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Electric car: what maintenance is required?

If advertisers pull out the no-maintenance card for electric cars to sell them to us, the fact remains that an electric vehicle still requires a minimum of maintenance.



vIndeed, if on electric cars, by their design, no more fluid changes, no filter changes, less brake wear, simplified transmission and above all no engine wear which leads to the replacement of many various parts, the fact remains that electric vehicles have many systems similar to thermal vehicles: whether it is the suspension, the steering or the braking system.


A saving on maintenance of up to 40% compared to a thermal vehicle and only 20 points to replace which we will detail for you.


The brakes


Electric cars (like hybrid cars) have a regenerative braking system that recovers energy when braking on hybrid and electric vehicles. It allows you to recharge the battery while driving and increases the vehicle's range. Regenerative braking also helps the vehicle slow down without using the brakes, unlike combustion cars as we know them today.

The regenerative braking system requires special attention. The brakes of electric vehicles are less stressed than those of thermal vehicles. To prevent the brakes from corroding, he recommends regular maintenance every 30,000 km or every 2 years.

Replacing the brakes on an electric car has some specificities related to the regenerative braking system and electrical components that must be taken into account during replacement.



Engine consumables


In the engine compartment, if there is no longer any need for oil as for combustion engines, it is a fully electric vehicle, there is still a reduction gearbox, which is a type of transmission which requires a certain amount of maintenance periodic to do.

Many electric vehicle models have a battery with a liquid thermoregulation system. Again, there, it is antifreeze that must be changed, the electric vehicle will present problems which are directly linked to the same types of problems that one would have with a gasoline vehicle.



Mechanical organs


Because an electric car is generally 30% to 35% heavier than a gasoline equivalent, all underbody parts like the suspension and steering are under more pressure and it is important to check them. It's the same with the air conditioner, which works in conjunction with the drive system to regulate the battery temperature.



The rest of the components to check


These are simple routine checks to be carried out every 30,000km (or before depending on the case), they are the same as thermal vehicles because as we have pointed out to you, they have the same components:

- checks of the shock absorber condition;

- tire wear;

- filtering system;

- checking the level of fluids: brakes, cooling, windshield wipers, etc.


If even the maintenance and its costs make you dream, the repair of an electric vehicle becomes more complex when the repair work affects the charging port, the inverter, the battery or other systems which require the intervention of a specialized automotive technician.

The main failures come from modules with faulty voltage.

Batteries: the heart of the vehicle

This is the most important point to take into account, there is no maintenance to be carried out, however this does not mean that the batteries are eternal, on the contrary, once worn out they must be replaced and the cost replacement can easily approach the price of a small electric car!



Why should you ask yourself certain questions about batteries.

Questions we ask ourselves:


- What types of batteries are placed in electric vehicles?

Before, they placed nickel and cadmium or lead batteries.

Today, they mainly place two types of electric car battery:

- Lithium-ion battery: used by most EV manufacturers (for example: Tesla, Jaguar);

- Nickel metal hydride: used in hybrid vehicles (for example: Toyota).

Tomorrow they plan to use graphene.


- What autonomy do the batteries offer?

In short, the higher the capacity of the car battery, the greater its autonomy! Current electric models have a range of between 135 and 730 km in the WLTP cycle, or a distance of 100 to 600 kilometers in real conditions.


- Which electric cars have the most autonomy?

Tesla Model X Performance: 485 kilometers. Tesla Model Y Performance: 480 kilometers. Jaguar I-Pace: 470 kilometers. BMW iX3: 460 kilometers.

- What is the lifespan of the batteries?

It is not linked to the kilometers traveled, but to the number of charge/discharge cycles carried out on it. A cycle corresponds to a charge/discharge. Batteries generally support around 1,500 to 2,000, depending on the models and uses. A figure that tends to increase with technological developments.

The lifespan of a battery is 10 years. This is of course an average: some models will last 15 to 20 years, while others will withstand wear and tear much less well. The size of the battery also comes into play: the smaller its capacity, the more often it needs to be recharged. Recharge cycles will therefore accumulate more quickly.

Manufacturers generally guarantee batteries for a period of 8 years, when they reach an autonomy of less than 70%. The abbreviation SOH (State Of Health) is often used to refer to the state of health of batteries. The SOH is expressed as a percentage and allows you to know the state of its wear. An important indicator to know, especially if you want to purchase a used model.


- How much does a battery cost?

If the price of a battery differs depending on the types, models and brands of manufacturers, the fact remains that they will be the biggest investment in the maintenance of your electric vehicle. With economies of scale, the prices of their replacements are gradually falling. On average it takes €10,000 in Europe to do so. Contrary to what one might believe, it will be less expensive to replace the battery of a Tesla than that of a Citroën.


- Can a lithium car battery be recycled?

Fortunately, the answer is yes – the batteries that power electric and hybrid cars can be recycled. For decades, the few electric vehicles that were on the road were powered by lead-acid batteries. The latest models, with their lighter weight and longer range, use lithium-ion batteries, just like laptops and cell phones. In both cases, electric car batteries can be recycled.

Battery recycling is as important as the rest of the car.

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