Guide to electric car maintenance

How does electric car maintenance compare to that of cars with combustion engines?

Electric cars are cheaper to fuel, tax (€120 per annum) and maintain in the long run over your traditional combustion-powered vehicle. 

Charging aside, there are fewer moving parts with electric cars. The lack of engine oils, plugs, belts, and filters make service trips few and far between. Even brakes last a great deal longer than their petrol and diesel equivalents, thanks to highly efficient regenerative braking systems. You simply lift your foot off the accelerator and allow the vehicle to slow up on regen braking. Varying levels of regenerative braking can be used, depending on the type of electric vehicle (EV).

Are electric cars more expensive to maintain in Ireland?

Electric cars are no more expensive to maintain in Ireland than in any other country, and most are cheaper to maintain than your current combustion-powered vehicle. Essential service trips are much less frequent, and if you carry out basic inspections according to your weekly mileage, you should find running your EV perfectly manageable. 

How often do electric cars need to be serviced?

Unlike combustion powered cars with annual or semi-annual service intervals, EVs need less frequent servicing, provided you carry out some standard health checks. Always be sure your tyres are in good health and properly inflated. Keep the screen-wash bottle topped up with the correct solution and make sure the brake oil level is maintained at its maximum.

Most EVs are so sophisticated that they will warn you in advance of any issues, but it’s a good idea to practice routine checks. At around 15000km, new wiper blades will likely be needed. When a service light does pop up, it will have to be returned to the service department of your chosen dealer for inspection. 

Aside from the basic checks you have carried out, the trained technicians will check the power inverter, accessory power, and charger modules along with the drivetrain to make sure there is no wear on the shafts. Any parts needing lubrication will be treated, and the vehicle might be due a new cabin filter or aircon gas top-up. All going well, you will be back on the road in a few hours. 

What maintenance issues do electric cars have?

Electric cars don’t suffer from particular issues, but they can be harder on tyres than a normal combustion car. As the overall weight of the vehicle tends to be higher and acceleration that bit faster, you could find yourself wearing out tyres a little quicker. The linear power delivery from standstill that EVs produce can be addictive, but this habit makes it harder on the vehicle.

Keep tyre pressures topped up to the specified level, and watch for even wear across the tyre. Should you see more wear to the inner side of the tyre, you may need a wheel alignment. This can easily be rectified at any tyre supplier. Keep in mind your electric vehicle could also be fitted with specific tyres for electric vehicles. Some manufacturers offer tyres with less rolling resistance and tougher sidewalls to cope with the demands of an EV. 

What about the battery life? Should I be worried?

Most drivers are concerned with an EVs battery life above all else. Thankfully, this is where the majority of manufacturers have invested in most, and the battery longevity of EVs is getting better each year. While the battery is the most expensive component to replace, a manufacturers’ warranty on the battery components is generally between 5 to 8 years. 

Some automakers offer extended warranties on batteries, but if you are a Nifti customer, it’s most likely something you’ll never need to worry about. Your lease term will have passed well within the battery warranty period and you will more than likely be on to a new vehicle. If your garage technician tells you that your EV needs a new battery, he will more than likely be referring to the standard 12-volt battery that all cars have. This is often used just to power cabin components and sometimes needs replacing, but it has nothing to do with the major drivetrain battery pack.

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