One important factor in the poor resale value of the Volt is market conditions. While the hype around electric vehicles dominates online discourse, statistics show that hybrid-electric vehicles (HEVs) far outnumber their plug-in-electric (PEV) and plug-in-hybrid (PHEV) compatriots, and it’s not a trend that’s slowing down either. According to The Bureau of Transportation Statistics, in 2021 there were almost twice as many HEVs sold than PEVs, which outsold PHEVs by a wide margin.
Variety, not curiosity, killed the cat. According to a report by EVAdoption [PDF], in 2020 there were only 55 PEV or PHEV models to choose from, which rose to 80 in 2021, and was projected to rise to 165 by 2025 — a marked increase in consumer choice when it comes to both PHEVs and BEVs. With new EVs like the Chevrolet Bolt EV starting at $25,600, it’s easy to see why nobody wants to pay very much for a used PHEV. After all, PHEVs represent the worst of both worlds — they suffer typical EV battery degradation, limited electric range, and increased weight, combined with the added complexity and cost of an internal combustion engine.
As PEVs are commoditized, there’s little motivation to buy a used PHEV unless the price is low, which is bound to push the Volt’s price down. Combine the changes in the market and consumer attitude with the already-low demand for the Volt, and you have a perfect recipe for severe vehicle depreciation.