Do Electric Vehicles Require Less Maintenance?

technician performing electric vehicle maintenance

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Some drivers are joining the clean energy movement and purchasing electric vehicles (EVs). Many simply prefer using electricity instead of gas to power their ride. Based on fuel costs alone, a 2018 study found that EVs cost less than half as much to operate as gas-powered vehicles. In addition, EVs are several times more efficient in converting energy into vehicle motion than gas or diesel-powered models.

Let’s explore some of the vehicle systems to see how electric vehicle maintenance compares to that of gas-powered vehicles.

Engine Maintenance & Fluids

Electric motors have fewer parts and require less maintenance than internal combustion engines.

You do not need to change the oil, transmission fluid, spark plugs, fuel filters, or drive belts with an EV. This can result in significant savings, especially as cars age.

Electric motors do, however, require brake fluid and should be serviced regularly.

Brakes

EVs and hybrid vehicles have regenerative braking capabilities. This means that the kinetic energy from the car is transferred to charging the vehicle’s battery.

The braking system in EVs typically lasts longer because it is gentler on the brake pads. According to some sources, the brake system on EVs and hybrids need to be replaced half or even a third of the frequency of a gas-powered vehicle’s brake system.

Energy Storage

Instead of a gas tank for storing fuel, EVs have a large lithium-ion battery to store the energy that powers the motor. When an EV battery is in decline, it offers a reduced vehicle range.

The manufacturing of these batteries is expensive and has a major environmental impact. So, it’s important to know how to extend battery life as long as possible. Avoid leaving the vehicle for long periods with little or no charge, and park the vehicle in a cool location outside of direct sunlight when you can.

Most EV manufacturers offer an 8-year/100,000 mile warranty. Some automakers offer extended warranties on the batteries. California requires a 10-year/150,00 mile warranty for EV batteries.

The battery replacement costs vary by the automaker when it isn’t under warranty. A Nissan Leaf battery costs around $5,500 plus a few hours of labor to install after a $1,000 credit for turning in the old battery pack, which is mandatory.

Some EV drivers prefer to lease cars or sell them before the battery needs to be replaced to avoid purchasing a replacement battery.

Electric Vehicle Maintenance

Despite requiring little maintenance compared to gas-powered cars, EVs do still require regular maintenance, particularly for the braking system. And some aspects of vehicle maintenance are nearly identical when comparing EVs and gas-powered cars. Expect similar maintenance requirements for lights, cabin filtration, suspension, tire rotation, body repairs, and windshield wiper blades.

Finding a qualified mechanic for servicing EVs can be tricky when straying from the dealership. Because the vast majority of auto mechanics are not trained to work on EVs, the availability of qualified mechanics is very limited.

Feature image by Science in HD on Unsplash

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Comments

  1. Hi! Thanks for this article, which shows how much less maintenance EVs require over gas cars. However, I was confused by this “ EVs do still require regular maintenance on the motor”. I have never heard of a motor in an electric car requiring any maintenance. In fact, unless the motor is defective (in which case it will likely be replaced free of charge under warranty), it may very well outlast the rest of the car.

    At any rate, I’ve owned two EVs, and their electric motors contain no serviceable parts. So, unlike an engine, you don’t ever need to service them, unless something goes very wrong.

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