Like gas-fueled and hybrid cars, electric vehicles require regular maintenance to perform optimally and reduce the need for future repairs. While EVs may not need the same or as frequent repairs, the ones they do need can be costly.
Recently, We Predict released its first Deepview True Cost Report, which analyzed service records and repair orders of millions of vehicles and billions of service messages to determine a number of data points, including how much consumers spend within the first three months of ownership.
According to the report, EV owners spent an average of $123 on service, more than double the cost for gas-fueled vehicles and triple the cost of hybrids. Additionally, vehicle repair and maintenance costs during the first three months of ownership were multiplied by 15 at 36 months, on average, and 20 times by five years in service. That data essentially debunks the myth that EVs are the most cost-effective alternative to traditional vehicles.
To put it simply, just because a vehicle has specific service and warranty costs doesn’t necessarily mean it has more problems overall. That said, while an EV may have fewer problems, parts and labor costs can be more expensive.
It’s not always easy to make a side-by-side comparison and cost analysis regarding service and maintenance for EVs versus gas-fueled or hybrid cars. That’s because of specific differences in ownership, including state and local incentives, and because not all EVs are subject to such incentives.
Plus, certain EV manufacturers are limited in the number of cars they can produce, restricting availability in the marketplace. Also, factor in that the current consumer demand for all vehicles, both new and used, is at an all-time high due to supply chain shortages of semiconductor chips. In other words, service and maintenance are more critical now than ever before.
EV owners should also be aware that collision repairs may be more costly than repairs for gas-fueled vehicles. This is because EV battery packs are expensive and finding mechanics with specific expertise in that repair can result in higher prices for the consumer. Even if a battery pack is not damaged in an accident, it will likely still need to be removed for safety which, in turn, adds to labor and insurance costs.
According to Electrade.app, overall repair costs associated with EVs are on average 5%-8% higher compared to ICE (internal-combustion engine) vehicles in the same price range while insurance premiums are 19% higher compared to ICE vehicles.
For dealerships selling EVs, helping customers maintain the integrity and good health of the all-important battery is a major priority in building trust. Dealers should encourage buyers to stick to the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule. Additional tips include:
- Protect your car from extreme heat or cold. Batteries don’t like drastic weather changes.
- Don’t fully charge batteries regularly. Keep the charge between 20%-80% unless you’re going on a long road trip. Keeping the charge at 100% daily could lead to battery degradation.
- Invest in a home charger to better control the charging status of the vehicle.
- Understand and check your warranty and upgrade if necessary.
- EVs still have plenty of fluids that need to be checked and changed, including brake fluids and coolants. Maintain a regular schedule for refilling and changing necessary fluids.
- Because of the instant torque from a heavy battery, tires need regular rotation. If they need to be replaced, purchase tires specifically for EVs.
- Choose fast and flexible financing options to help offset the burden of urgent repairs, including those associated with collisions.
As the economy stabilizes and supply chains open up, consumers will have more choices to realize the dream of owning an EV. That’s progress.
Richard Counihan (pictured above, left) is the CEO of DigniFi, a platform company that works with dealerships and service centers to connect consumers with lenders for car repairs, tires, accessories and other vehicle-related needs.