Electric vehicle maintenance
6 minutes readNovember 7, 2019

Electric vehicle maintenance

EV essentials | electric vehicle

Did you know that any electric car, be it a Tesla, a Renault Zoe or a Nissan Leaf, has 60% less parts than a combustion one? So that means a much simpler and cheaper maintenance!

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While it’s true that the cost of buying an electric vehicle is even higher compared to diesel and gasoline ones, we must take into account many other factors when thinking about moving on an electric car.

Why? Because, although the initial cost of removing it from the dealership is greater, the price difference will be compensated sooner than you imagine.

Thinks to consider

Besides the energy savings and the sustainability provided by electric vehicles, we must also take into account the cost of such vehicles. And precisely the overall cost of an electric is much lower and some of the factors that most influence are:

  • The cost of electricity against gasoline or diesel: driving 100km with an electric can cost us around € 1 with a night rate. Totally unthinkable with combustion one, right?

  • The bonuses in the traffic tax.

  • The bonuses in parking areas and even free zones, free charges or reduced ones.

  • The maintenance, which is much reduced thanks to the technical structure that has fewer parts, which provides much lower maintenance costs.

Did you know that electric car inspections (counting its maintenance and possible breakdowns) represent a saving of approximately 50% compared to one of combustion? While it’s true that the electrical diagnostic equipment is more expensive and will be reflected in the bill, the global maintenance is much cheaper.

Therefore, bonuses and savings in both fuel and maintenance make the initial price difference compensated in a short time. An EV is worthwhile as long as an average of 15,000km is made per year -for the moment, until the purchase prices match those of combustion, at which time they will be worthwhile even with much less mileage.

Electric car advantages

A combustion vehicle is characterized by having hundreds of pieces that go through high temperatures and mechanical wears. On the contrary, the pieces of an electric don’t need to go through these processes, since there are fewer systems involved and the possibility of breakdowns is reduced by a large percentage.

In addition, the fact of not having a clutch, filters, oil, spark plugs, connecting rods, gearbox, exhaust pipe, turbo or timing belt makes it maintenance being, in practice, non-existent :)

Therefore, we talk about a much simpler and more basic mechanical structure that guarantees us much less breakdowns. However, like any other electric machine, it requires the replacement of some of its parts and some maintenance, even if it’s minor.


So which is the real EV maintenance?

Well, there are common parts between combustion and electric vehicles that we must also take care of and pay attention to:

  • Shock absorbers and steering wheel

The steering wheel and shock absorbers system of any electric aren’t so different from those of combustion vehicles and must be properly maintained and checked to avoid possible breakdowns. It’s true that between two equivalent combustion and electric models, the electric one can have a greater weight due to the batteries, which may involve a little more wear.

  • The braking system

It’s recommended to renew the brake fluid of any vehicle approximately every 50,000km. But another advantage of EVs is that the brake pads can be replaced after many more kilometers because they last longer thanks to the regenerative braking system.

And precisely this system also helps to delay the wear of the brake discs, since it facilitates the reduction of the mechanical brake use, especially in urban areas. More than one EV taxi driver uses the same brake pads with more than 300,000km :)

  • The air filter

It’s recommended to change the air filter after 15,000km in any type of vehicle, whether diesel, gasoline, hybrid or electric.

  • The battery coolant

The liquid you use in an EV is different from the one you use in a combustion one, since the batteries can now be cooled in different ways: with hydrocarbon fluids, with water, with a mixture of glycol water, with dielectric oil... Therefore, each liquid should be checked according to the indications of the EV brand.

However, depending on the manufacturer and the car model, there are also other cooling ways (by air, for example), so you may not have to worry about this part of the maintenance of your EV.

  • The tires

And finally, like any other vehicle, we must also pay attention to the tires, whose tread must be greater than 1,6mm. Below this number, the grip decreases and is necessary changing the wheels. The good thing about the electric ones of having more starting torque is bad because it causes greater tire wear if we take each start as a competition ;)


The batteries, the heart of the matter

One of the aspects that generates more controversy around electric vehicles is about their respective batteries. The battery is the most important element of the EV and we must try to take care of it in order to extend its life, since over time they tend to wear out and lose some autonomy.

However, lithium batteries have a useful life between 10 and 15 years, with an autonomy that should not suffer significant losses during the first 8 years. In addition, taking into account that the majority daily use in urban areas is not usually more than 30km, we could charge every 6 days with a 200km autonomy car.

Once these 10 years have passed, our electric car will probably need a battery change. But here comes the heart of the matter, and it’s that the great handicap of the batteries is its high price, since they currently cost is between € 10,000 and € 20,000 depending on the model, whose price increases as the autonomy it offers also increases. Therefore, a battery replacement may not compensate us.

And this is where the controversy between buying a new car or replacing the battery is generated. But with the passage of time new possibilities are opened up in the market, such as the rental of a new battery or the use of pre-owned batteries at a more affordable price.

But by the time these 10 years have passed and your car's battery needs a change, the market for electric vehicles will have grown and evolved exponentially, so that the price of new batteries will have dropped considerably.

And what about the old battery? Does it pollute?

Not at all! The good thing about batteries is that they generate a large value chain since they close their cycle when their useful life is run out. That is, they can be reused for a second life or recycled their materials in a 95%.

When our EV battery has run out its useful life, that doesn’t mean that it has no longer energy storage capacity. In fact, it maintains about a 70% of its original capacity.

Thus, one of the most viable options is to use them for the storage of domestic energy or energy collected by solar panels and extend their useful life for 10, 20 and even 30 more years. Another option would be to reuse them to store energy for portable fast-charging stations, as Volkswagen Group has developed.

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