CALLS for used electric commercial vehicls to be benchmark-tested before auction could have an impact on hybrid car remarketing.
CAP has called for batteries to be tested, due to the natural reduction in charge-holding over a battery’s lifespan.
This impacts retained values. As there is no way for owners to know how much charge a battery will retain, potential buyers will seek to minimise risk.
It’s a bit like a fuel gauge that says ‘full’ even when the tank’s half empty. And, while it’s CAP’s Red Book commercial team that pointed out the problem, it’s one that could begin to affect hybrid petrol-electric cars as they both age and start to become more commonplace.
Ken Brown, valuation manager for CAP Red Book, said the problem is compounded by the cost of replacement batteries. They ‘can cost several times what you paid’ for the vehicle in the first place. Of real significance as the first Toyota Prius approach a decade in age.
Now Brown is calling for an independently verified method of determining true battery capacity at disposal time, to instil confidence for funders and buyers in used markets.
‘This would also enable us to set more accurate residual values which would help manufacturers, leasing companies and traders in the used markets alike.’
It would help CAP manage increasing retained value request from contract hire and leasing companies. Customer demand is driving this.
‘Clearly, these ultra-clean vehicles have an important role to play, as emissions increasingly dominate the taxation agenda, and cities introduce measures to control CO2 and other emissions with bans and tolls.
‘Establishing a benchmark is essential to creating confidence in this area of the market. Realistically, nobody would expect a five year old battery to have 100 per cent of its original capacity.
‘But if it can be established that the norm is, say, 85 per cent, then that could form the basis of CAP’s standard condition criteria for electrically powered vehicles.’
How long will it be before every Toyota Prius heading through auction is armed with a battery test validation sheet?