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This article was published on May 19, 2021

How much does it cost to maintain an EV?

It's not as expensive as an ICE car

How much does it cost to maintain an EV?

This article was originally published by Martin Banks on Clean Fleet Report, a publication that gives its readers the information they need to move to cars and trucks with best fuel economy, including electric cars, fuel cells, plug-in hybrids, hybrids and advanced diesel and gasoline engines.

Welcome to SHIFT Basics, a collection of tips, explainers, guides, and advice to keep you up to speed with mobility tech.

Detailing the savings from going electric

All vehicles require some form of maintenance. Whether it’s a simple repair or a regular inspection, there’s no avoiding the mechanic. If you own a vehicle for a significant amount of time, you’ll pay a visit to the shop sooner or later. EVs are no different.

That said, drivers will typically spend less on long-term maintenance than they would for an internal combustion engine (ICE) car over time. A bonus: Electric vehicles are much better for the environment. So, just how expensive is EV maintenance overall?

Average maintenance costs

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The average total cost of ownership for an electric car in the United States is around half as much as a gasoline-powered vehicle. This includes the purchase price, fueling costs and overall maintenance expenses.

Perhaps this is because electric vehicles have fewer parts to care for than an internal combustion engine. Plus, they don’t require oil changes, which adds up over time for owners of gasoline-powered cars.

VW id.4 EV, save you money
Credit: Clean Fleet Report
Over its life an EV will save you money.

People who own an internal combustion engine car know maintenance fees can add up. It can cost anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars any time it goes to the shop for repair. Gasoline-powered vehicles cost around $1,200 per year to maintain compared to about $900 for electric ones. EV drivers could save at least $3,000 in maintenance over 10 years.

What does it take to maintain an EV?

There are some typical maintenance costs for electric vehicles. Like a gasoline-powered engine, electric cars require new brake pads, tire rotations and maintenance on the suspension, including steering tie rods, ball joints and shock absorbers.

Besides that, EVs also have cabin air filters. These keep all the dust, dirt and small particles out of the car’s air conditioning and heating system. They require cleaning or replacement every 36,000 miles or more frequently if necessary. (Of course, some ICE vehicles also have these filters.)

EV batteries last a long time
Credit: Clean Fleet Report
An EV’s battery is a big ticket item, but it may last as long as the car.

After about 10 years, you may have to replace a battery pack, which can cost more than $5,000. Additionally, a new motor can cost quite a bit of money, but it’s unlikely that will need to be replaced. Consumer Reports, the Bible for car reliability, gave EVs mixed reviews, (Tesla finished near the bottom while hybrid-heavy Toyota and Lexus were in the top three) but generally backed the premise that electrified cars should cost consumers less to keep up.

Preventive maintenance tips for your EV

Like with any vehicle, some things can be done to keep EVs running longer and at their maximum potential.

  • Regulate the garage’s temperature: EV batteries can wear down faster if temperatures are too high or too low. Having a sealed garage door and ensuring it’s insulated can better regulate temperatures for a longer-lasting battery.
  • Schedule regular inspections: EV owners should also periodically schedule an overall inspection with a professional mechanic. They can ensure the car is in proper working order and may be able to prevent future issues.
  • Test the motor and battery: EV motors and batteries can wear down over time. It’s essential to have them tested, so they don’t fail during driving.
Plug-in cars benefit from maintenance too
Credit: Clean Fleet Report
Plug-in cars can benefit from extra care.

Taking preventive measures can help reduce the overall costs of maintaining an electric vehicle.

Pay less with EVs

Drivers that switch to an electric vehicle will save money and the environment. Every year, EV owners pay hundreds less on maintenance and repairs. Purchasing this type of car upfront may cost more, but it ends up paying for itself over time.

Do EVs excite your electrons? Do ebikes get your wheels spinning? Do self-driving cars get you all charged up? 

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