Curious About EV Maintenance and Performance?
Two local experts talk costs, maintenance savings and battery life.
Electric cars cost less to maintain but why? What about driving in winter? Many drivers considering an electric car have questions about maintenance and performance. I had the opportunity to chat with two local service experts who have experience working on electric vehicles (EVs). Blake Nelson is a hybrid-certified auto technician at Zimbrick Chevrolet. Steve Clausen is the owner of Clausen Automotive.
Why are maintenance costs less for an all-electric vehicle compared to a gasoline vehicle?
Blake: EVs typically cost less to maintain because there are fewer fluids to change and fewer moving parts than gasoline and diesel internal combustion engines. That means drivers don't have to change oil or transmission fluids. There are no spark plugs, timing belts or fuel filters to replace either.
What are the routine maintenance requirements of an all-electric vehicle?
Blake: You still need to rotate and align your tires. The coolant system for the battery pack should be checked. And like gasoline vehicles, regularly check wiper blades, washer fluid and air-conditioning systems.
What is regenerative braking, and how does it help brakes last longer?
Steve: Regenerative braking systems help reduce wear and tear on brakes. Energy stored in the battery is used to slow down the vehicle, so the brakes can last twice as long.
Keep in mind that drivers will still need to replace brake fluid, as well as clean and lubricate the caliper slides.
Although all-electric vehicles are newer to the market, hybrids have been around for many years. Based on your experience, what is the life of a lithium ion battery?
Blake: The all-electric Chevy Bolt has a lifetime battery. It's covered by an 8-year, 100,000-mile warranty.
We've seen Chevy Volts with 200,000 miles that have not experienced any battery issues. EVs have on-board control systems to monitor battery temperature for optimal performance and prevent the battery from overheating.
Also, if the battery does need repairs, we can often replace a section of the cells and not the entire battery at a lower cost.
Steve: All batteries degrade over time, but lithium ion batteries have been very reliable so far. Temperature can affect battery life, so I recommend parking an EV in a garage. Overcharging or undercharging the battery and completely draining the battery can also wear out a battery faster.
There's a lot to discover—and a lot to love—about EVs. Learn more about EVs at mge.com/LovEV. And, for news and features about EVs, stay plugged in to the EV Rider section of mge2050.com.
Until next time,