Here at Volkswagen of Duluth we have become witness to the slow but steady transition from gas-powered automobiles to electric vehicles. Among the many things, EVs are presently known for are instant torque, silent and smooth running, being emission-free, and trading gas for charging stations. A lesser known aspect of EV ownership is significantly reduced maintenance.
Some sources suggest electric car owners spend as little as one-third in vehicle maintenance as do owners of equivalent gas-powered vehicles. This is due to a greater share of traditional vehicle maintenance simply does not apply to EVs. Gas-powered drivetrains require tune-ups, oil changes, replacements of air and oil filters, belts, spark plugs, coolant, transmission fluid and other routine maintenance. The EV drivetrain is essentially maintenance-free. However, many non-drivetrain aspects of an EV are similar to conventional gas-powered vehicles, and still need regular maintenance.
Most non-drivetrain components can be expected to wear out at the same rate as their gas-engined counterparts. Think wipers, washer fluid, AC refrigerant, steering and suspension components, or electrically powered windows, mirrors & seats. Generally, things that move, are stressed, or get rubbed against will wear no differently than a conventional vehicle.
Tires retain the same role regardless of drivetrain. In fact, tire wear can increase on EVs due to their heavier weight. The faster wear also means the tires should be rotated more frequently. Another issue is that one characteristic of low-resistance tires often used on EVs is reduced tread, causing them to reach the replacement stage sooner. Tire pressure should be checked at the same intervals as a gas-powered vehicle.
In contrast to tires, brake components should last longer due to a significant portion of EV braking being done by regeneration, which involves turning the electric motor to recharge the battery. The steadier and smoother your braking, the less the friction brake system will be used, so the brake pads and rotors should last significantly longer. The more your driving is in the city the greater the difference will be. However; the brake pads and rotors still need to be checked.
And there is the big elephant in the room; though it's usually under the floor. The battery is an EV’s most expensive component and it won’t last forever. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory of the United States predicts today's EV batteries will have service lives between 12 and 15 years if used in moderate climates, but that drops to between 8 and 12 years with regular use occurring in extreme environments, which better describes Duluth. While the EV battery does not require any kind of regular maintenance, there are some rules of thumb to preserve battery life:
Try to avoid extreme temperatures. If you can garage your vehicle every night and have enclosed parking at work, you can expect longer battery life than if your EV is left outside all the time.
Do not use Level 3 DC chargers regularly. The degree to which fast charging impacts battery life isn't known and it is understood that fast charging during road trips is both expected and necessary. Still, Level 3 charging is not recommended for everyday use.
Avoid fully depleting your battery. This would be no fun anyway but regularly running the battery dry will reduce its overall life. Ironically, your battery should also not be completely charged, as well, though most manufacturers prevent full-capacity charging to help reduce battery degradation.
To conclude, while an EV drivetrain is essentially maintenance-free, the entire car is not, and that maintenance is best done by those who know these models best and have been specifically trained to work on them, which just happens to describe our VW of Duluth Service Department. And since a no-maintenance drivetrain is just one of the Volkswagen ID.4’s charms, visit the Volkswagen of Duluth showroom and see the rest.