Florida teen learns hard lesson when electric vehicle quits: replacement battery costs more than car itself

A 17-year-old in Florida got a rude awakening when she found out that the replacement battery for her used electric car would cost more than the vehicle itself.

Avery Siwinski is just an average teenage girl who was thrilled when her parents coughed up the money for an $11,000 used Ford Focus electric car, a 2014 model EV with 60,000 miles on the odometer. It seemed like a great choice at the time: gas prices and inflation are skyrocketing, and driving an electric car around town was the perfect way to save on money and save the environment at the same time.

But, according to KVUE 10 News, Siwinski only had the car for six months before it started having issues. That’s when the flashing symbols started to appear on the dashboard. It’s a lot like when your phone quits on you—but in this case, it’s your car, the one you rely on to get you from place to place.

And it turns out fixing your electric car is a lot pricier than repairing an iPhone.

“It was fine at first,” Siwinski explained. “I loved it so much. It was small and quiet and cute. And all the sudden it stopped working. In March, it started giving an alert. And then we took it to the shop and it stopped running.”

That’s when the real headache began. While all this was going on, Siwinski’s family was dealing with a personal tragedy: her father died in June after a stage four colon cancer diagnosis. That’s when Siwinski’s grandfather, Ray Siwinski, decided to get involved to help get the issues with his granddaughter’s car resolved once and for all.

This was after the car had been sitting at the Ford Auto Nation in Pinellas County for months, completely inoperable and useless. Nevertheless, Ray Siwinski managed to finally get a quote for a battery replacement.

“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.”

“Only.” In other words, the battery would cost more than the car itself. To be precise, it would cost some $3,000 more than the car itself cost, and that doesn’t even include the installation and labor costs. So what looked like a real bargain when Avery Siwinski got her car was starting to look like something else – the proverbial lemon.

For a moment, things looked brighter when the Ford Auto Nation offered to take the car off Ray Siwinki’s hands. The trade-in value? A whopping $500.

After a little research, he learned that there really aren’t any better options.

“Then we found out the batteries aren’t even available,” he said. “So it didn’t matter. They could cost twice as much and we still couldn’t get it. If you’re buying a new one, you have to realize there is no second-hand market right now because the manufacturers are not supporting the cars.

So what is his advice for those looking to buy an electric car? Do your research first, and heed the old admonition “caveat emptor“—it might save you a lot of heartaches and unnecessary expense down the road.


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Todd Jaquith


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