EV maintenance costs vs petrol/ diesel cars: Are electric cars cheaper to own? – Times of India

Based on recent MoRTH data released on Vahan Dashboard, electric vehicle sales in India have seen 333 percent YoY growth in H1 of FY 22-23 alone. The shift towards EVs has been established and consumers are actively considering them as their next mode of transport. When considering a new car purchase, its maintenance cost is a key factor behind a consumer’s purchasing decision. Hence, here is an explainer of how EV service schedules and components are different from petrol/diesel cars that one might be used to.
In EVs, the complicated oily bits such as the engine, fuel lines and tank get replaced by an electric motor, controller and battery pack. An electric drivetrain is much simpler than an ICE vehicle’s as it has less number of moving parts that can fail if not maintained. However, other peripheral systems such as the steering system, brakes, suspension and cooling system continue to exist in EVs with few alterations.

Representational image

EV service check-list:
As we have already explained, EVs are much simpler to maintain than their ICE counterparts, however, manufacturers need to ensure that all systems are at optimum performance levels periodically. The major areas that are checked during an EVs service schedule are as follows:
1. Electric Motor:
The authorised service centre will first check the vehicle’s electric motor for any wear and tear. However, typical EV motors require little to no servicing as most of the brunt is taken by the bearing on the outside.
2. Battery pack and thermal system:
The next major electrical component to check is the battery pack for any signs of damage caused by being on the road. EV battery packs generally rely on a fluid-based thermal management system that protects the battery from getting too hot or cold. During service, it will be ensured that the optimum amount of thermal fluid is present in the vehicle for the system to work properly.

Representational image: EV battery pack

Representational image: EV battery pack

3. Brake fluid and pad check:
Similar to petrol-diesel cars the brake fluid levels of an EV need to be checked periodically during a service. However, where it does differ is in the inspection of the brake pads. The majority of EVs utilise some form of brake regeneration technology that uses the electric motor to slow the car when braking. This means that EV brake pads have a longer life and any unusual wear and tear needs to be checked.
4. High-Voltage Cabling:
The High-Voltage cabling that goes into an EV is an essential part of the vehicle and needs to be checked for any signs of damage during service. Being out on the road can sometimes cause the protective outer layer of this harness to suffer damage and technicians need to address it for road worthiness. Connectors are another component of the wiring harness that need to be checked.

Representational image: EV High-Voltage cables

Representational image: EV High-Voltage cables

For errors that cannot be seen by the human eye, a technician will connect an OBD device to the EV, to see if the vehicle’s system throws up any saved error codes. Apart from that, servicing an EV is a fairly less time and money-consuming affair unless a major servicing requirement arises.
Taking the Tata Nexon EV as an example, periodical services for the model can be as low as Rs 2,817 and it has a service interval of 10,000 km or 1 year. Add to that, the fuel cost savings that one makes over time. Experts believe these costs can be brought further down, but overheads from selling ICE models also make it difficult for manufacturers to achieve that. Overall the uncomplicated nature of EVs, is what makes them a cleaner and cheaper alternative to ICE vehicles.
What are your thoughts on EVs? Tell us in the comments below.

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