There is a shortage of gasoline in Ukraine, so Iʼm thinking about switching to electric cars. Can I drive it from abroad? Does it make sense to buy a used car? We answer together with WEST AUTO HUB

Serhii Pyvovarov
There is a shortage of gasoline in Ukraine, so Iʼm thinking about switching to electric cars. Can I drive it from abroad? Does it make sense to buy a used car? We answer together with WEST AUTO HUB

Kateryna Bandus / «Бабель»

With the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion, one of the problems for Ukraine is the shortage of fuel. The government promises to resolve this issue in the near future. But due to constant queues at gas stations and price fluctuations, some Ukrainians are thinking about switching to electric cars. Babel and West Auto Hub answer the main questions about the electric car — can it be bought now in Ukraine or driven from abroad, how and where to charge it, how much the charge will last and what to look for when buying a used electric car (spoiler: not for mileage, but for battery condition).

Letʼs start with the key thing. Can I buy a new or used electric car in Ukraine now?

Yes, today in Ukraine, according to Auto.Ria, new electric cars that are available. On the same resource, there are more than a thousand proposals for used electric cars.

According to data for 2021, the most popular electric car on Ukrainian roads remained the Nissan Leaf. It was followed by Tesla Model 3 and Chevrolet Bolt. The three of these manufacturers accounted for more than half of the countryʼs electric car market. Tesla Model S and Renault Zoe closed the top five.

What about driving the car from abroad?

Yes, the procedure for importing cars remains the same as it was. Now it has even been simplified a bit. As of April 5, Ukraine has a law on temporary "zero customs clearance", ie the abolition of customs duties, VAT and excise tax on the import of cars from abroad. You can read more about the import of cars, the necessary documents, and other details of the new procedure here.

However, if this is your first car from abroad, it is better to contact companies that provide transport import services. Specialists will take on logistical and bureaucratic issues.

Didnʼt the car registration procedure change during the war?

Yes, minimal changes have taken place in the Service Centers. If earlier it was possible to use the electronic queue on the site, today a live queue in the Service Center is the only option. The procedure for changing the owner of the car — re-registration — has also changed. Now the presence of both the buyer and the seller is required in the Service Center. Also, the SC website isnʼt working yet, so you canʼt choose a license plate. The rest of the details and nuances of the car registration can be found here.

Does it make sense to buy used electric cars? What to pay attention to first?

Of course, it makes sense to buy used cars, including electric ones. But there are nuances. If you buy a regular used car, you should first pay attention to mileage — the greater it is, the more significant may be the wear of the engine. The main task when buying a used electric car is to choose a car with the least worn battery. If the battery capacity has dropped, you wonʼt get far on one charge even in the city.

The battery is one of the most expensive parts in an electric car. The cost of a new one starts from $5 thousand, and of used one — from $1.5 thousand.

Electric car batteries age even when they are not in use. Therefore, low mileage in electric vehicles isnʼt always an indicator of battery status. Also try to find out the history of the used electric car. Some cars may come after an accident, including after falling into the water — pay special attention to "sinkers" because the battery and other electrical equipment suffers here the most.

The best way to evaluate the traction battery of an electric car is to use a special computer program. The application for the most common such car in Ukraine — Nissan Leaf is called LeafSpy and is easy to use even for amateurs. It allows you to "peek" into the depths of the battery from your phone or laptop, displays the remaining battery life, and can determine the status of each of the 96 segments of the battery.

It should also be remembered that the electric car is still a car. And it, like its gasoline and diesel relatives, has mechanical components and units that wear out and need repair. Therefore, when buying a used electric car, donʼt forget to check the chassis, transmission, brakes, steering, etc.

How long can I travel on one charge? Is this a car only for city trips?

The electric car, first of all, will be more suitable for everyday city bustle with regular trips in the "office — shopping — gym — school" mode. The Nissan Leaf, already popular among Ukrainian drivers, is quite suitable for such purposes. Up to 120 kilometers can be traveled on a single charge. It takes 8 hours to fully charge the batteries with regular voltage, and about 30 minutes in fast charging mode. For trips out of town and long distances, you need to look at other cars, which will be more expensive.

Here is a comparative table of parameters of the five most popular electric cars in Ukraine:


Can I charge an electric car from a regular outlet? And if not at home, then where else?

Yes, you can charge the electric car at home — from a standard 220-volt outlet. To do this, use a special cable that usually comes with the car. The main disadvantage of charging from the outlet — it will take at least three times more time than charging at a special station.

For those who live in a private house or have an electrified garage, the best option is a home charging station. This is a compact device that mounts to the wall and allows you to quickly and safely charge the battery of the electric car.

If you live in an apartment and not on the ground floor, there are several options. The first is to find a permanent parking space that can be equipped with 380- or 220-volt charging. As the number of electric cars grows, more and more parking lots allow charging.

The second option is to find the nearest charging station already installed. Their number is also constantly growing, shopping centers and parking lots are often equipped with them. In addition, there are already networks of such stations throughout Ukraine with convenient applications and maps that will show the nearest charging point.

And the third is to pull the cable. But this is still a headache, because the length of a standard factory cable for long distances is definitely not enough. And you need an additional metal switchboard, which will be an outlet, and donʼt forget about grounding. In addition, you will have to choose the optimal parking space — as close to your home as possible.

How much cheaper is this than buying fuel? And how much does the maintenance cost?

Letʼs start with the fact that charging an electric car, even at home, is really much cheaper than refueling it with gasoline. Letʼs look at an example. It takes at least 25 kW to charge a fully discharged electric car battery, which will last for about 150 kilometers. Currently, the tariff for the population is 1.44 hryvnias per kWh. And if you connect the car to the network in the period from 11 pm to 7 am, the rate is twice lower.

In fact, now it is not even the price of constantly fluctuating fuel that is a problem, but its availability. This cannot be said about electricity, then the issue of refueling disappears by itself. In addition to it, you donʼt need to stand in line for half a day.

As for the maintenance of the electric car, the main and most expensive element that requires constant monitoring is the traction battery. Its service life with proper usage averages about 10 years.

However, the cost of servicing an electric car is reduced due to the lack of a large number of engine parts that wear out quickly. These are pistons, rings, chains or timing belts, etc. You can also save on fuel and oil filters, which need to be changed periodically.

If we talk about the maintenance of the chassis, it is no different from a similar process for gasoline or diesel cars. Since electric cars are often created on the basis of gasoline cars, you can use their spare parts to repair the chassis. For example, components suitable for the Nissan Leaf can be found in its gasoline relative Nissan Juke. So if you have experience repairing a chassis with an internal combustion engine, then there should be no problems with repairing the chassis of an electric car.

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