Why electric vehicles have lower maintenance costs

 In Fleet Management

The popularity of electric vehicles is increasing as battery technology is developed and a larger number of car manufacturers are investing in new production lines. Up to $90 billion has been invested by car manufactures globally. Among the various advantages of electric vehicles, the maintenance costs are considerably lower.

For fleet managers looking to cut costs, switching to a fleet of electric vehicles is a great option, but often comes with many questions because of the new technology. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why electric cars are less expensive to maintain than traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles.

Regenerative braking

Electric vehicles use regenerative braking to decelerate the car and in the process transfer energy to the battery that can be used to accelerate the car. The traditional braking system wastes a lot of kinetic energy that’s transferred to heat and then dissipated into the surrounding environment. Therefore, regenerative braking leads to lower operating costs as battery power is generated while driving.

Regenerative braking has a lower emphasis on the use of the braking pad. You’ll mostly be using it when you need to decelerate rapidly or come to a halt. Consequently, your brake pads will last significantly longer.

You may even find that a one pedal system is implemented such as in the Tesla Model 3 and Nissan LEAF.

The electric motor has fewer parts

An electric car motor has significantly fewer engine parts when compared to ICE vehicles, which means there is a smaller chance of a part breaking and requiring replacement. Once a component of an electric engine does break, it’s far easier to replace. Fewer trips to the mechanic means the fleet will have less downtime, and in turn, the consistency of the transportation is improved.

Furthermore, no oil change is required whereas with ICE vehicles an oil change is needed every 3-5,000 miles. For a fleet of vehicles, this is costly as you need to spend $45 per oil change on average.

It’s estimated that the overall maintenance costs per kilometer for an electric car is 1 cent per kilometer and for ICE vehicles it’s 3 times as much at 3 cents per kilometer.

Battery degradation (lack of)

The replacement cost of electric vehicle batteries is relatively high, but the rate of battery degradation is slow. For example, the Model S loses 5% of battery power after 50,000 miles, but after 100,000 miles that figure increases to just 8%. Data collected from simulations indicate that after 500,000 miles the battery capacity retention will be at around 80%, which is surprisingly good.

A number of factors affect battery life such as high temperatures, overcharging, deep discharges and high discharges. However, battery management system optimizes the use of the battery to ensure the rate of battery depreciation is reduced.

As battery technology improves you can expect batteries to last for longer and reduce maximum capacity at a slower rate. After all, this is an emerging technology that’s still in its infancy. Many EVs, like the Chevrolet Bolt, come with 8 year/160,000 km warranties on batteries.

Traditional maintenance costs

As a fleet manager, you will still need to consider traditional maintenance costs such as changing tires, ensuring the wiper blades are working, and damage the car sustains while out on the road. However, the overall maintenance bill will be significantly lower, allowing you to run more efficiently. The money saved on maintenance can be used to upgrade or expand your fleet to allow your business to grow.


Since EVs have lower maintenance costs, when extrapolated across the entire fleet, you can drastically reduce fleet operating costs. The vehicles will be on the road for longer with fewer instances where emergency repairs are required due to a faulty engine. For a business longer uptime and lower costs means that switching to electric vehicles is a positive ROI move.

When switching to an EV fleet, it is a great option to start with FleetCarma’s Electric Vehicle Suitability Assessment. We collect high-quality vehicle-side data to analyze and run efficiency diagnostics to create a final report. This report lets you forecast the effects of your fleet decisions. It also supports budgetary decisions by accurately forecasting ROI. After conducting hundreds of assessments for thousands of vehicles, we know how to find hidden savings in automotive fleets.

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