Electric Car Maintenance A Third Cheaper Than Combustion Vehicles?

Editor’s Note: EarthTechling is proud to repost this article courtesy of Green Car Reports. Author credit goes to Antony Ingram.

Driving an electric car has plenty of advantages, but many owners also like the simplicity of their vehicles.

An electric motor is incredibly simple in operation. In contrast, internal combustion engines can be made up of hundreds of parts–even thousands, in particularly advanced engines.

That’s why it’s perhaps unsurprising to hear that new research suggests electric cars could cost 35 percent less to maintain than their combustion counterparts (via TheGreenCarWebsite).

image copyright EarthTechling

A study conducted at the Institute for Automotive Research (IFA) at the Nürtingen-Geislingen University in southern Germany, concluded that an EV’s simplicity pays dividends over longer ownership periods.

While the initial cost of electric cars is still high, they’re not only cheaper to “fuel”, but are expected to chew through consumable items much more slowly.

The study found that over eight years, with a relatively low annual mileage of 5,000 miles per year, a typical small, combustion-engined car would cost 3,650 Euros, or $4,770 in maintenance.

That includes typical maintenance like oil changes, brakes, tires, spark plugs, filters and more.

In contrast, an equivalent electric vehicle would cost only 2,350 Euros–$3,071.

Not only do electric vehicles lack many of the components found on internal combustion vehicles, but remaining consumables like brakes tend to last longer–something even drivers of more conventional hybrid vehicles are finding.

It’s an aspect even the carmakers themselves are pushing as a big advantage–Ford compiled a list of all the parts its Focus Electric doesn’t have, showing just how little maintenance the car needs.

The figures will naturally vary depending on the cars being compared, and the research doesn’t take into account the cost of replacing battery packs, when they eventually wear out.

Even so, it still points towards EVs being considerably cheaper to run–particularly for the first owner, who may not have to worry about the car’s long-term costs.

If you drive an electric car, how are you finding maintenance costs compared to your previous vehicle? Leave us your thoughts below.

1 Comment

  • Reply December 17, 2012


    It makes sense that they will be cheaper to maintain (unless battery longevity estimates turn out to be as bogus as CFL Bulb life estimates were), but I don’t think cost is much of a driving factor in EV markets. At least not in the US.

    With relatively short range and long re-fueling times you simply lose too much freedom of movement with an EV. That’s not something Americans are going to compromise on in large numbers.

    If the range allowed you to drive ~10 hours and then stop to recharge or if recharging took 10 minutes or less, then I think you’d see them break out of their niche market into the mainstream, even at current prices.

    Until then, I’m not sure that marketing cost analysis is going to have any effect on sales.

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