Unlike their fuel alternatives, EV vehicles require specialist servicing and maintenance. This tends to be simpler and more cost-effective which adds to the appeal of EV vehicles.
The upcoming 2035 ban on new petrol and diesel vehicles means that drivers will soon need to make the switch to electric. To help ensure that you’re prepared, we have investigated the ins and outs of electric vehicle maintenance, repairs, and servicing.
Are electric cars cheaper to maintain?
Many businesses have concerns that an EV fleet would be more expensive to run, however, research shows that an electric car costs at least 30% less to service and maintain than a traditional car. This is because there are fewer parts in an electric vehicle than there are in a traditional combustion engine, decreasing the chances of something going wrong.
Your battery running flat is one of the biggest risks for an electric vehicle so it’s important to be aware of low-power warnings and ensure that you charge your vehicle in advance to avoid a hefty breakdown fee. However, you will still need to pay for an electric vehicle MOT but this should be charged in line with a typical car which has a maximum fee of £54.85.
What maintenance does an electric car need?
With an electric vehicle, there’s no oil, cambelt or water pump to change and the filters do not need renewing. However, a check of the diagnostic machine will be required as this will pick up any possible fault codes that might need attention and the battery will also need to be inspected.
It’s important to regularly check parts that are common to both EVs and ICE vehicles, such as tyres, brakes, and windscreen wipers, particularly in advance of your MOT to give your vehicle the best chance of passing.
How often do electric cars need to be serviced?
Electric vehicles should be serviced just as frequently as their fuel-based counterparts. Many drivers arrange this in line with their MOT and so get their vehicle serviced annually. However, those that drive more frequently should aim to make these check-ups a more regular occurrence.
The frequency of servicing will also depend on your vehicle’s manufacturer, for example, a Porsche Taycan needs to be serviced every 2 years and 20,000 miles whereas the BMW i3 has condition-based servicing and so the onboard computer lets you know when a service is due. We, therefore, recommend that you check your vehicle’s handbook for specific servicing requirements.
What kind of repairs do electric cars need?
As electric vehicles tend to be more reliable, they require less maintenance and repair work. However, there are some common repairs that are sometimes needed to keep your EV on the road.
Due to the inclusion of a battery, electric vehicles are significantly heavier in weight and so this places additional strain on their tyres. EV tyres are therefore more likely to wear out faster and so you should regularly check your tyre pressure and keep a spare handy.
Regenerative brake failure
Regenerative braking allows you to charge the battery of your EV vehicle as you drive. Although they are more durable than traditional brakes, this type of braking can sometimes fail or begin to malfunction and so it’s important to ensure that your brakes are checked by a professional.
EV batteries are expected to last between 10-20 years or 500,000 miles which is roughly the same as most petrol or diesel cars. It’s therefore unlikely that a new EV vehicle will require any battery repair work but if you have an older electric vehicle then the battery could eventually need replacing.
Battery cable replacement
Cables can wear over time so you should inspect and clean them at regular intervals to prevent corrosion from building up. This will help to stop future problems and extend the life of the battery cables.
Although EVs do not use liquid fuel, they still contain fluids that need to be checked regularly. They need to have their brake fluid topped up every 4-5 years, their coolant every 3 years, and their windscreen wiper fluid every year or between 5,000 and 7,000 miles.
Where can you get an electric vehicle serviced?
Most drivers will get their electric vehicles serviced at a main manufacturer dealer. Although this is likely to be more expensive, they should be more experienced with EV vehicles and so are likely to be the most competent.
You could also visit a local independent garage that has the expertise to service an electric vehicle. However, it’s important to note that some manufacturer warranties stipulate that only manufacturer-approved parts can be used in servicing as the warranty can be voided if not. Therefore, you should make sure that approved parts are used wherever you go for your service.
What about hybrid vehicle servicing?
Hybrid vehicles have all the usual working parts of a traditional petrol vehicle and so the service intervals are the exact same. However, with hybrid vehicles, there are additional components and technologies added to their conventional operation and so some specialised checks are required:
- Diagnostic hybrid battery health checks and testing
- Charging port and high voltage cables check
- Inverter coolant check
- Brake binding check
Due to the complexity and number of components involved, a hybrid vehicle can be more expensive to maintain than ICE equivalents. Some independent garages or high-street service centres will charge around £20 for the extra work required for a hybrid service.
On the positive side, manufacturers tend to give a longer warranty to hybrid batteries and these usually last for eight years. Regularly charging your battery, preventing it from discharging completely, and making sure it doesn’t get exposed to extreme temperatures for a long period of time can all help to extend the life of your hybrid battery.
EV fuel cards
If your fleet contains electric vehicles, or if you’re looking to make the switch to a greener fuel future, then register your interest in an EV fuel card today.
Karl GurneyKarl has over 14 years of experience in the fuel card industry and has a wealth of knowledge around the servicing and maintenance of fleet vehicles. Outside of work, Karl coaches a junior football team and enjoys spending time with his wife and 2 sons.