RAC Cars News


Electric car owners spend less on maintenance

By raccars Published

Image Source

The Go Ultra Low campaign claims that electric car owners save £306 on annual maintenance. How?

The low emissions vehicles campaign group has conducted a study which it claims confirms that electric cars are cheaper to run than their combustion-engined equivalents. The research analysed the maintenance costs of over 2,000 car owners, which showed that cars with combustion engines visited the garage twice every year and cost about £200 each time, on average.

Electric car maintenance costs

In contrast, a Nissan Leaf, which is the best-selling electric car in the UK, costs £94 annually in maintenance, according to research by the Money Advice Service, although Nissan's website advertises a fixed price service for £99. However petrol and diesel cars cost an average £149 and £159 respectively to service - significantly more expensive.

In comparison, the Tesla Model S luxury electric sports car costs £375 for the first service and goes up to £800 by the 50,000 mile or four year service, based upon the manufacturer's fixed price service plan. That's far more expensive than the average petrol or diesel engined car but this is, of course, a sophisticated, high performance model.

According to the study, lower servicing costs apply to electric cars because their motors contain fewer moving parts and consumables than cars with combustion engines. Electric cars don't need components such as oil filters or spark plugs, for example. Most electric car manufacturers also offer long warranties on vehicle batteries, reducing replacement costs. Go Ultra Low claims that if every car owner replaced their conventional vehicle with an electric version, the total annual savings on servicing would come to about £10 billion.

Furthermore, 42 per cent of the owners surveyed claim that they rely upon their car for work and that the time spent in servicing is also lost income. Of the 6 per cent of owners who claimed that they had lost earnings directly through time lost servicing, they estimated this lost income to be about £700 each time.

Electric car grant cut

However the campaign's aim to encourage consumers to buy electric cars took a hit this week, as from Tuesday 1 March the Government's low emissions grant is reduced from the previous £5,000 flat rate to a maximum of £4,500. The new regulations also make this grant available only to the cleanest and greenest cars, as a two tier system has been introduced.

Cars with CO2 emissions of 50g/km or less and an electric range of at least 70 miles fall into Category 1, which entitles them to the maximum grant of £4,500. This list includes the BMW i3, the Citroen C-Zero, the Ford Focus Electric, the Kia Soul EV, the Nissan Leaf, the Peugeot iON, the Renault Zoe, the Smart fortwo Electric Drive, the Tesla Model S and the VW e-Golf.

Cars with CO2 emissions below 50g/km and with an electric range from 10-69 miles fall into Category 2, with a grant of £2,500. This category applies to the Audi A3 e-tron, the Mercedes-Benz C350e, the Vauxhall Ampera, the BMW 330e, the Mitsubishi Outlander, the Toyota Prius Plug-In and the Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine.

A third category applies to cars with CO2 emissions from 50-75g/km in combination with a zero emissions range of not less than 20 miles, which also benefit from a grant of £2,500, including some editions of the Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid and the Mercedes-Benz S500 Hybrid. However, a price cap has also been set so that cars costing £60,000 or more are no longer eligible for a grant, regardless as to their level of emissions.

The new rules have seen sales of low emissions cars spike in the last few months as buyers try to take advantage of the previous, more generous grant system.

Looking to Buy?
Search for cars