With both petrol prices and environmental concerns on the rise, electric vehicles (EVs) are emerging as a strong choice for drivers keen to reduce costs and and improve their green credentials.
Although EVs are still the exception on Australia’s roads, electric car maintenance need not be a mystery – in fact, it’s not so different from looking after a conventional car. Here’s our run-down of how to keep your electric car in great shape.
Find the right mechanic
First things first: choose a service centre that specialises in EVs. While they might look similar on the outside, a quick look under the hood reveals that EVs are quite different to vehicles with internal combustion engines. Working on EVs requires specialised knowledge of electrical motor systems and how they relate to the vehicle as a whole.
Other factors being equal, servicing an electric car should be no more complex than servicing one that runs on petrol or diesel. With no oil filters or spark plugs to be changed and fewer moving parts, an electric motor is a relatively streamlined mechanism that shouldn’t cause you too much grief – as long as you chose a suitably experienced electric car mechanic.
Know your battery
A major difference between electric and conventional vehicles is the battery system in EVs. It’s normal for rechargeable batteries to lose their ability to hold charge over time and eventually need replacing, but there are things you can do to preserve their lifespan.
The best way to find out this information is consult your manufacturer’s specifications, as batteries differ across makes and models.
In many EVs, you’ll find a dashboard display showing how much energy is being drawn from the battery at any given time. Drivers seeking to preserve the life of the battery will naturally adopt a more economical driving style that puts less pressure on the battery, which has the bonus effect of reducing wear and tear on the vehicle overall.
Eyes on the tyres
Due to the instant torque that electric motors deliver, along with the substantial weight of the battery packs used in electric vehicles, tyres on EVs may wear out faster. It’s worth keeping an eye on the tyres in any car you’re driving, and your auto centre tyre expert should be able to make an assessment on the condition and alignment of your wheels and tyres.
It’s now possible to buy tyres designed specifically for electric cars. These may also have features such as low rolling resistance, which boosts efficiency by enabling you to drive further on a single charge.
Take care of the details
Despite their differences, electric and gas cars have a lot in common. Regardless of car type, topping up coolant and brake fluid as per the manufacturer’s specifications is essential, along with things like air conditioner regassing and replacing wiper blades and fluid.
Stick to a service schedule
On the whole, EVs are widely considered to be low hassle, with overall wear and tear being relatively minimal. To ensure that this remains true for your vehicle, it’s important to schedule regular services. Some electric vehicles will even alert you when a service is due, although this isn’t the case for all models.
It can be easy to forget a service when everything seems to be running smoothly, but skipping out on services will more than likely lead to costly repairs down the track and reduce the lifespan of your vehicle.