Shopping for a new vehicle is often guided by the bottom line purchase price, but maintenance and operating costs over the life of your new car, SUV, or truck can vary widely and have a huge impact on the total cost of ownership. And that’s one more reason why electric cars make so much sense these days…compared to conventional gas or diesel powered vehicles the lower cost to fix or fuel a battery electric vehicle could charge up big savings over the long haul.

There are hundreds of parts that make up an internal combustion engine drivetrain that electric vehicle owners will never need to worry about breaking, leaking or wearing out. Things like the timing belt, exhaust system, spark plugs, fuel injectors or even transmission fluid.

Comparing the recommended maintenance schedules and dealer service quotes for six popular EVs, versus six similar gasoline vehicles, reveals that EVs could save an average of $263 dollars per year based on avoided maintenance costs. 

That adds up to more than $3000 dollars over a 12-year, 150,000-mile ownership period.  Not to mention the added value and convenience of having fewer service appointments and less vehicle downtime.

MIKE SCHILDT: “The maintenance schedule on EVs are a lot easier than your typical gas vehicle. There’s a lot less to do. Typically tire rotations, check and top off any fluids that are still with the EV cars, but other than that for the first 5,6 years it’s rotations and make sure everything is sound.”.

Most electric vehicles will require a flush and change of the battery pack’s liquid cooling system after 100,000 miles…at a cost of around $200 dollars. Compare that to over a dozen engine oil & filter changes, radiator flushes, and other avoided routine maintenance required for a car with a gasoline engine. 

One potentially costly repair item that EV critics point to is the battery pack, especially if it develops a problem out of warranty.

Over time, electric vehicle battery pack capacity can fade, resulting in fewer miles per charge for the EV owner. To address that concern, most EVs come with at least 8-year, 100,000-mile battery warranties, while California and some other states require 10-years of battery coverage.

New electric vehicle battery packs can range from $5000 to over $15,000   when it comes time for replacement, but some manufacturers are rolling out discount programs using reconditioned battery packs that are much more affordable. And as battery and recycling technology continues to evolve, battery costs should continue to drop.

Another factor working in favor of EVs is the convenience and value of charging up at home instead of having to make regular trips to the filling station for gasoline or diesel. The cost to drive 100 emission-free miles on electricity can be as much as 70% cheaper than burning fossil fuels over the same distance. And by plugging in at home you can start off with a full charge every day.

JONATHAN SLADE: “I love the electric car.  I love it. I drive it every day. It only costs about 58 bucks a month, in electricity, for me to drive the car. It’s about a third of what I was putting in my car for gasoline.”

Servicing electric vehicles is still a new procedure for many dealerships though, so EV drivers should shop around to minimize any growing pains in that area.

Make sure that the dealer you plan to use is certified and trained to service EVs. Not all shops have the equipment and tools necessary to work on EVs yet. Some dealers have taken the lead here and are actually specializing in EVs, while smaller volume stores may have just one EV-certified tech or a limited number of EV charging stations.

So, consider the entire ownership experience when shopping for your next ride. If an EV fits your lifestyle, you’ll probably find it fits your wallet well too!