It is common knowledge that EVs having fewer moving parts than internal combustion vehicles and require no fluid changes. However, due to their relatively recent introduction to the market, there has been a lack of hard data to support the real costs of operating and maintaining an EV.
This year has allowed Consumer reports to access data from thousands of members about the actual costs to run and maintain their EVs. These reports have included data from both:
- Battery-electric vehicles (BEVs)
- Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs.)
This information has allowed the EV statistical data to move from projections and estimates into real data, accumulated over time about actual maintenance costs of EV owners.
According to the Consumer Reports, the real cost of ownership of an EV is half that of their internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle owners for repair and maintenance. Real-world data has definitively shown that BEV and PHEV vehicle owners pay substantially less for their vehicles’ upkeep.
How was the Data Compiled?
The CR-compiled data from the Consumer Reports 2019 and 2020 reliability surveys sent to hundreds and thousands of CR members. Individual drivers were asked to estimate how much repairs and vehicle maintenance had cost them in the last calendar year. They were also asked their mileage during the year and the total mileage of their vehicle.
The survey eliminated specific data from their survey data analysis to keep the survey data within the reasonable realms of the consumer experience. The data that was rejected included:
- Incomplete responses
- Vehicles that traveled less than 2000 miles in the past year
- Vehicles that reported driving more than 60,000 miles in the previous year
- Vehicle maintenance costs above 2000 dollars for the past year
- Vehicles with mileage above 200,000 miles.
The data was then sorted by total milage with average costs-estimated and then divided into three main divisions:
- 0 to 50,000 miles
- 50,000 miles to 100,000 miles
- 10,000 miles to 200,000 miles.
For each division, average repair and maintenance costs were calculated by the mile. Bias was taken into account by CR members. Each ICE maintenance estimate was recalculated by the costs for each automaker and average market share over the past five years for each ICE vehicle brand. Ward’s independent auto industry analysts provided this data.
What Were the Consumer Report Findings?
The data analysis results, resulted in the findings that the estimated lifetime average repair for BEVs and PHEVs was about half that of the cost for ICE vehicles. They also found that:
- There is a slightly higher cost for PHEVs than for BEVs until the 100,000-mile mark
- There is a slightly lower cost for PHEVs over 100,000 miles.
However, this comparative data will be defined more clearly as higher mileage EV data becomes available to the Consumer Reports surveys.
The Consumer report findings that EVs necessitate half the repair and maintenance costs of an ICE vehicle are consistent with market estimations to 40% to 47% comparative costs. It is encouraging, though, that real-time data has caught up to industry estimates.