1. EVs Are Often Easier to Maintain Than Gas Vehicles
Electric vehicle (EV) powertrains are much simpler than internal combustion engines. They have significantly fewer parts, which are much smaller and lighter. One person can carry most EV motors. These motors don’t require oil changes, spark plug replacement, or oil or gas filter changes.
Moreover, most electric cars don’t rely on a complicated multi-speed transmission. Instead, most use a fixed-ratio, direct-drive setup. An EV also has no exhaust system, muffler, catalytic converter, fuel injector, or fuel pump.
Electric motors are not only reliable, long-lasting, and easy to maintain, but they also provide instant power on acceleration. They’re quiet, highly efficient, and don’t produce tailpipe emissions or odor. Let’s take a look at what it takes to maintain an electric car.
2. Electric Car Motors Don’t Need Regular Oil Changes
Even though electric motors require little maintenance, they still need to be serviced according to the manufacturer’s suggested schedule, which can be found in your owner’s manual. If you own a new EV, your local dealer should be able to handle your car’s scheduled maintenance. However, if you own an older model, you may have to search for a qualified mechanic with experience with electric motors.
Most EVs don’t need transmission maintenance or fluid changes. A lubricant may be required for the direct-drive system, but it’s usually a sealed system that doesn’t need to be changed. There are some exceptions, however. For example, the Tesla Model S service checklist mentions a transmission fluid service at 12 years or 150,000 miles, whichever comes first.
3. Take Good Care of Your Electric Car Battery
The battery pack is an electric vehicle’s largest, most expensive, and most critical component. Owners must understand battery care and charge: Your choices about your battery and charging habits will directly impact your EV’s longevity. The good news is that the steps for proper battery care are simple and easy to follow:
- Keep your battery’s state of charge between 20% and 80% whenever possible. Repeatedly charging the battery to full will cause it to degrade more quickly. That’s also true of leaving the battery at a low charge for an extended time. Most EVs have settings allowing you to choose when you’d like the battery to start charging and how much you’d like to set it.
- If you’re going on a long road trip, it’s OK to charge the battery to full and drive until it’s almost depleted, but this isn’t something you should do during regular daily driving. Chances are, you won’t need 100% of your EV’s range each day, so charging to 80% or less shouldn’t cause range anxiety. When you’re done driving for the day, plug your car in at home, and it should be adequately replenished by the time you need to use it the next day.
- Batteries don’t like extreme temperatures. When you can avoid it, don’t leave your EV parked in the hot sun for several hours. When it’s cold outside, put your car in your garage (if you have one). The cold won’t speed up your EV battery’s degradation but will temporarily reduce its range. Electric cars have more range in warmer temperatures than they do in colder temperatures. This is also true of gas cars, though it’s not as noticeable.
4. Buy a 240-Volt Home Charger
Charging at home is the most cost-effective and convenient option for most electric vehicle owners. You can charge any EV on a regular 110-volt household outlet, but that’s a very slow process. In most cases, you can add 2 to 5 miles of range per hour charging this way. This may suffice if you start with a full battery and don’t drive very many miles each day. This “trickle charging” practice will also extend your battery’s life.
Most EV owners choose to have a 240-volt Level 2 charger installed at their homes. This method adds from 10 to 60 miles of range each hour.
Public fast chargers are the way to go if you need even quicker charging or charge on a road trip. Today’s fastest public chargers can add 1,000 miles per hour or 75 miles in just five minutes. However, only certain vehicles can accept such a charge. Typical fast chargers are more likely to replenish 200 miles of range in an hour for most EVs. Remember, many factors impact these figures, such as temperature, battery size, the energy output of the charging station, and the capability of your car’s onboard charger. Make sure you understand your car’s abilities and limitations before charging.
It’s important to note that fast charging contributes to battery degradation. With that said, it’s an integral part of EV ownership, and electric cars are designed with fast charging in mind. Still, it’s a best practice for electric car maintenance to only fast-charge when necessary.
Learn more about How to Charge an Electric Car.
5. Electric Car Brakes Last Longer
Electric cars have regenerative braking systems that use motor resistance to slow the vehicle and send energy back into the battery. When you lift your foot off the accelerator pedal and hit the brake pedal, the vehicle’s electric motor can act as a generator and produce electricity back into the car’s battery pack.
Regenerative braking allows some EVs to feature one-pedal driving. Pressing on the accelerator pedal propels the car while lifting off the pedal engages the regen braking. EVs still have traditional friction brakes, but those tend to last much longer than on gas-powered vehicles, mainly if the driver relies heavily on the regen system and practices good driving habits, such as not tailgating or slamming on the brakes. In addition, when you press the brake pedal to engage the friction brakes, the regen system kicks in, so the friction brakes don’t have to do all the work independently.
It’s not uncommon for an EV to travel well over 100,000 miles before needing to replace the brakes. Several accounts of electric car owners with over 200,000 miles on their odometer have never had their brakes serviced.
6. Tire Maintenance Should Be the Same
Regular tire rotation is essential for all cars. It’s also imperative to check the air in your tires regularly and inspect them periodically to ensure they’re correctly balanced and aligned.
Some argue that electric cars’ considerable weight and instant torque can cause tires to be replaced more often than in conventional vehicles. However, this may only be the case if the car is driven hard and the driver routinely takes advantage of that torque. The same could be said about a heavy vehicle with a potent engine and lively acceleration, such as the Dodge Challenger or Ford Mustang.
If you’re concerned about your EV’s tires, get replacement tires specifically designed for electric cars. They tend to be quieter and more durable than traditional tires.
7. Electric Cars Require Fewer Fluids
Electric cars require few fluids. Like gas-powered cars, EVs have a thermal management system that involves coolant. You’ll also have to keep tabs on your car’s windshield wiper and brake fluid. All these fluids can be topped off easily. Check your owner’s manual to determine when a coolant system flush is required. At some point, you may also need to get your air conditioning refrigerant recharged.
8. Electric Car Warranties Are Better
EV warranties are arguably better than most gas-powered car warranties because they cover the most vital and expensive component for a long time. Specifically, federal regulations mandate that EVs have a battery warranty lasting at least 8 years or 100,000 miles.
The Hyundai Kona Electric has a lifetime battery warranty. The Tesla Model S and Model X have an 8-year/unlimited-mileage battery warranty. Tesla covers its entire powertrain for 8 years or 100,000 miles (unlimited miles in some models).
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