Petrol is quickly becoming the monster under the bed, as rising prices put the nation (and car owners across the globe) on edge. But some are more concerned than others. Electric car owners have never had more opportunity to gloat about their choice. And for us stuck in the petrol station queue, we’ve never had more time, or reason, to reconsider.
Electric cars have been growing in popularity for years now. But only recently has it felt like they’ve truly entered the mainstream, largely off the back of growing concern over petrol. And while it’s common knowledge that charging an EV costs less than fuel, what can you expect in terms of other ongoing costs such as servicing and maintenance?
Do you need to service an electric car?
Yes. Electric cars offer a lot of benefits, and one of those is that there are fewer parts to maintain and service. But while this may reduce the likelihood of mechanical failures and issues, and reduce the level of maintenance needed, servicing is still needed.
The average EV only has around 20 moving parts, compared to over 2000 in an internal combustion engine vehicle. So you should expect less work is required to keep your electric car on the road.
But plenty of the regular stuff still needs to be done, such as wheel alignments, checking of brake pads, computer and electronics, and even topping up windshield fluids.
How often should you service an electric car?
This part’s a little less clear, and opinions can differ. For example, most mechanics recommend you should continue servicing your EV as often as you would your petrol car – annually, or every 10,000-20,000km.
However, both Meridian Energy and Drive Electric suggest that EVs rarely need any servicing at all. Though no time frames are given. Furthermore, Tesla removed its annual servicing requirements altogether. It now states that you only need periodic, as-needed servicing of brake fluid, pads, calipers, filters, and air conditioning.
Generally, the safest bet is to talk to the dealership where your bought your EV, and to refer to the user manual. But it’s realistic to take your mechanic’s advice, and to factor in annual servicing at the same time as your WoF, to ensure your EV is in good working order.
Check your warranty
It’s well documented that EV battery replacements can be costly. Thankfully, new EVs come with extensive battery warranties. However, your EV’s warranty may stipulate maintenance and servicing requirements. If you fail to meet those requirements, your warranty could lapse.
So, even if you feel your car is fine without a service, if it’s required as part of your warranty, get it done!
Can I service my electric car at any garage?
Servicing an EV is different to a petrol model and requires expert knowledge. And not all mechanics currently offer EV services, so check before booking. However, EVs are growing in popularity by the day, and you can expect more and more mechanics to begin offering EV servicing and repairs.
Furthermore, many car manufacturers have their own specialist service technicians, such as Tesla and Hyundai. And they can happily service your EV for you, even if your usual garage can’t.
EV service costs
When you service an electric car, you won’t have to worry about (or pay for) things like oil changes, cooling system flushes, transmission servicing, and replacing the air filter, spark plugs and drive belts. All this should make your service costs cheaper, and studies coming out of the United States back this up.
But how much of this saving is passed onto you will depend on the person carrying out the service.
Most mechanics don’t advertise EV service pricing. Instead, they offer it depending on the make and model, so you might have to request a few quotes to find the best deals. Pit Stop does, however, advertise EV servicing starting from $189. That’s $10 cheaper than its extensive service and $100 cheaper than its elite service.
One potential issue that could impact the price of EV servicing is the lack of competition. There are simply fewer mechanics offering EV servicing, so the incentive to lower servicing costs might not be there yet. Furthermore, a lack of familiarity with many EV models means that servicing EVs can be time consuming and difficult.
As time goes on and EVs become more popular, you would expect this to change, which should bring down servicing costs. But it’s difficult to predict what the EV landscape will look like in a few years’ time.
Servicing a hybrid
Servicing a hybrid is similar to servicing an EV – you need a mechanic that knows what they’re doing. Mechanics that offer EV servicing should also offer hybrid car servicing, although servicing costs may be more expensive. For example, Pit Stop has a hybrid servicing package starting from $295.
→Related article: Should You Buy a Hybrid? The Best Hybrid Cars in New Zealand
EV battery maintenance tips
For the most part, EV maintenance isn’t too dissimilar to regular car maintenance. But to get the most life out of your EVs battery:
- Consider your parking – extreme temperatures can impact your battery life. Parking under shade on a hot day, or in a garage in the snow (for those down south) is a great way to keep your battery capacity as high as can be.
- Don’t overcharge – leaving your car plugged in all night can be bad for the battery. Aim to charge your battery to about 80%, (unless you have a long road trip the next day) and then unplug it. Likewise, don’t leave your car sitting around with little or no battery.
- Avoid fast charging too regularly – fast charging can degrade the battery faster than standard at-home charging. These should only be used when you need to charge and you’re not at home, such as on a road trip.
About the author of this page
This report was written by Canstar Content Producer, Andrew Broadley. Andrew is an experienced writer with a wide range of industry experience. Starting out, he cut his teeth working as a writer for print and online magazines, and he has worked in both journalism and editorial roles. His content has covered lifestyle and culture, marketing and, more recently, finance for Canstar.