(iSeeCars) – 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
CaliforniaNissan LEAF21.8%
WashingtonNissan LEAF50.5%
HawaiiNissan LEAF61.3%
OregonNissan LEAF37.0%
ArizonaNissan LEAF22.3%
UtahNissan LEAF35.0%
ColoradoNissan LEAF42.9%
NevadaTesla Model S28.7%
GeorgiaNissan LEAF42.0%
MarylandNissan LEAF26.3%
ConnecticutNissan LEAF30.1%
FloridaTesla Model S22.5%
TexasTesla Model S33.0%
IllinoisTesla Model S33.8%
IdahoNissan LEAF27.5%
MassachusettsNissan LEAF33.0%
MinnesotaNissan LEAF47.7%
North CarolinaNissan LEAF32.9%
NebraskaTesla Model S28.6%
New MexicoNissan LEAF34.8%
VirginiaTesla Model S30.3%
New YorkNissan LEAF23.6%
OhioNissan LEAF29.6%
New JerseyTesla Model S28.7%
KansasNissan LEAF30.3%

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
ArizonaNissan LEAF22.3%Tesla Model S17.2%Fiat 500e12.0%
CaliforniaNissan LEAF21.8%Tesla Model S15.1%Fiat 500e14.1%
ColoradoNissan LEAF42.9%Tesla Model S12.0%Chevrolet Bolt EV6.4%
ConnecticutNissan LEAF30.1%Tesla Model S14.8%Chevrolet Bolt EV9.6%
FloridaTesla Model S22.5%Nissan LEAF18.7%Chevrolet Bolt EV10.7%
GeorgiaNissan LEAF42.0%Tesla Model S21.5%Tesla Model X7.3%
HawaiiNissan LEAF61.3%BMW i38.8%Tesla Model S6.6%
IdahoNissan LEAF27.5%Volkswagen E-Golf14.0%Tesla Model S11.2%
IllinoisTesla Model S33.8%Nissan LEAF21.6%Tesla Model X10.1%
KansasNissan LEAF30.3%Tesla Model S12.6%Kia Soul EV10.6%
MarylandNissan LEAF26.3%Tesla Model S20.1%Chevrolet Bolt EV11.2%
MassachusettsNissan LEAF33.0%Tesla Model S15.3%Chevrolet Bolt EV13.5%
MinnesotaNissan LEAF47.7%Volkswagen E-Golf17.2%Chevrolet Bolt EV12.4%
NebraskaTesla Model S28.6%Nissan LEAF22.0%Tesla Model 314.8%
NevadaTesla Model S28.7%Nissan LEAF25.6%BMW i37.1%
New JerseyTesla Model S28.7%Nissan LEAF16.8%Tesla Model X11.2%
New MexicoNissan LEAF34.8%Volkswagen E-Golf13.8%Chevrolet Bolt EV12.3%
New YorkNissan LEAF23.6%Tesla Model S19.7%Chevrolet Bolt EV10.5%
North CarolinaNissan LEAF32.9%Tesla Model S21.5%Tesla Model 38.6%
OhioNissan LEAF29.6%Tesla Model S19.4%Chevrolet Bolt EV12.6%
OregonNissan LEAF37.0%Volkswagen E-Golf12.2%Fiat 500e10.5%
TexasTesla Model S33.0%Nissan LEAF18.7%Tesla Model 311.1%
UtahNissan LEAF35.0%Fiat 500e15.7%Tesla Model S11.6%
VirginiaTesla Model S30.3%Nissan LEAF28.4%Tesla Model X8.4%
WashingtonNissan LEAF50.5%Tesla Model S8.9%Chevrolet Bolt EV6.7%

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
RankState% Tesla EV Share
1Nebraska 57.7%
4New Jersey50.0%
8North Carolina37.2%
10New York32.1%
Overall Average28.8%
23New Mexico13.0%

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
RankModelShare of Electric Overall
1Nissan LEAF27.7%
2Tesla Model S17.8%
3Fiat 500e9.1%
4Chevrolet Bolt EV8.4%
5Volkswagen e-Golf6.3%
6Tesla Model 35.9%
7Tesla Model X4.9%
8BMW i34.8%
9Chevrolet Spark EV3.9%
10Kia Soul EV2.1%
All Others9.1%

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, NMNissan LEAF33.0%
Atlanta, GANissan LEAF38.8%
Austin, TXNissan LEAF36.4%
Baltimore, MDNissan LEAF23.5%
Birmingham, ALNissan LEAF27.2%
Boston, MA-Manchester, NHNissan LEAF31.7%
Charlotte, NCNissan LEAF26.8%
Chicago, ILTesla Model S36.4%
Cincinnati, OHNissan LEAF23.1%
Cleveland-Akron (Canton), OHNissan LEAF29.3%
Columbus, OHNissan LEAF38.1%
Dallas-Ft. Worth, TXTesla Model S39.7%
Denver, CONissan LEAF43.1%
Detroit, MINissan LEAF21.0%
Fresno-Visalia, CANissan LEAF29.4%
Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo, MINissan LEAF34.4%
Greensboro-Winston Salem, NCNissan LEAF37.9%
Greenville-Spartanburg, SCNissan LEAF43.0%
Harrisburg-Lancaster-York, PATesla Model S20.7%
Hartford & New Haven, CTNissan LEAF30.3%
Houston, TXTesla Model S26.1%
Indianapolis, INNissan LEAF24.8%
Jacksonville, FLFiat 500e51.2%
Kansas City, MONissan LEAF43.3%
Las Vegas, NVTesla Model S29.2%
Los Angeles, CAFiat 500e18.7%
Memphis, TNNissan LEAF28.1%
Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, FLTesla Model S21.2%
Milwaukee, WINissan LEAF34.1%
Minneapolis-St. Paul, MNNissan LEAF47.3%
Nashville, TNNissan LEAF34.8%
New York, NYNissan LEAF22.0%
Norfolk-Portsmouth-Newport News,VANissan LEAF33.5%
Oklahoma City, OKNissan LEAF29.5%
Orlando-Daytona Beach, FLTesla Model S24.8%
Philadelphia, PANissan LEAF25.4%
Phoenix, AZNissan LEAF19.9%
Pittsburgh, PANissan LEAF32.2%
Portland, ORNissan LEAF36.4%
Raleigh-Durham (Fayetteville), NCNissan LEAF34.9%
Sacramento-Stockton-Modesto, CANissan LEAF32.3%
Salt Lake City, UTNissan LEAF35.5%
San Antonio, TXNissan LEAF34.7%
San Diego, CATesla Model S20.2%
San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, CANissan LEAF27.7%
Seattle-Tacoma, WANissan LEAF51.0%
St. Louis, MOTesla Model S35.3%
Tampa-St Petersburg (Sarasota), FLTesla Model S26.7%
Washington, DC (Hagerstown, MD)Nissan LEAF27.8%
West Palm Beach-Ft. Pierce, FLTesla Model S19.4%

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.

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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 free VIN check and Best Cars rankings. iSeeCars.com has saved users over $325 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.