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Are EVs More Expensive to Maintain than Traditional Engines?

Are EVs cheaper to maintain than gas powered cars?

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Car owners often have questions about the maintenance and upkeep of electric vehicles. Maintenance costs are an important part of long-term planning for a car purchase. Before making your decision, it’s a good idea to compare the expenses that come with electric vehicles and gas-powered vehicles.

Generally, EVs cost much less to maintain than traditional cars. Since EVs have a battery instead of an engine, they have fewer moving parts that need replacing. A recent study found that EVs cost nearly a third less to service over the first three years of ownership than combustion engine cars. 

To help cover the specifics, we’ve put together a guide comparing the maintenance costs of EVs and traditional vehicles.

Gas Powered Vehicle Maintenance 

When it comes to internal combustion engines (ICE,) there are many expenses that car owners take on as a responsibility when buying a car. These costs are often recurring and can grow quite costly.

Oil Changes

Regular oil changes are one of the most important parts of maintenance for gas-powered vehicles. In addition to the price of getting your oil changed, the process takes time. This leads to the inconvenience of leaving your car at the repair center for much of the day. 

Oil change prices can range from $20 to $100 when done at a car repair shop. The price difference is thanks to a variety of factors from oil type to shop quality to car requirements. Either way, it’s an added expense that can get quite frequent depending on how frequently you are driving. 

Fuel Pricing 

When it comes to saving money with an EV, fuel prices are often the first thing that comes to mind. Charging your vehicle’s battery costs significantly less than filling your gas tank. 

The amount of gas necessary to drive 15,000 miles per year is $1,255 on average. Meanwhile, the electricity required for a compact electric vehicle costs $536 on average. That makes for a 130% increase in fuel price from an electric vehicle to a gas-powered one. 

Air Filter Replacements

Gas-powered vehicles come equipped with an intake system designed to transfer air from outside the car into the engine. A filter placed at the opening of the intake system ensures that no dust or debris gets in. The consequences of which would potentially be hefty damage to the engine. 

It’s recommended to change your air filter every 30,000 to 45,000 miles, but more frequently if you drive on unpaved roads. At a vehicle repair shop, the average replacement cost for an air filter is $40 to $85.

Transmission Fluid Changes

A gas-powered vehicle’s transmission is important to many processes. It handles actuating gear changes, transferring power from the engine to the transmission, and removing excess heat. The transmission fluid becomes thin and dirty over time, losing its ability to remove heat. This can cause the transmission to wear out much faster than it should.

Car owners must change transmission fluid should regularly. Specifically, about every 30,000 to 60,000 miles driven. The average cost for a transmission fluid change at a service center ranges from $80 to $250 depending on the specific car. 

Maintenance Required for Both 

Here are some of the items that car owners can expect to pay for with both electric and ICE vehicles:

Brake Replacements 

Replacing your brakes is important for driver safety the recommendation is to do so every 25,000 to 70,000 miles you drive. This number fluctuates based on factors such as your driving style and brake pad quality. Average replacement costs vary from $155 to $270 per axel

Electric vehicles also will need to have brake replacements, but less often than gas-powered vehicles. EVs utilize a regenerative braking system, where the car recovers energy as it coasts and stores it back in the battery. 

This improves the vehicle’s efficiency while lessening the wear and tear on the brakes. So although you’ll still need to replace your brakes eventually, you’ll be spending less than you would on a gas-powered vehicle. 

Tire Rotations

Just like the braking system, maintaining your tires is necessary for safety when driving. Tires rotations should occur about every 5,000 to 8,000 miles, depending on the make and model of your car, how often you drive, and the type of roads you drive on. 

Tire rotation prices range from $24 to $129 at a vehicle repair shop. Getting advice from professionals can help you to determine the best tire rotation pattern for your vehicle. 

Electric Vehicle Maintenance 

With new technology comes new concerns. Let’s discuss the maintenance items that are unique to electric vehicles.

Battery Replacements

The batteries in electric vehicles work to efficiently organize and store energy. This energy is then used to power the electric motor, as well as accessories like air conditioning and audio systems. Most EV batteries consist of lithium-ion and lithium polymer cells arranged are for maximize power density.

On average, EV batteries need a replacement every 8 to 10 years, or between 80,000 to 15,000 miles. Currently, battery prices range from $2,000 to $10,000. Prices are likely to drop significantly in the next 10 years as manufacturing production processes improve.

The better you maintain the battery, the less often you’ll need to replace it. By following these tips, you can promote better battery health. 

It’s a good idea to bring your battery to 80% charge at maximum, as opposed to a full 100%. In addition, try to find a charging source before your battery hits 0%. Keeping your charge within the range can help extend the life of your battery. 

EV batteries last longer when kept in mild climates. In extreme heat or cold, the battery will degrade at a slightly faster rate. Therefore, if possible, you should keep your EV in a climate-controlled area such as a garage. 

Conclusion

Overall, owning an EV means saving hundreds of dollars on maintenance. The vast majority of EV users have a positive outlook on their experience with their vehicles. 96% of EV users reported that they would buy or lease another EV the next time they were choosing a car. 

The electric vehicle movement is obvious and upon us. As gas prices have skyrocketed, more people are getting excited about a future where it’s no longer needed. While the industry is still working to fix its shortage in supply, the demand and interest are creeping up steadily!

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