The electric car industry has experienced an unprecedented boom in recent years. The result of this is the ever-increasing supply on the market, covering all kinds of sizes, ranges, and tasks. But is it cheaper to maintain?
The electric cars flooding the market illustrate the new revolution in the automotive sector and have come to stay despite needing much evolution to match the performance and practicality of traditional vehicles equipped with a heat engine in many common areas of use.
But there are other aspects in which the electric car is a clear advantage over conventional vehicles. Or not? It is widely accepted that the owner of an electric vehicle enjoys a much lower maintenance cost, but let's see what reality that statement is based on.
We have already talked about some key aspects of the electric car, like consumption or the environment. Still, it is equally important to know the level of expense that owning one will imply.
One of the principal reasons for an electric vehicle's maintenance is its electric engine, which is much simpler than that of a conventional car with a combustion engine.
And it is a valid argument since the traditional engine comprises thousands of parts subjected to friction and high temperatures, making it a highly complex and sophisticated element. This translates, in turn, into the need for periodic maintenance and replacement of parts because no matter how much and well you take care of, sooner or later, the filters, the oil, the clutch or the timing belt, among many other parts, they will need to be replaced.
On the other hand, the electric motor does not need maintenance as it does not have moving parts subject to friction or high temperatures. In addition, although the electric car as we know it today is something very recent, the reality is that it is a very proven technology and that it was invented even before the combustion engine, but that for different reasons fell into the forgotten for decades.
The same can be said of the electronics and the charging system integrated into the electric vehicle, as they do not require any maintenance.
The second key element of an electric car is the batteries, which give it the necessary autonomy. Although batteries deteriorate and must be replaced over the years (more than ten today), they do not require maintenance, so in that sense, they do not generate an extra cost to the owner. Also, the better you use it, the longer it will last.
We cannot ignore that changing the batteries if the day comes before having changed cars is considerable. An example is the price of new 58 kWh batteries for a Volkswagen ID.3 electric car, which is around 14,500 euros. Or the 33 kWh batteries from a BMW i3 electric car, which cost about 8,300 euros.
From there, the maintenance of an electric car and a thermal one is practically the same, since both the running gear, the suspensions, the brakes, etc., are the same as those of any other car (although the brakes take longer degrading thanks to the regenerative brake technology present in electrics).
The classic maintenance operations related to shock absorbers, tires, pollen filters, or windshield wipers will be the same regardless of the type of vehicle, as they will depend on our habits of use.
What does change is the maintenance and control of the electrical connections of a battery-powered vehicle since its system is notably more complex, requiring its maintenance plan, specialized labor, and specific tools. This will be an extra cost for conventional cars.
The maintenance plan
Now, it is time to establish a real reference between maintenance plans, for which we have taken as an example the one that Volkswagen recommends for the Golf, which has all kinds of mechanics.
For both the Volkswagen Golf with a combustion engine and the VW with an electric motor, the recommended service period is two years or 30,000 km. Of course, the number of operations is notably lower in the case of an electric car.
This results in an average cost of between 3,600 and 4,000 euros for a conventional Volkswagen Golf during its first 12 years of life. On the other hand, a Volkswagen Golf electric car will mean an average cost of about 1,300 euros in that same period and provided that none of them suffers unscheduled breakdowns.
These amounts are only indicative and depend largely on the use given to the vehicle and the establishment in which the maintenance is carried out because, even being official, prices vary from one workshop to another.
So, to whether the maintenance of an electric car is cheaper, the resounding answer is yes, it is. As long as we prevent that in between 8 and 15 years, we will have to change the electric car batteries, of course.
My personal conclusion:
The maintenance of an electric car is cheaper!
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