When it comes to buying a new car, maintenance is always an important consideration. And on that topic, some people claim electric cars require more maintenance than traditional cars.
Fact vs. Fiction
So…is it true? Not really. Electric motors only contain about a half-dozen moving parts, as compared to the hundreds of working parts in an internal combustion engine. There's just not that much in an electric car motor that can wear out and, when it does, it'll be relatively simple to replace.
This isn't to say that there aren't other wear-and-tear issues with electric cars that will be the same as with a gas-driven vehicles, but expenses related to the motor are generally relatively minor. Maintaining an electric car, according to some estimates, will cost about one-third the current cost of maintaining a gasoline-powered car.
That is, until the battery begins to wear out.
Meet your biggest expense: the battery
Most of what you'll find under the hood of an electric car is battery. It doesn't require much day-to-day maintenance, but as you know from other electronic devices, it will gradually lose its ability to hold a charge. So the longer you own an electric car, the shorter its driving range will become. In fact (with apologies to Neil Young), electric car batteries don't burn out so much as they fade away.
Most estimates predict that the typical lithium-ion electric car battery will be good for more than 100,000 miles of driving while still maintaining a decent driving range. But that number could vary – and it's possible that one day you'll decide that you simply find yourself recharging your battery too often. When you take your car back to the dealership (or perhaps to a battery specialty shop) to get the battery replaced, that’s when things get expensive!
Think about it this way – general maintenance costs are lower with electric cars. But don’t forget the battery effect as you think about your costs to keep your vehicle up and running.