The Most Popular Used Electric Vehicles by State

By Julie Blackley

Tesla Model S Less Popular than Nissan LEAF for Used EV Sales

  • Tesla Model S the most popular EV in only 7 of the states with the highest share of EV sales, Nissan LEAF is the most popular in the remaining 18 - including California
  • Nationally, Tesla Model S has the second-highest share of used EV sales at 17.8%, while Nissan LEAF has the highest share at 27.7%
  • Illinois has the highest share of Tesla Model S at 33.8%, while Minnesota has the lowest at 5.2%
  • In California Tesla Model S accounts for 15.1% of used EV sales, which is below the 17.8 percent national average
The Nissan LEAF is the most popular used electric vehicle in 18 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 EV 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 25 States by iSeeCars

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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
California Nissan LEAF 21.8%
Washington Nissan LEAF 50.5%
Hawaii Nissan LEAF 61.3%
Oregon Nissan LEAF 37.0%
Arizona Nissan LEAF 22.3%
Utah Nissan LEAF 35.0%
Colorado Nissan LEAF 42.9%
Nevada Tesla Model S 28.7%
Georgia Nissan LEAF 42.0%
Maryland Nissan LEAF 26.3%
Connecticut Nissan LEAF 30.1%
Florida Tesla Model S 22.5%
Texas Tesla Model S 33.0%
Illinois Tesla Model S 33.8%
Idaho Nissan LEAF 27.5%
Massachusetts Nissan LEAF 33.0%
Minnesota Nissan LEAF 47.7%
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%
Ohio Nissan LEAF 29.6%
New Jersey Tesla Model S 28.7%
Kansas Nissan LEAF 30.3%
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%
 
Tesla is a Top 3 Used EV in these States by iSeeCars

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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 the 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 the Highest Share of Used Teslas Among States with Most Used EVs
Rank State % Tesla EV Share
1 Nebraska  57.7%
2 Texas 53.5%
3 Illinois 50.3%
4 New Jersey 50.0%
5 Virginia 47.0%
6 Nevada 39.0%
7 Florida 38.8%
8 North Carolina 37.2%
9 Georgia 34.9%
10 New York 32.1%
11 Ohio 30.7%
12 Maryland 29.6%
Overall Average 28.8%
13 Kansas 26.8%
14 Arizona 25.9%
15 Connecticut 24.9%
16 Utah 24.3%
17 Massachusetts 23.5%
18 California 23.4%
19 Colorado 20.8%
20 Idaho 15.2%
21 Washington 14.0%
22 Oregon 13.5%
23 New Mexico 13.0%
24 Hawaii 12.1%
25 Minnesota 10.1%
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. 
Top 10 Used Electric Vehicles by Market Share
Rank Model Share of Electric Overall
1 Nissan LEAF 27.7%
2 Tesla Model S 17.8%
3 Fiat 500e 9.1%
4 Chevrolet Bolt EV 8.4%
5 Volkswagen e-Golf 6.3%
6 Tesla Model 3 5.9%
7 Tesla Model X 4.9%
8 BMW i3 4.8%
9 Chevrolet Spark EV 3.9%
10 Kia Soul EV 2.1%
All Others 9.1%
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.

Methodology

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.

About iSeeCars

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.