It's now pretty clear that used electric cars in the mass market depreciate more rapidly than their gasoline counterparts, even after netting out the effect of financial incentives.

Early data shows the 200-mile-plus Tesla Model S, on the other hand, holds its value as a used car much better.

But who are the people who are actually buying those used Model Ses?

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Edmunds has studied the sales of used Teslas by looking at registration data for the more than pre-owned 1,600 Model S cars resold thus far (out of total U.S. sales of 45,000 to 50,000 cars through June).

"The used car market is giving Tesla the opportunity to expand its demographic and geographic reach," it concluded, by making the car available to a younger and more diverse set of buyers.

Tesla Model S at Volta Industries charging station

Tesla Model S at Volta Industries charging station

"The used Model S data proves that with a more attainable price tag," said Director of Industry Analysis Jessica Caldwell, "there is demand for the vehicle from a more diverse customer set."

Used Tesla sales have dispersed the cars beyond their California-centric buyer base: While more than 40 percent of all new Model S sales occur in the Golden State, only 30 percent of the used Teslas stay in the state.

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States that over-index on used Tesla registrations include Washington, Florida, New Jersey, Texas, and Arizona.

It's worth noting that two of those states--Arizona and Texas--forbid the direct online sale of new Tesla cars, meaning used sales may help the company expand its footprint there.

Analysis of sales of used Tesla Model S electric cars, Edmunds, July 2015

Analysis of sales of used Tesla Model S electric cars, Edmunds, July 2015

As for the buyers themselves, they skew younger and can no longer all be dubbed "wealthy, trend-setting customers"--in the words of the analysis.

More than one-third earned less than $100,000 a year, versus just 25 percent for new buyers. And while just 6 percent of new Model S buyers are Millennials (aged 18 to 34), that number rises to 10 percent for used Teslas.

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The used Tesla sales break the customary pattern of used luxury cars overall, in fact.

"While it's not uncommon to see used luxury vehicles travel out of large flagship hubs," said Caldwell, "it is unusual to see it happen to this ... degree."

And, Edmunds concludes, that bodes well for the prospects of Tesla's promised $35,000 Model 3 electric car, with a 200-mile range, which is currently slated to arrive sometime during 2017.


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