EV vs. Petrol: What does annual maintenance look like?

Nissan Leaf Diagnostic

If you are thinking about buying an electric or hybrid vehicle you have probably already done a bit of research around the cars range and how much you stand to save not buying fuel. But have you considered the cost of maintenance? There are far fewer moving parts on many of these types of vehicles, and that equates to less things that can go wrong. So, does that actually translate into lower maintenance costs?

Let’s outline the differences between a hybrid and fully electric vehicle first…

Hybrid vehicles get their power from a battery and a small internal combustion engine. Hybrids fall into the subcategories of HEV (Hybrid Electric Vehicles) or PHEVs (Plug in Electric Vehicles) differentiating between vehicles that self regenerate their batteries as they move along or through braking (HEV’s), and vehicles that require an external source of power i.e. being plugged in (PHEVs). Hybrids usually have a small electric range. The 2021 Toyota Prius Prime has a 51.9km electric range, but this is combined with a 1.8ltr petrol engine.

Electric vehicles or EV’s are exclusively powered by their electric motor(s). Ranges have improved significantly in recent years, with the latest Tesla Long Range model boasting 580km on a single charge.

Maintenance Comparison

As hybrid vehicles still have internal combustion engines they face most of the traditional maintenance requirements of a petrol or diesel powered vehicle. Models that include regenerative braking systems often benefit from reduced wear and tear on the brake pads, but on the whole you can expect hybrid maintenance costs to be similar to their standard alternative, albeit with less wear and tear.

Electric vehicles, however, require no traditional oil changes, fuel filters, drive or timing belts, spark plug replacements or emission checks. Maintenance consists mainly of cabin filter replacements, air conditioning and brakes/ tyres checks, which are infrequent. For this reason the cost of maintenance is typically a lot lower. This doesn’t mean electric cars are immune from breakdowns. Plus, depending on the make and model you own, you may find there are still only a few places that can repair battery and auto-electrical issues, so expect these to be expensive. 

The AA produces a report that outlines the average maintenance costs for each type of vehicle. Based on this data it’s possible to see that hybrids and EVs stack up well in terms of maintenance costs, with hybrids 22% ($162) cheaper to maintain, and EVs ranging between 44% and 66% cheaper per annum ($299 – $742).

EV vs. Petrol Maintenance Comparison

Tesla vs the rest

Tesla is setting a very high bar for other EV manufacturers to replicate. They claim that 90% of issues can be identified via remote diagnostics and “over the air software updates” combined with a mobile service can resolve 80% of the issues without the need to visit their service centers. If you do need to come in, you can book this directly from your car. The future looks pretty cool.

Needless to say, if you need any tyres, brakes or filters replaced on your EV or Hybrid, the best place to book it is at www.myautoshop.co.nz. Making car servicing and repairs easy.