Electric Cars Are 49% Cheaper To Maintain Than Petrol Models
While electric cars are at the forefront of automotive technology, the good news is they are, in mechanical terms, actually significantly more simple than conventional cars. And less complexity means lower running costs over the lifespan of a car.
Internal combustion engines – and the clutches and gearboxes attached to them – have many more moving parts than an electric car’s powertrain and hence much more opportunity for wear and tear.
That can translate into a lifetime of cheaper servicing and maintenance costs for EVs, with many owners reporting that other than replacing tyres and wiper blades, they’ve had virtually nothing to do to their cars.
Research by insurance company Direct Line backs up that claim, showing annual tax and maintenance costs (including MOTs and servicing) for electric vehicles are 49% lower than for petrol models.
How Are Electric Cars Different To Petrol Cars?
Many ‘standard’ parts that you will have had to replace during a routine service will become things of the past for electric car owners.
You will no longer have to worry about clutches wearing out, spark plugs failing, oil or transmission fluid changes, broken timing belts or exhausts rusting away.
By contrast an electric car’s drivetrain can have as few as 20 moving parts (compared to thousands in a petrol or diesel). Those parts that are unique to an EV include the electric motor that drives your wheels, the batteries that hold your electric charge, and inverter that converts that electricity into the right form of current.
While they are advanced pieces of engineering in their own right, these parts have few areas where wear and tear is an issue and are often sealed units that are simple to replace if necessary.
It’s actually more likely that you will look to extend the life of these parts through careful use – sympathetic charging routines, for example – than have to replace them.
Of Course, Not All Parts Are Unique To An EV
Whether you’re being pushed along by petrol or electrons, the basic parts of a car that help you steer, take corners, ride speed humps and stop when you need to are, of course, common.
These are the parts that will require regular servicing, regardless of the type of car you drive. So suspension parts, steering racks and, of course, tyres and brakes will all undergo wear and tear whenever you’re on the move.
So What Does An Electric Car Service Entail?
You won’t get a bill for an oil change or engine filter replacement but EVs will still need to undergo computer diagnostic testing during a service to monitor their electrical systems for any faults.
But things like the battery cooling system – a critical part of the car that ensures the batteries operate within a safe temperature range for maximum performance – is incredibly simple to maintain, with just a quick check of the coolant levels and a top up if necessary.
High-voltage electrical cables that carry current from the batteries to the motors will be given the once over during a service, but again these are heavily armoured cables, built to withstand damage from unforeseen events, so it is highly unusual to come across faults.
Those parts that are common to every car will require the most attention at a service. And you might experience some small differences in how often these parts need to be maintained or replaced.
Service interval times for some of the most popular EVs on sale today:
Kia Soul: Two years/20,000 miles
Nissan Leaf: Two years/18,000 miles
Jaguar I-Pace: Two years/21,000 miles
Mercedes EQC: One year/15,000 miles
Because electric cars frequently use regenerative braking systems – which use the motor itself to help slow the car and top up their electrical charge – your brake pads and discs don’t get worked as hard and so are likely to last longer than normal.
It’s worth remembering, though, that you might still need a brake fluid change at a set date, regardless of the health of your brake pads.
Electric cars are always heavier than petrol or diesel equivalents because of the big battery packs needed to power them. That additional weight can translate into higher tyre wear, so you might find you get through a set of tyres more quickly than you have in the past.
How To Keep Your Electric Car Well-Maintained Between Services
You can play an important role in ensuring that your electric car operates at peak performance for as long as possible.
Perhaps the key area is in battery maintenance and by following some simple tips that apply to every EV car, you’ll get the best range and lifespan out of it.
Do your best to make sure the battery doesn’t run completely flat.
As often as you can charge your battery within the recommended manufacturer range (that’s nearly always between 20% and 80% of a full charge).
Keep rapid DC charging to a minimum. Superfast chargers that you will find in places like motorway services can charge at speeds of 50kW and above. That means a really quick charge time but lots of rapid charging over the lifetime of your lease can become punishing on your battery health if done repeatedly. The odd rapid charge is fine but a lifetime of rapid charging will have some impact.
Electric Car Service Intervals
Like a standard car, your service intervals will be recommended to you on either a time or distance travelled basis. For example, every year or 18,000 miles – whatever comes first.
The intervals don’t vary noticeably from conventional cars because safety-related items such as brakes and tyres need monitoring regardless of how maintenance-free your electrical systems are.
So in a nutshell a new electric car really will prove itself to be cheaper to run and easier to maintain over the lifetime of your lease. We’ve got a fantastic range of cars for all budgets, so why not check out some of our best deals right here.