Electric Car Maintenance Costs: The Price of Owning an EV
Electric car maintenance costs are just one of the many factors new vehicle owners need to consider when purchasing an EV. At a glance, the cost per mile for electric vs gas can make electric vehicles seem very appealing. Add this to the government schemes in place to help people purchase electric cars and the rising demand for eco-friendly vehicles, and it’s easy to see why EVs are everywhere.
In fact, Grand View Research predicts the EV market will grow at a CAGR of 37.2% between 2021 and 2028, thanks to state mandates for zero-emission vehicles. However, before you jump into purchasing your own electric vehicle, it’s important to make sure you’re aware of all the expenses that come with your new purchase.
Here’s what you need to know about the cost of EV maintenance, servicing, and other hidden expenses.
Are Electric Cars Cheaper Than Gas?
The first thing you might need to think about is how much you’re going to spend on your vehicle initially. At the moment, when comparing the average price of an electric car vs a gas car, buying an EV is generally more expensive. Gasoline-powered vehicles are less innovative and, therefore, less expensive since R&D, and rare parts don’t increase their price as much as they do in the case of EVs.
However, this could change in the years to come as new, more efficient vehicles hit the market. Companies are discovering new technologies and less expensive batteries to make EVs more affordable to everyone. Eligible people can even access a $7,500 federal tax credit when purchasing an EV.
Outside of actually buying your car, you’ll also need to think about the gas vs electric cost for fuelling your vehicle. Notably, the price per mile can vary depending on whether you’re powering your car at home or using a station. Plus, some vehicles are more efficient than others. According to some studies, the electricity used to drive 15,000 miles per year in an electric vehicle is $550, compared to around $1,300 per year for gas.
Other reports on the cost per mile for an electric car suggest it costs around $0.045 per mile to drive an electric vehicle.
Cost of Maintenance on Electric Cars
After you’ve assessed the overall electricity vs gas cost for buying and running your car, you’ll need to think about the prices associated with maintenance. Electric vehicles come with specific maintenance requirements, including things like battery checks and tuning.
One report found that EV owners spend around 3 cents per mile on electric car maintenance. Alternatively, the average gas car will cost you around 6 cents per mile to maintain. However, there can be other costs to think about, such as replacing expensive batteries.
One of the major concerns many car owners have when budgeting for electric car maintenance costs is figuring out how much it will take to replace a broken battery. If your battery breaks and needs to be replaced entirely, it can cost more than $5,000.
Nevertheless, it’s worth noting that electric cars in the US generally come with a warranty to cover you for around 100,000 miles. Most cars also come with 12-volt lead-acid batteries, which work similarly to gas cars’ batteries, so they don’t need to be treated with additional care.
Other Costs of Servicing Electric Cars
Just like a regular car, an electric car needs to undergo regular maintenance and service checks. This is particularly important in areas with low temperatures, which can harm battery life.
The average electric vehicle maintenance cost over three years of ownership is usually around 30% lower than the costs of maintaining an internal-combustion engine car. Researchers also found that total service costs for 36 months on the road usually average out at around $514 compared to $749 for gas vehicles.
These electric car service predictions include potential costs for service campaigns, diagnostics, maintenance, warranty and recalls, software updates, and factory-installed option maintenance. Other routine costs of ownership, however, such as local and state inspections, seasonal tire changes, and recharging EV batteries, are not included.
Other Costs of Running Electric Cars
The cost of owning an electric car can be broken down into a number of categories, including everyday running, maintenance, and service. Notably, research into these expenses has found that the cost of managing your electric car can vary based on where you live, what kind of vehicle you drive, and various other factors.
One report looking at the cost of electric cars vs gas per state found the average cost to run an electric vehicle in the USA is around $3,679. If you factor in the purchasing cost, this increases to around $10,360 per year. Alternatively, the cost to run a gas vehicle is $4,336 per year on average, or $8,691 when you factor in purchasing costs.
Notably, when looking at electric vehicle maintenance costs and other expenses throughout the USA, the report found Oregon was the cheapest state to run an electric vehicle in, at around $2,474 per year on average. On the flip side, Michigan was the most expensive at $5,076 per year.
Hidden Costs of Owning an Electric Car
It’s important to note that all of the costs of running an electric car aren’t immediately apparent on the surface. Even if you consider your electric car maintenance costs, the purchasing price, and the cost of fuel, you may still overlook some important areas.
Here are some hidden costs to think about when calculating electric car vs gas car costs:
High registration fees: Some states have a gas tax to help pay for road repairs in various locations. Because EV owners don’t pay this tax, states are adding in additional registration fees for electric vehicles. This cost can vary from state to state but can range from around $50 to $200 per year, depending on where you live.
Road charging: The cost of an electric car per mile varies when you’re charging your vehicle on the road. Some states allow pricing based on the kWh, while others charge for pricing on a per-minute basis. The exact price you pay will depend on the charging stations you use.
Insurance premiums: The insurance premiums you pay for an electric car might be slightly higher than what you would expect to pay for a gas car, by up to 25%. This is because maintenance for electric cars can sometimes be more expensive. It’s important to check for the best price when searching for premiums.
Accessing add-ons: If you want specialist features like self-driving capabilities and acceleration boosts added to your car, this will increase the cost. Not only will you need to pay thousands to access the feature initially, but some features will increase the costs of your electric car’s maintenance. Self-driving from Tesla costs around $10,000 to unlock.
Home charging stations: If you want to avoid the high costs of charging your vehicle on the road, you’ll need to install a home charging station. This can cost around $1,500, depending on labor costs, permits, and other components. You may also need to buy a specialist charger for your car’s make, which increases the running costs of electric cars.
Are Electric Cars Worth It?
Electric cars have a lot of benefits. Even with all the electric car maintenance costs to consider, you can save money overall on servicing and running your vehicle. However, it’s important to make sure you’re fully aware of all the running costs of your electric car and the various service expenses you might encounter before you invest in it.