How To Maintain An Electric Car
People often believe that electric cars are expensive and tricky to maintain. While this may have been true in the past, the truth is that nowadays electric vehicles are much more advanced and mechanics have a far better knowledge of how to examine and maintain them. Read on to find out more about the maintenance required for electric vehicles.
What maintenance does an electric car need?
With the current state of electric vehicles, maintaining an electric battery system is actually not as difficult as maintaining a traditional combustion engine. Other advancements such as regenerative braking also mean that the brake systems on electric cars tend to have a longer lifespan too. For all-electric vehicles (AEVs) this is true for the rest of the car too - AEVs contain fewer components and fluids than non-electric vehicles, which means fewer parts to maintain and repair. In particular, there is no clutch as electric vehicles use a single-speed gearbox.
While this may be true for AEVs, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) are maintained similarly to traditional vehicles as they contain a regular combustion engine. So although these cars do benefit from an electric battery system, the presence of these traditional motor parts means the level of mechanical maintenance (in addition to electrical maintenance) is basically the same as a non-electric car.
How much are electric car maintenance costs?
There are a couple of things to factor in when thinking about electric car maintenance costs. Firstly there is the cost of the parts themselves, and secondly the cost and availability of maintenance services. The benefit of an electric battery system is that it contains far fewer parts than a traditional combustion engine, which means there are fewer things which could go wrong and the parts are much easier to replace.
Though electric vehicles are becoming more and more common, it can sometimes still be tricky to find a mechanic who is experienced and knowledgeable enough about electric cars to provide a thorough service and carry out any repair work. If you are struggling to find someone to service your electric vehicle, you should be able to go back to the dealership from which you bought it (or any other electric car dealership).
When your electric battery finally comes to need replacing, you can expect this to be quite expensive. Most batteries on the current market cost a few thousand pounds to replace.
What is the lifespan of an electric car?
As with any vehicle, the lifespan of your electric car will be impacted by how well you maintain it, how often it is driven, and where you drive it. In general, however, for electric cars bought today you should expect the electric battery system to come with a warranty for around 8 years and 100,000 miles.
Over this 8 year period though, performance will decline. If using your electric vehicle as a typical regular road user, this decline could potentially fall to 60% of the original performance. Therefore, if your car was initially capable of driving 100 miles without needing a charge, this could fall to 60 miles. However, electric car companies are working all the time to extend the life of their battery systems, so we can expect to see this lifespan increase in the near future. Replacing the battery can be relatively expensive but this cost can be offset by selling the old battery, and a new battery will essentially give you the performance of a brand new car.
Tips for maintaining an electric vehicle
In order to keep your electric car running in great condition, you should make sure to get it serviced regularly and to keep an eye out for the following things.
In order to extend the life of your electric battery as much as possible, you should aim to keep your battery charged within the parameters recommended by the supplier. Most cars will have an optimum charge level that sits below 80% of a full charge, whilst also not running the battery down completely. Lithium-ion batteries perform better using partial cycles, so bear this in mind when charging your vehicle. Although keeping your car charged below 80% will have an impact on the mileage you can get out of a single charge, it will pay off dividends in the overall lifespan of your electric car.
Check your fluids
One of the benefits of an electric car is that you have far fewer fluids present in your car, so really you will only need to keep an eye on your brake fluid and your windscreen wiper fluid. Make sure to keep an eye on their levels and top them up as necessary.
If your car has a thermal management system in place, as with a regular vehicle you will need to make sure your coolant levels are monitored and topped up as required.
Maintain your tyres
As with any vehicle, make sure to monitor the inflation and tread of your tyres for optimal performance. This is especially important for electric vehicles, however, as the weight of an electric battery can be significantly more than that of a traditional engine. Drive carefully and sensibly, avoiding sudden acceleration, swerving, or braking.