Do EVs Cost More to Repair Than Gas Cars?
Of the many concerns that potential electric car buyers have, the cost of maintenance and repairs are – along with purchase price and charging access – high on the list. Other than a potential increased appetite for tires, concerns about higher maintenance costs for EVs are largely unfounded. With no fluids to change, and fewer moving parts, EVs generally cost less to maintain than gas cars, an advantage that multiplies over time. And most issues that owners have with EVs are technical and software glitches that are covered under warranty*, fixable by software updates. But what about if you’re in a collision? Do EVs cost more to repair if you’ve been in an accident?
What Are Average EV Repair Costs?
A recent study in the industry trade publication Automotive News revealed statistics from Mitchell, a software company specializing in the collision repair industry, that compared average accident repair costs for EVs compared to the industry at large. And the news was largely good: while EVs did cost more to on average to repair, at $4,474, that total was only $269 more than the average repair cost across all vehicles, of $4,205 – about 6 percent. So for most EVs, minor collisions shouldn’t be more of a concern than on ICE vehicles.
One interesting outlier, however, was Tesla. According to Mitchell’s data, the average repair bill for a Tesla vehicle involved in an accident was $5,552, about 27 percent more than the average vehicle at large. Those repair costs reflect a couple of factors: Tesla’s production methods use large “gigacastings” that are great for production efficiency and light weight, but are more expensive to replace than conventional body parts. And their vehicles are packed with high-end technology like cameras and sensors that are often more sophisticated and expensive than other EVs. Replacing and recalibrating these systems requires more expense and labor than more conventional vehicles.
Special Equipment and Training Needed
One reason that EVs also cost more to repair is that they’re just newer vehicles in general. With EVs forecast to reach about 10 percent market share this year, there are fewer aftermarket options available for parts. Plus, the special equipment and training required to repair EVs mean that they generally have to be repaired at manufacturer-authorized body shops. And on the occasion that a battery is damaged and needs to be replaced, a single incident can significantly drive up the average repair costs. (Indeed, the high cost of replacing batteries is one reason that, unfortunately, EVs get written off with more frequency than gasoline vehicles.)
The findings from Automotive News and Mitchell show that concerns about significantly higher repair costs for EVs are largely unfounded, fueled by social media posts that focus on the rare instances of battery replacements. Industry averages show that EVs aren’t much more expensive to repair – and as they become mainstream, repair costs should come down even more.
*See dealership for limited warranty details