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Getting used to hybrid and electric cars hasn’t been easy. The technology is cool, the performance is inspiring, and the emissions benefits are necessary. However, there are still some complications with the practical side of this new technology. Recently, a family in Florida was shocked to learn that the battery in their used 2014 Ford Focus Electric was more expensive to replace than they paid for the car. 

The Ford Focus electric badge up close
The Ford Focus electric | David Cooper/Toronto Star via Getty Images

How much do replacement EV batteries cost? 

A lot. According to CarScoops, the Ford Focus Electric cost the family $11,000. The car was going to a very excited 17-year-old Avery Siwinski. 

“It was fine at first,” Siwinski told KVUE News, an ABC affiliate. “I loved it so much. It was small and quiet and cute. And all of a sudden, it stopped working.” 

After only 60,000 miles, the 2014 Ford Focus Electric’s dash lit up like Christmas. Shortly after that, it died altogether. At this point, Siwinski’s granddad stepped in to help. 

“Turns out, this is a pretty common problem for this particular car,” he said. “The Ford dealership had advised us that we could replace the battery. It would only cost $14,000.” 

The worst part about this news was that the $14,000 was only for the parts; this didn’t include installation labor. 

What does it mean if a car is totaled? 

A car is totaled when the repairs exceed the value of the car. This is a prime example of a totaled car. This is why this is such a brutal outcome.

Considering that the battery costs $3,000 more than the car itself, Ford Auto Nation in Pinellas County offered $500 to buy the car as-is, Grandpa Ray claimed.

As is the case with many automotive parts right now, further research showed that the batteries weren’t even available for the car. “So it didn’t matter. They could cost twice as much, and we still couldn’t get it,” Ray said. 

What will the family do now? 

Buying a car only to find a massive issue that leaves the car nearly valueless is the major fear everyone has when buying a used car from an individual or any non-guaranteed dealer. 

Avery and her family, unfortunately, learned a hard lesson in used car buying. But let this be a bigger lesson for the rest of us. CarScoops mentions that the family is urging those interested in EVs to do their research before they buy. This is still a very budding technology and will come with some hiccups. The warning is doubled for those considering buying a used EV. 

With normal cars and trucks, the engine is the most complex and often most fragile part of the car. The battery pack for EVs is the same. We know old or damaged batteries can fail or even catch fire unexpectedly. These risks need to be taken seriously and researched heavily before committing. Good luck, used EV buyers. 

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