Ask any electric vehicle (EV) driver what they love about their car most and they'll always boast about the lack of maintenance it requires. Very simply, because an EV replaces an internal combustion engine and transmission with one or two simple motors and a large battery, it has far fewer moving, mechanical parts and so it needs much less maintenance.
How to keep your EV in perfect shape
Don't be fooled into thinking that an EV doesn't need any care or attention, though. While your servicing bills will definitely be much lower, there are still some critical things you'll need to keep an eye on.
Looking after your EV's battery
The battery is the most important – and expensive – part of your EV. Replacing it could currently cost upwards of $5000. Many come with an 8 year/160,000 km warranty, but these simple tips could help it to last a lot longer:
Avoid extreme temperatures: Extreme hot and cold temperatures will affect your battery life, so wherever possible, try to park your EV out of direct sunlight and extreme heat or cold.
Day-to-day charging: Try to keep your battery charge no higher than 80% and no lower than 20%. Some manufacturers also warn against using fast charging (Level 3) too often as it can dramatically heat up the battery.
Don't leave your battery at 100%: You can charge your battery up to 100% for a long trip, but it's best not to do this the day before and then leave it sitting overnight. Instead, charge it to 80% and then make up the last 20% right before you set off. Some EVs will have timing software to help you do this automatically. It's a good idea to charge your EV up to 100% every 3 months – but make sure you drive it right after.
Don't leave your battery at 0%: Conversely, don't leave your EV with a completely flat battery as it needs power even if it's not driving. A parked EV can lose about 1% of its battery power every day. If you're going on vacation, charge your EV with enough power to get you to and from the airport, and to sit for the number of days you're away.
Slow down!: The harder you drive, the more strain you put on your battery. Just like a gas-powered vehicle, if you drive at a consistent, sensible speed, you'll get more range.
Looking after your EV's brakes, tires and fluids
Brake pads: Your EV's regenerative braking system takes the kinetic energy from slowing down and converts it into electricity. This means you'll use your regular brakes much less – but you still need to check your pads or discs regularly.
Tires: Instant EV acceleration is highly addictive, but it takes a toll on your tires, as does your EV's substantial weight. Try not to race off the traffic lights and keep an eye on your tread and tire pressures. You could also consider switching to some of the EV-specific tires that are available.
Fluids: We've already seen how important your battery is, so your battery coolant levels need to be maintained, along with brake and washer fluid.
Insuring an EV
Insurance is calculated exactly the same way for an EV as it is for a gas-powered vehicle. It's all about the claims history for your particular model, along with your no claims status, age, gender, postcode, vehicle usage and safety features.
The location of your battery can also be a factor since some batteries are better protected than others. But overall, your insurance should be comparable to an equivalent gas-powered vehicle, since while EVs are more expensive vehicles to purchase, they generally generate fewer claims.
What fuel savings might I get with an EV?
There's a lot to think about when trying to calculate the actual cost difference between running an EV versus your current gas-powered vehicle. Try our cost calculator to get a quick idea of what your fuel savings might be.