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Are electric cars to easy to maintain?

Ellie Mackenzie, 10 months ago

5 min read

  • Advice
  • Electric
Electric Cars Easy to Maintain

WhoCanFixMyCar sets about answering the question - are electric cars easy to maintain?

We are all pretty much agreed that electric cars are better for the environment. But are they easier as well as cheaper to maintain than their diesel, petrol or hybrid counterparts?  

A study from Cap HPI has shown that across a 60,000-mile or three-year period, an electric vehicle (otherwise known as an EV) costs 23% less to maintain than a normal combustion vehicle. So, why is that and exactly what type of maintenance does an electric car need?

Electric cars are easier to maintain

The main reason that electric cars are easier to maintain is that they don’t have as many fiddly or temperamental components as their fuel-powered cousins.

Most importantly, electric cars don't have an engine. Instead, they have an electric motor powered by a battery made from lithium-ion. The charge stored inside the battery is electrical energy and doesn't involve the burning of any fuel.

This means that there are fewer moving parts in an EV that are subject to wear and tear. To put this into some sort of content, an average petrol or diesel engine has anything up to 10,000 moving parts whereas an electric vehicle has anything up to 100!

For instance, an electric car doesn’t contain:

These are all relatively high-maintenance parts that have the potential to land a fuel-powered car in the garage.

What are the key components of an electric car?

There are a few parts that are exclusive to an electric car. They boast advanced technology and are built to last you a lifetime, but it's essential to maintain each component properly to avoid any issues and a potentially expensive repair.

Unlike a traditional car powered by an internal combustion engine, an electric vehicle contains:

  • Electric Motor - which turns the wheels

  • Electronic Power Control - which controls the transfer of electricity from components

  • Inverter - which converts electrical currents

  • Charger - which takes and transfers the energy from the power supply

  • Battery - which stores the energy used to power the motor

However, they also share a few fundamental parts with traditional cars, such as brakes, steering, and a suspension system, which will need maintaining just the same.

How often should you service an electric car?

An electric car needs servicing just as often as a fuel-powered car. Regular routine maintenance is crucial for keeping it in good condition and ensuring it runs smoothly and silently. As with any other vehicle, you'll need to book an MOT test every year once your car has reached a certain age, and you should also book an annual full service.

In theory, an electric car is much cheaper to get serviced than a petrol or diesel car as you’re less likely to uncover car problems that frequently keep fuel-powered vehicles in the garage. Ultimately, the key to keeping your electric car healthy is to keep on top of its condition by having a full annual service and, ideally, an interim service every six months too.

What are the most common problems with an electric car?

Even though electric cars have fewer parts that are sensitive to wear and tear, they are still prone to problems.

Common and sometimes complex problems with an electric car involve the high voltage system, regenerative braking, or the electric battery and its fluid. Servicing, repairing and maintaining these components will include plugging into the car's computer and analysing data rather than getting under the bonnet. So, it often requires the help of a trained expert.

Electric cars can also suffer from some of the same problems as fuel-powered cars. Issues with braking, steering and suspension could still crop up, as could tyre punctures and bodywork problems.  Luckily, these issues can be easily fixed in the same way as any other car – by finding a local mechanic to make repairs at a local garage.

Overall, the biggest benefit of an electric car, from a maintenance point of view, is that there are fewer opportunities for something to break or need to be replaced. However, it's important to remember to continue to get your car serviced just as often as a traditional vehicle to avoid more complex issues in the long run.