Shopping for a new vehicle is often guided by the bottom
line that is the purchase price. Over the life of a new car, SUV, or truck,
maintenance and operating costs can vary dramatically, having a significant
impact on the total cost of ownership. And that's just one more reason why
electric vehicles are so popular nowadays. Electric vehicles aren't without
their own set of maintenance either. The cheaper cost of maintaining and
fuelling a battery electric car compared to a traditional gas or diesel vehicle
could save money.
The timing belt, exhaust system, spark plugs, fuel
injectors, and transmission fluid are just a few of the hundreds of parts that
make up an internal combustion engine drive train, electric car owners
will never have to worry about them failing, leaking, or wearing out..
Comparing the recommended maintenance schedules and dealer service quotes for
six popular EVs versus six similar gasoline vehicles reveals that EVs could
save an average of 263 dollars per year based on avoided maintenance cost. That
adds up to more than 3,000 dollars over a 12 year, 150,000 mile ownership
Not to mention the added value and convenience of having
fewer service appointments and less vehicle downtime. EVs have a far simpler
maintenance plan than traditional gas or diesel vehicles. There's a lot less to
do. Typically tire rotations, checking top off any fluids that are still with
the EV cars. But other than that, for the first 5 or 6 years you’re good to go.
Most electric vehicles will require a flush and change of
the battery packs liquid cooling system after 100,000 miles at a cost of around
200 dollars. Compare that to over a dozen engine oil and filter changes,
radiator flushes, and other avoided routine maintenance required for a car with
a gasoline engine. With that said let’s look at what you have to maintain under
the hood of an EV.
#5 Tire rotation.
It's common to all cars, even though you don't do it to
yours. But on EVs, it remains important, if not more so, because they swap out
their heavy transmission and engine for a heavy battery, putting a lot of load
on tires still. And also, EVs have killer torque able to really twist those
tires hard and that tends to shred the tires as well. Tesla recommends to
rotate Model 3 tires every 6,250 miles. Chevy Bolt and Nissan Leaf every 7,500
#4 Braking system.
The fluid puts pressure on the pads to the rotors. This is
key, because if it gets full of water or get stagnant and polluted, it doesn't
work right, you may say, electric cars do their breaking via regeneration, the
electromagnetic resistance that puts power back in the battery, that is true,
but not all the time, depending on how you drive and where. So this is going to
be a thing that you need to watch out for. All cars need this EVs do as well,
for example on a Model 3 every two years or 25,000 miles, on a Chevy Bolt it's
every five years.
There's no engine, but there's a cooling system that need to
be catered to as well. For context, a Tesla Model 3 needs its coolant replaced
every four years or 50,000 miles, a Nissan Leaf goes 125,000 miles and a Chevy
Bolt even longer 150,000. That's basically the next guy's problem if you sell
off your car quite often, unless you buy a used one.
#2 Break service.
Now we are talking about pads and rotors, the friction
parts. These are much more long lived on an EV than in a combustion car,
because most of your breaking, as we mentioned, is done by the drag of
regeneration when you lift off the accelerator but it's going to vary widely
based on how many miles you drive, what style you drive, what terrain you drive.
So it’s difficult to mention a number here until when you can go on with your
breaks. It entirely depends on your usage.
#1 Battery Pack
The number one maintenance item on your EV is the part that
puts the E in front of the V. Your electric car’s main power – it’s Battery.
This is the heart of your car's range, and therefore it's liveability as well
as your car's residual value, whether you're leasing or buying it. Take care of
it like you used to take care of an engine in your regular combustion car. When
EV batteries are exposed to extreme heat or cold for an extended period of
time, they can suffer. Just being parked, a Chevy Bolt, for example, wants to
be plugged in below 32 degrees or above 90 degrees to manage its temperature.
You don't want an EV to sit and fully discharge, if you’re not driving it for a
couple of weeks, you don't want to charge it too high or top it off too often.
Over time, EV battery capacity can fade, resulting in fewer miles per charge. To
address that concern, most EVs come with at least with eight years or 100,000
miles battery warranty. New battery packs can range from 5,000 dollars to over
15,000 dollars when it comes time for replacement. But some manufacturers are
rolling out discount programs using recondition battery packs that are much
As battery and recycling technology continues to evolve,
battery costs should continue to drop. Another factor working in favour of EVs
is the convenience and value of charging up at home. Instead of having to make
regular trips to the filling station for gasoline or diesel. The cost to drive
100 emission free miles on electricity can be as much as 70% cheaper than
burning fossil fuels over the same distance. And by plugging in at home, you
can start off with a full charge every day.
Servicing electric vehicles is still a fairly new procedure
for many dealerships. Make sure that the dealer you plan to go to is certified
and trained to service EVs. Not all shops have the equipment and tools
necessary to work on EVs yet but some dealers have taken the lead here and are
actually specializing in EVs, while smaller volume stores may have just one EV
certified tech or a limited number of EV charging stations.
Dealing with all these things is a lot easier and cleaner
than dealing with tune ups and oil changes. EVs are just easier to live with,
but that doesn't mean they are maintenance free. So consider the entire ownership
experience when shopping for your next ride. If an EV fits your lifestyle,
you'll probably find it fits well your wallet, too.