One of the more positive aspects electric vehicle ownership is that they are cheaper to run than their gas-fueled counterparts, and will cost less to maintain in that there are fewer components like an alternator, radiator, filters, belts, and hoses that will eventually need replacing. But that doesn’t necessarily mean EVs are bulletproof.
There’s still the usual wear-and-tear items like headlights and taillights, tires, windshield wiper blades, and braking and suspension components that will eventually need to be serviced, and would not typically be covered under a new-vehicle warranty. Plus there’s the cost to fix whatever damage the car might incur if it gets into a wreck.
Unfortunately, not all mechanics are trained to work specifically on electric cars, which more or less forces an owner to rely on a dealership’s service department, with parts and labor typically costing more than at a neighborhood garage. Those owning a luxury-brand EV will pay the highest repair costs to cover the cost of the waiting room expresso bar and top-shelf loaner cars.
On the plus side, EV owners will save some cash by not having to replace brake pads and components as frequently, at least if they engage their models’ maximum regenerative braking function to recapture energy during deceleration and send it back to the battery. This lets the electric motor(s) do all the heavy work in slowing the vehicle to a stop, with the driver using the actual brakes far less frequently than with a conventionally powered model.
On the down side, if the vehicle is in an accident and its battery pack is wrecked in the process, the cost of replacing it could well total the car for insurance purposes.
But as we discovered things do have a way of evening out, with most differences in long-term repair charges between some comparable electric and internal combustion models being negligible according to the KBB.com and Edmunds.com five-year ownership cost databases.
For example, KBB says the average Hyundai Kona Electric SUV owner will spend $734 over a five-year period for expected repairs, while a comparable gas-only Kona will cost the same amount for ongoing fixes. Ditto with the electric and conventionally powered Kia Niro, at a predicted $686 each over a five-year period. On the luxury side of the ledger, the website estimates a Porsche Taycan will cost an owner $3,053 to keep running over five years, while a comparable Porsche Panamera will incur a slightly less $2,897 in repair costs.
Here’s a look at predicted five-year ownership costs for select EVs from the 2022 model year, though note that data for some of the most-recently introduced models is not yet posted:
- Audi e-tron: $1,880
- Audi e-tron Sportback: $1,880
- Audi e-tron GT: $1,635
- Audi Q4 e-tron: $1,523
- Chevrolet Bolt: EV $773
- Chevrolet Bolt: EUV $773
- Ford Mustang Mach-E: $760
- Hyundai Kona Electric: $734
- Jaguar i-PACE: $1,061
- Kia Niro EV: $686
- MINI SE: $1,503
- Nissan Leaf: $1,724
- Porsche Taycan: $3,053
- Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo: $2,897
- Tesla Model 3: $1,551
- Tesla Model S: $1,623
- Tesla Model X: $1,623
- Tesla Model Y: $1,623
- Volvo XC40 Recharge: $1,727
Sources: KBB.com, Edmunds.com
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