What’s the issue? Public discussion emphasises the way Low Emission Vehicles (LEVs) save their owners the cost of buying petrol or diesel. But actually, a lot of the cost of running motorcars of all sorts is the repairs and maintenance – things like replacing tyres, mechanical repairs, oil and filter changes, breakdowns etc. Many electric vehicle (EV) advocates point to the low number of moving parts in the electric motor compared to in an Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) as evidence that EVs will cost a lot less to maintain. Others argue that heat, rubbing and vibration in an ICE wear out the parts more quickly. Many people do not realise that one of the superb advantages of EVs is that they will last a lot longer than Internal Combustion Vehicles (ICVs). We are used to running the ICVs out at around 250,000 km. Future EVs will go a million km in their lifetime, with some battery replacements and normal repairs and maintenance along the way.
What might we find? Informal estimates in the literature, and often repeated in blogs, assert that EVs cost a tenth as much as ICVs. Others have claimed the saving is more like a third. It is even more uncertain whether the Plug-in Hybrids (PHEVs) cost about the same as an ICV, more than an ICV (there are two propulsion systems to maintain), or something in between ICVs and EVs (because some portion of their travel propelled by the smooth low-cost electric motor).
Our approach: A brief review of the literature was a shock: there do not seem to be any published estimates of the repairs and maintenance costs of LEVs compared to ICVs as actually measured in whole cars in normal use anywhere in the world. Flip the Fleet will now fill that gap.
In the next few months we will:
- Estimate the average costs you spend on repairs and maintenance in your EVs and PHEVs from your monthly data uploads
- Find data from families, fleets or repair shops to get similar measures for as many ICVs of similar size and type as your LEVs
- Compare the costs of EVs, PHEVs and ICVs as they get older
- Itemise and count what goes wrong and needs repair in all the different types of vehicle
- Build these comparisons into your cost savings reports on your Flip the Fleet dashboard.
Please help us! You could help us by filling in the repairs and maintenance costs for all the months you have had your car, provided of course you have the records in your drawer or notebook. Click the ‘Add Data’ button and then use the drop-down menu to choose each of the earlier months of ownership and fill in the repairs and maintenance costs – you don’t need the odometer and all the other stuff – adding just the repairs and maintenance costs is gold for the project. Remember that leaving the ‘Repairs & Maintenance’ data slot blank is no use to us – we have to see a zero there before we can assume that your car cost you nothing in repairs that month (a blank could just meant that you forgot to fill some big repair cost in).
You might be running an ICV in your family and be willing to send us the repairs and maintenance records for any number of the past 5 years? Or if you have a co-operative garage manager or accountant that would share complete repairs and maintenance cost data for their clients ICVs? Our perhaps your business could share the repairs and maintenance records from the past 5 years? Anonymity is guaranteed – we just need to know the make, model and year of manufacture of the vehicles to make sense of the data. If you can help that way or know someone who might, please ring Henrik on 027 2268688 or send us the contact details (and data) to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for any help you can give,