There’s no engine oil to change, in fact no engine to maintain at all. Also, fewer moving parts, no belt or chain to be serviced, no transmission fluid to be changed, no clogged-up valves or burnt clutch plate and no sweat over emission tests. So, what does maintaining an EV entail?
Battery MaintenanceBatteries have a limited life cycle, which can be prolonged with efficient management and timely charging. On an average, batteries are good for 1,60,000 kms. Contrary to conventional wisdom, car batteries are more resistant to damage than the lithium-ion batteries powering our phones. Carmakers typically offer a warranty of over 8 years, or 1.6 lakh kms. Never leave an EV uncharged if battery level reaches 10%. Apart from being drained, lithium-ion batteries can be damaged if left uncharged. It’s best not to charge it all the way to 100% (certainly not with a fast charger). Charge only until 90%. Batteries can lose charge when a car faces really low temperature, so it’s best to find a relatively temperate spot for parking. Best to rely on an A/C charger at home.
TyresEV tyres are prone to marginally greater levels of wear and tear given that the EVs weigh more than internal-combustion cars, thanks to the weight of the batteries, which are placed horizontally across the car’s floor. Low tyre pressure can also reduce an EVs range by 3% (according to the Royal Automobile Club).
BrakesEVs are equipped with regenerative braking, which uses the electric motor to slow the vehicle. This reduces the load on the brakes and as a corollary, lowers the level of wear and tear of the brake disc and creating less brake dust. Regenerative braking also allows a vehicle to use excess kinetic energy, and use it to put some charge back into the battery.
Servicing It’s advisable to take your EV in for an occasional service, but it needn’t be as frequent as with an internal combustion car. What largely needs to be changed is brake fluid and perhaps the windscreen wipers. If the service centre caters primarily to ICE vehicles, ensure that a technician proficient with EVs is present.
Towing an EVIn the unlikely event of a breakdown, understand that no amount of pushing will get your EV back to life if the battery has been totally depleted. The EV must be towed, in which case it’s important to ensure that the drive wheels are kept off the road and are not rolling. For example, if an electric motor is powering the front axle, make sure that it’s the rear wheels that are in contact with the road. In case both axles have an electric motor, make sure that your car is placed on a flatbed and then driven to the nearest charging point.