When you decide to lease an electric car you’ll also be making a smart decision with regards to the running costs of a vehicle that will need significantly less in the way of costly maintenance bills over the lifetime of your lease.
One of the bonuses of leasing electric is that so many of the boring regular chores that petrol and diesel cars require are simply not needed on an all-electric vehicle. We know that’s an important factor in the choices people are making, as our team of leasing experts is often asked what it takes to look after an EV.
So here are some expert answers from the Vanarama team to the most frequently asked questions about electric car maintenance…
Do Electric Cars Need Oil?
When you opt to lease an electric car your days of hunting around under the bonnet for the engine oil dipstick or searching for that old bottle of 10w-40 in the shed are gone forever.
With no engine under the bonnet, let alone a dipstick, there is no oil to keep all those costly engine parts lubricated. In fact on an electric car you’ll find that the equivalent of the engine – the electric motor – is normally a sealed unit that is designed to last a lifetime without needing any comparable fluid changes.
Doesn’t The Extra Weight In An EV Mean More Tyre & Brake Wear?
Again, the myth that heavy EVs suffer from excess tyre wear is proving to be exactly that. Even though their big battery packs mean they carry more weight than a comparable combustion-engined car, research has shown that electric cars are actually proving to be kinder on their tyres.
Why? Because the advanced traction control systems in an electric car can actually reduce wheelspin much more quickly than in a standard vehicle thanks to the ability of the electric motor to make almost instantaneous adjustments to the way the power is applied.
Compared to a combustion-engined car, which has to use both the brakes and a reduction in engine revs to limit wheelspin, an electric car can effectively reduce the power at source, and in an instant, by cutting the flow of electricity to its electric motor. In a testing programme overseen by tyre company Nokian, their EVs actually outperformed conventional cars when it came to tyre wear.
And the same is proving to be true of brake wear as well. Although common sense suggests that a heavier car will be harder on brake pads and discs because there is more weight to slow down, the regenerative braking system – which most EVs use to top up their batteries while moving – actually takes the wear and tear away from the brakes.
‘Regen’ systems work by flipping the electric motor into reverse when you lift off the power. This sends electricity back into the batteries but simultaneously acts as a gentle brake on the car before you ever actually need to press on the brake pedal, thereby giving your brakes a longer lifespan overall.
Do The Batteries In An Electric Car Need Servicing?
Just about the biggest servicing requirement for your car’s battery pack will be the need to check the coolant that stops the cells getting too hot when charging or to cold when parked up. Most cars will only require a coolant check during a standard service, and at the same time your garage will be able to do a health check on the battery itself by plugging it into a laptop and checking its charging data.
A service should also include a close-up inspection of the high-voltage cables that send the electricity from the charger to the batteries and on to the motor, to make sure they haven’t suffered any damage while you’ve been out and about.
What Is An Over-The-Air Software Update?
Millions of miles away in the Solar System, a small electric car is driving across the surface of Mars, searching for signs of life with an array of ultra-sophisticated equipment that can shoot lasers, drill holes in rocks and even cook Martian soil to see what secrets it is hiding.
So sophisticated are the tools on board and so complex are the manoeuvres and tasks that NASA’s new Perseverance rover has to carry out that each time it undertakes a new challenge, the boffins who built it have to send entirely new software programmes from radio telescopes here on Earth to satellites that orbit Mars and then down to the rover so that it can reboot with a new set of instructions. It is arguably the most advanced space exploration ever undertaken.
So what’s all this space science got to do with your electric car as it heads up the M1? Well believe it or not, in exactly the same way that NASA beams ‘over the air’ software updates to Perseverance, the latest electric cars are capable of receiving new computer code automatically from their manufacturer that can open up entirely new features or make their existing hardware work even more efficiently.
Tesla is perhaps the best known of all the car makers to beam regular software updates into the cars. It even allows drivers to ‘test’ so-called beta software that helps them develop incredible new features like its self-driving Autopilot.
But Tesla aren’t alone in being able to improve their cars remotely. Brands like BMW, Audi, Ford and Jaguar all have the ability to improve their EVs – for example, improving their range using updated algorithms – without them ever having to visit a dealership or garage.
And over-the-air data transfer also brings improvements to new models, because with every update the manufacturer can get a data sent back that gives them a better understanding of how their cars are being used and helps them to spot problems before they get serious.
Will I Save Money On Maintenance If I Go Electric?
Perhaps the most important question of all to sum up this article! And the answer is yes – when you lease an electric car not only can you benefit from affordable fixed monthly payments for the life of the lease but you will see your running costs tumble.
Research by a respected consumer advocacy group in the United States has shown electric car drivers have seen their maintenance costs fall by nearly 50%, so if you want to enjoy the same value for money from your car, take a look at the huge range of electric models we have available at Vanarama. All the vehicles come with budgeted pay monthly comprehensive maintenance packages too for the ultimate peace of mind!