Do you have your sights set on a Tesla? One question you might be asking is, “Do I have to maintain it myself?” After all, electric vehicles (EV) are touted to be revolutionary – perhaps the most revolutionary this generation will ever know – so maintenance must be ultra-efficient, right?
The straight off answer is yes. Keeping your EV in shape is possible and even easier compared to maintaining a more traditional car. But before that, you need to know how the automobile works to learn the secrets to EV maintenance effectively.
Basic EV Rundown
The idea behind EVs is pretty straightforward, a battery pack powers the engine and allows you to drive the car. Because these cars depend on a battery, charging it becomes necessary to function. To charge an EV, all you need to do is plug it in.
Public charging points are everywhere – at least in cities where electric cars are sold. You can also charge your EV at home, and as the battery range increases and more charging points are installed, you can expect it to come extremely close to or even equal to an ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) car in terms of distance.
Electric and ICE Car Maintenance: The Key Differences
Electric cars are a whole separate universe from ICE vehicles, and the differences go all the way from structural to financial and the proverbial everything in between.
While a typical vehicle would have an entire array of parts that require maintenance, such as cooling systems, fuel pumps, and so on, EVs usually only have three major components: the electric car engine, the inverter, and the on-board charger. Fewer elements, fewer problems.
On top of being less stressful, maintaining your EV is also cheaper. When you have fewer things to spend on, you end up spending less overall. This will still depend on the actual car (more mainstream models require pricier parts), but maintaining an EV will always be less financially and physically demanding than its ICE counterpart.
Regenerative Braking, Fluids, and Brake Pads
A car’s kinetic (moving) energy is converted to a reusable form in regenerative braking, effectively cutting the vehicle’s brake maintenance requirements. Nonetheless, you’ll still have to take care of the brake pads on your EV, although this would be drastically easier now with regenerative braking. As you press on the brake pedal of an EV, the motor goes on the reverse and, in turn, decreases the speed of your car while pulling energy into your batteries for future use.
Moreover, your EV will need fewer fluids, often sealed inside and inaccessible. Most models will only have three fluids that must be consistently topped up: brake fluid, windshield washer fluid, and coolant fluid for the vehicle’s thermal management system. Sometimes though, as with the Tesla Model S, transmission fluid may be required.
Electric cars are built with conventional windscreen wipers, which must be traditionally maintained. For example, you will still want to replace wiper blades twice a year as you would with a regular car. The timing of replacement is also the same – at the onset of winter and summer. Of course, if your wipers present with any issues in between, you will have to replace them when needed.
Just like any other car, the battery on your EV will lose efficiency over time and need to be replaced at some point. But, you will not classify this as regular maintenance because EV batteries can last a decade. Manufacturers are known to offer a warranty for up to that long – 10 years – which translates to about 100,000 to 150,000 miles. The terms of this warranty can vary significantly, though, so before you buy an electric car, keep an eye out for the details.
Tesla-Certified Technicians and Shops
Tesla cars are self-manageable, but if your EV develops complex issues, you can contact any Tesla-certified technician through the Tesla app or at any shop that employs Tesla-certified technicians.
If you go with the latter, keep in mind that your warranty could be affected, so again, read the conditions carefully before getting any major third-party repairs or servicing. The good thing is, these non-Tesla shops are often authorized dealers of original parts and accessories, so you don’t have to go elsewhere when you need new wipers, mirrors, and the like.
Owners of ICE cars currently enjoy incentives but no more than reduced emergency repair and maintenance-related costs and penalties. As an EV owner, you get many other perks, such as a financial reward for exchanging your old Model S battery pack with a new one. You can find battery swap stations at major travel routes and even in some remote locations. Additionally, if you bought qualified residential charging equipment between January 1, 2018, and December 31, 2020, you can also get a tax credit up to $1,000 max. Your Tesla dealer will be more than happy to assist you with this, and possibly other incentives available in your area.
Although electric and ICE cars both require maintenance, you will find EVs easier and simpler to maintain. And yes, maintaining your electric vehicle is not only possible but part of the design. No doubt, they are at their best in terms of fulfilling technology’s primary purpose of making life more comfortable.