.8%|
|New York, NY||Nissan LEAF||22.0%|
|Norfolk-Portsmouth-Newport News,VA||Nissan LEAF||33.5%|
|Oklahoma City, OK||Nissan LEAF||29.5%|
|Orlando-Daytona Beach, FL||Tesla Model S||24.8%|
|Philadelphia, PA||Nissan LEAF||25.4%|
|Phoenix, AZ||Nissan LEAF||19.9%|
|Pittsburgh, PA||Nissan LEAF||32.2%|
|Portland, OR||Nissan LEAF||36.4%|
|Raleigh-Durham (Fayetteville), NC||Nissan LEAF||34.9%|
|Sacramento-Stockton-Modesto, CA||Nissan LEAF||32.3%|
|Salt Lake City, UT||Nissan LEAF||35.5%|
|San Antonio, TX||Nissan LEAF||34.7%|
|San Diego, CA||Tesla Model S||20.2%|
|San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, CA||Nissan LEAF||27.7%|
|Seattle-Tacoma, WA||Nissan LEAF||51.0%|
|St. Louis, MO||Tesla Model S||35.3%|
|Tampa-St Petersburg (Sarasota), FL||Tesla Model S||26.7%|
|Washington, DC (Hagerstown, MD)||Nissan LEAF||27.8%|
|West Palm Beach-Ft. Pierce, FL||Tesla Model S||19.4%|
The most popular used EV is the Nissan LEAF, which earns the distinction in 37 metro areas. The Tesla Model S is the most popular in 11, while the Fiat 500e is the most popular in the remaining two metro areas.
If you’re interested in buying an electric vehicle, be sure to check out our list of the Best Electric Cars.
More from iSeeCars.com:
iSeeCars.com analyzed over 54,000 used EV sales from a sample of over 24 million used car sales from 2019 to September 2020. Each EV model’s sales were calculated as a percentage of total EV sales in order to determine the top models by share. The data from the top 25 states with the greatest EV sales (as a percentage of total used car sales) was then further analyzed. Within each state, each EV model’s sales were again calculated as a percentage of state EV sales to determine the top three models by share.
iSeeCars.com is a car search engine that helps shoppers find the best car deals by providing key insights and valuable resources, like the iSeeCars VIN check reports. iSeeCars.com has saved users over $249 million so far by applying big data analytics powered by over 25 billion (and growing) data points and using proprietary algorithms to objectively analyze, score and rank millions of new cars and used cars.
This article, The Most Popular Used Electric Vehicles By State, first appeared on iSeeCars.com.