How to maintain an electric car

With electric cars becoming increasingly popular, one of the most common concerns amongst drivers and potential electric car buyers is how to maintain them.

An ongoing myth about electric cars is that they are difficult and expensive to maintain. However, this isn’t always the case. In fact, it’s estimated that electric vehicles will actually be cheaper than regular cars by 2025 purely because they are cheaper to maintain.

But, what sort of maintenance does an electric car need?

In this article, we’re going to cover what sort of maintenance an electric car needs, how much it will cost, and how to maintain your electric car at home.

Electric car vs. standard fuel car; which is cheaper to maintain?

Contrary to popular belief, it is not that expensive to maintain an electric car. Maintaining and working on an electric battery is actually easier than maintaining a combustion engine.

A combustion engine contains hundreds of working parts, whereas an electric motor contains around half a dozen. The parts in an electric engine are also much easier to replace and don’t wear out as quickly.

However, your problem may lie in finding somebody to service and maintain your electric car. While they are becoming more popular, they are still not as common as combustion engine cars. And because of that, your local garage may not have somebody who is trained or experienced in maintaining and servicing electric cars. So, this may be a problem initially.

How to maintain an electric car

Another thing you might want to think about is the battery. An electric car battery works in the same way as your phone battery does in that it does wear down over time. It will happen gradually, in the same way your phone battery goes down gradually. You won’t get in your car one day to find it simply doesn’t start, but if you find you have to charge your battery up more often, then you could be due a new battery. It’s estimated that an electric car battery is good for about 100,000 miles, so you will have a while before it comes to replacing it.

How much will it cost to replace an electric battery

Electric batteries are expensive to replace. To replace a battery in a Nissan Leaf, you’re looking at about £4,920. Yeah, pretty expensive.

However, there is a way around that. Nissan offer a lease arrangement on a battery, which means you pay extra a month for a battery but when it dies, it’s replaced. If you choose to do this, you’ll be looking at an extra £55-75 a month.

Though we think it should be noted that electric car batteries are coming down in price rapidly due to the increased sales. So, while they are expensive now, they could well be much cheaper when it comes to replacing your battery.

Servicing your electric car

Like all cars, electric cars have to be serviced. However, electric cars are considerably cheaper to service because they have less parts and are much more simple in terms of how they work.

How often should I get my electric car serviced?

An electric car should be serviced at the same intervals as a car with a combustion engine. However, the services are usually minor as they have less parts to be looked at.

Where should I get my electric car serviced?

white car being repaired in a garage with a man in a blue and white jumpsuit repairing it

You might not be able to get your electric car serviced at your local garage. This is because not every mechanic is trained in working with electric cars and it can be dangerous if they attempt it without having the qualifications.

You should be able to go to your nearest dealership to have your car serviced.

What happens when an electric car is serviced?

Electric cars are serviced in a slightly different way to combustion engine vehicles. There’s no oil, pistons, valves, gears etc.

Also, with electric cars, the brakes don’t wear down as quickly either. The retarding action of the electric motor means that the friction brakes are rarely used.

So there’s not much to check. You may also get updates or upgrades to infotainment systems etc.

How much will it cost to service my electric car?

Each electric car varies, but Nissan predict that servicing their Leaf will cost you around £11 a month. This is compared to £30 for a Ford Focus.

Can you extend the battery life on an electric car?

There are some things that you can do that help extend the life of the battery on an electric car, for example;

  • Avoid fully charging your electric car
    • Nissan tell owners of the Leaf to stop charging at 80%. While this reduces your range, it can increase the lifespan of your battery.
    • Another advantage of this is that it leaves room for regenerative braking, which is often turned off if the battery is at full charge to avoid overcharging the batteries.
blue car parked being charged up by an electric charging point
  • Avoid running the battery down
    • Try not to let the battery run dead. Lithium-ion packs prefer partial cycle rather than running down. Nissan recommend that you keep their fuel bars between 10 and 2, so not too high and not too low. Treat it as you would a petrol engine, you wouldn’t let that run down too low.
  • If you have a plug-in, turn the electric battery off at certain points
    • For example, if you’re about to battle a hill, switch to pure fuel for that part of your journey. This will stop the battery being drained.

Top tips for maintaining your electric car

There’s no big secret to maintaining your electric car, it’s pretty much the same as a standard, fuel powered car. However, here are some of the things you can do to make sure your electric car is kept in tip top shape;

 

  • Look after your tyres
    • Electric cars can be heavier due to their batteries and they also deliver instant torque which can affect the lifespan of your tyres. Avoid hard acceleration or pushing hard into a turn unnecessarily. You should also care for your tyres as per the manufacturer’s guidelines.
  • Coolant system
    • Like a fuel powered car, electric cars with a thermal management system will need their coolant levels topped up from time to time.
  • Fluid check  
    • The only other fluids that are in your electric car are the brake fluid and the windscreen washer fluid. You need to check these regularly and top them up if needed.
  • Look after your battery
    • If you follow the tips in the above section, you will prolong the life of your battery.
  • Get it serviced
    • This is the same for all cars and is the best way to keep your car in tip top shape. Servicing does cost money, but it’s worth it in the long run.

 

In conclusion, the best way to maintain your electric car is to look after your battery and your tyres. You can look after your battery by making sure that you don’t fully charge it all the time but also don’t run it down so it’s dead. To keep your tyres maintained, avoid hard acceleration otherwise you will wear the tyres down.

Maintaining your lease car Try this handy guide to maintaining your car

Holly Martin

Content Co-ordinator at OSV Ltd
Holly enjoys: Reading, music and spending time with friends.

Within a week of Holly starting work at OSV she became an indispensable part of the marketing team. She's very intuitive and gets on with the whole office effortlessly.
Holly Martin

2 Comments

  • Bill Jay| 27th April 2019 at 10:49 am Reply

    Great article!!! Electric cars are the inevitable future and we must know how to maintain them as early as possible in order to ensure brighter days in the future with regards to automobiles.

    • Rachel Richardson| 29th April 2019 at 9:27 am Reply

      Hi Bill,
      It is definitely starting to look as though electric cars are the future, though there will always be hold-outs. Time will certainly tell.

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