Are electric vehicles cheaper to maintain?

Electric vehicles come with many financial benefits, including free parking in some city centre locations, reduced or zero-rated road tax, and a degree of protection against spiralling petrol prices

But when it comes to maintaining an electric car over the long term, how do the likely costs stack up when compared with internal combustion engine vehicles – and where do hybrids come into the mix?

The short answer is that an internal combustion engine (ICE) has moving parts that must be kept lubricated and clean of any rust, dirt or debris. Over time, these parts will inevitably wear out, adding to the vehicle’s maintenance cost.

In contrast, a pure EV is powered by non-moving batteries, and the electric drivetrain itself will typically cost much less to maintain.

EV Parts To Maintain

It’s still important to maintain all working parts of an electric vehicle, and especially those moving parts that you will also find on a conventional ICE car:

  • Brakes (including brake pads and hydraulics), wheels and tyres
  • Windows, windscreen, wipers and washers
  • Ventilation systems and air conditioning top-up
  • Interior upholstery and creature comforts
  • Exterior bodywork and paintwork

Not all of these are essential – you can drive safely with a broken CD player or scratched paintwork – but in general, they offer an idea of the kinds of small wear, tear and repairs you’ll encounter over the lifetime of owning or leasing an electric car. You can also check our Fair Wear and Tear guide to see what is acceptable on an EV lease car and what would need to be repaired or charged for at the end of the leasing agreement.

Hybrid EV Maintenance Costs

Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) can be cheaper to drive, as the onboard battery helps to extend their range without relying purely on petrol or diesel. Because they still have an ICE, you’re unlikely to see the same reduction in maintenance costs that you would get from a 100% battery electric vehicle (BEV).

As a result, you should expect HEVs to cost more in ongoing maintenance than BEVs. But do remember that other running costs, such as fuel costs, may help offset this. Low-emission HEVs will also likely qualify for lower road tax and subsidised parking permits in some areas.

Battery life is one area where both HEVs and BEVs have improved significantly. Over time, all batteries lose a certain amount of their capacity, which is why some of the top electric cars and best EVs on the market come with a battery leasing plan.

Improvements in lithium-ion battery design have made this less of an issue on the newest models, so consider buying or leasing the newest HEV or BEV you can, and you can cut down on the battery costs you’re likely to face in the future.

EV Leasing with Maintenance Included

One of the best ways to protect yourself against unexpected maintenance costs is to opt for an EV car leasing arrangement with maintenance included in the monthly price you pay. EV maintenance leasing plans cost a little more, but you won’t have to pay for any covered repairs or maintenance and in many cases can save you money due to the fleet buying power to cover maintenance, repairs and tyres through the leasing and maintenance provider.

You can think of this as a kind of EV car insurance or breakdown policy – if your vehicle experiences a fault, picks up some damage covered by your maintenance plan, or just needs a tune-up, then you can call your leasing provider to take care of it, and as usual Synergy is always on hand to answer any questions or assist in any way.