Do electric cars require engine or battery maintenance?

By Julia Freeman

There are some exaggerated claims about electric cars never needing car servicing, but at least the one about their engines is true, because they don’t have one. Electric cars replace the engine with a motor, driven by big heavy traction batteries. Hybrids, of course, have both. Let’s examine the claim about their service requirements in more detail.

Electric Car

Manufacturer recommendations

EV manufacturers recommend cars are serviced at the same intervals as petrol and diesel vehicles and warn that failing to carry out regular maintenance could invalidate your warranty. The principle point of a service after all is to prevent problems and ensure the vehicle and its components achieve their maximum possible lifespan. Given the very high cost of some electric vehicle parts, especially the battery, this makes a lot of sense.

Nevertheless, a figure freely bandied around the internet is that car servicing costs will be just 1/3rd of conventional cars. More reputable surveys have found that car servicing typically costs about 20% less. While electric motors have fewer moving parts than engines, the most common items found to need attention during a service are components such as tyres, coolants, brakes, wipers, lights, electrics, fans, bodywork, windscreens, suspension, batteries, cables, hosing and steering.

Although there is no exhaust, EV’s have a lot of high voltage cabling, electronic sensors and actuators, as well as an air-con system that plays an important role in battery cooling. The heavy battery and high traction also put more strain on the tyres and suspension.

Batteries

Many EV’s have a starter battery as well as a high voltage traction battery. Starter batteries are much like ordinary car batteries and need checking regularly. The traction battery is easily the most expensive component in an EV, so the good news is that they require little servicing. At Protyre, we check their posts, cables, brackets, recharging socket, and power output. The bad news is that if anything goes wrong with the traction battery there is little that anyone can do. Since they cost thousands of pounds, one of the main points of an EV service is to protect the lifespan of this battery.

In an EV, anything affecting efficiency accelerates battery aging. So too do temperature extremes, electrical shorts, gearing or motor issues. It is therefore vital to perform regular checks on tyre condition and inflation pressures, cooling fluids, air conditioning, differential fluid, wiring and all electrical systems.

Tyres

Because range is all important in an electric car, our tyre professionals recommend changing tyres before they reach the 3mm tread depth recommended for tyres on conventional cars. Choose tyres for durability and you shouldn’t need to change them so often. In any case, durable XL tyres are the obvious choice for electric vehicles because of the weight of the battery and high torque of the motor.

Pirelli have recently created a range for electric vehicles, called the Pirelli Elect which are highly regarded. However, there are many competitively priced XL tyres from leading manufacturers such as the Bridgestone Turanza T005, the Falken Sincera and Ziex, and the Sumitomo BC100.

The local garage you can trust

Don’t follow bad advice and neglect your electric car or hybrid. Specialist training is required to work with high voltages so not all of our centres are currently able to offer electric vehicle servicing, however this number is growing all the time. To find out which of our centres can service your electric vehicle, or to speak to one of our fully qualified electric fitters and mechanics, simply click the button below and enter your vehicle registration.

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About the author

Article Author Photo
By Julia Freeman
Julia is Head of Retail Marketing for Protyre and loves engaging with customers and the business as a whole to make sure Protyre is more than just a local garage.
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