Have you ever wondered if electric vehicles (EVs) are really less expensive than internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles to maintain?
Have you heard statements like, “EV batteries won’t last more than 5 years” or that “EVs require more maintenance as an owner”?
This article will debunk some of the most common myths related to EVs compared to ICE vehicles when it comes to maintenance.
Keep reading to learn the facts about EV maintenance:
- EVs require more maintenance than ICE vehicles.
- It is more expensive to maintain an ICE vehicle than an EV.
- EV batteries die within 5 years.
- EV battery replacement costs end up being more expensive than the amount saved by owning an EV.
1. EVs require less maintenance than ICE vehicles.
The U.S. Department of Energy states that, “EVs typically require less maintenance than conventional vehicles because:
- The battery, motor and associated electronics require little to no regular maintenance
- There are fewer fluids, such as engine oil, that require regular maintenance
- Brake wear is significantly reduced due to regenerative braking
- There are far fewer moving parts relative to a conventional gasoline engine.”
Because EVs run on battery power and have fewer internal fluids, they will not be subject to oil changes and do not undergo the amount of maintenance required for ICE vehicles. The Argonne National Laboratory conducted a study in which they found maintenance and repair of an EV transit bus is 40% less than the cost to maintain an ICE vehicle of the same size.
They also noted that, in general, over multiple vehicle types, “BEVs (Battery Electric Vehicle) systematically have lower maintenance costs than ICEVs.” This is due to the fact that ICE vehicles must maintain the transmission, spark plugs, oxygen sensor, timing belt, fuel filter and engine air filter, unlike an EV.
ICE vehicle owners must also budget 2-3 oil services a year which can be between $25-$50 for regular oil and $45-$70 for synthetic oil on average, for each oil change, according to Wolfchase Honda. If the owner wants to purchase oil for a luxury car or ultra-powerful engine, the oil change “could even be over $100.”
2. EVs are less expensive to maintain throughout their lifetime compared to an ICE.
The Nickel Institute, “a global association of leading primary nickel producers,” conducted a study in which they followed EVs throughout their lifetime to compare the total cost of buying and maintaining EVs to ICE vehicles.
They stated, “The findings of the reports indicate that the total financial cost of owning an EV could be a compelling advantage to the consumer for most vehicle models.”
According to Argonne National Laboratory’s data below, maintaining an ICE vehicle costs about 1.66 times the amount to maintain a BEV per mile.
Read the full article (here) to learn more about their findings.
3. EV batteries are expected to withstand the life of the EV.
Many people are aware of the degradation of lithium-ion batteries in iPhones with a battery life of only 500 charging cycles or about 2 years before degrading to 80%. They assume EVs have the same degradation patterns.
EV batteries do degrade but at a much slower rate because the battery is much larger. The U.S. Department of Energy states that currently, “The batteries in electric-drive vehicles are generally designed to last for the expected lifetime of the vehicle.” They also state that “the expected battery lifetime is 12 to 15 years under normal operating conditions and in moderate climates.”
In 2018, Geotab, a company that tracks battery performance in many EVs, published a study that showed a 2.3% degradation within EVs per year. “Which?” conducted a survey in 2020 with 1,016 participants about their EV remaining battery life. The results showed an 8% battery reduction rate over 6 years which is about a 1.33% reduction each year.
Which? also stated, “While owners of new electric cars (up to three years old) can rely on their batteries and have around 98% of their original range available on average, drivers of older models (dating back to 2014) report a steady decline in usable battery life with the oldest models capable of 92% of range from new.”
These strides in decreasing degradation are due to aspects such as battery manufacturing and decreasing extreme temperatures with thermal cooling, as Geotab stated. The charging habits of the owner will also make an impact on how quickly the battery degrades, such as not letting the car’s battery run down to 0% and not keeping it completely charged to 100% every day.
4. Warranties are available for EV batteries.
The U.S. Department of Energy also states that “several manufacturers offer 8-year/100,000-mile warranties for their PEV(plug-in electric vehicles) batteries. Some warranties include longer coverage years and a higher mileage range.”
With that being said, current battery prices outside of warranty are expected to be a significant expense, but “battery prices are expected to decline as technology improves and production volumes increase,” according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Battery Warranty Examples:
- 2022 Nissan Leaf: 96-month/100,000-mile
- 2022 Kia EV6: 10 year/100,000 mile
- 2022 Hyundai Kona Electric: 10 years/ 100,000 miles
- Tesla X and S: 8-year/150,000 mile (whatever comes first)
- Model 3 Rear-Wheel Drive Tesla: 8-year/100,000 mile, with minimum 70% retention of Battery capacity over the warranty period.
- Model 3 Long Range, Model 3 Performance, Model Y Long Range, Model Y Performance Tesla: 8-year/120,000 miles, with minimum 70% retention of Battery capacity over the warranty period.