Real world fleet data shows “mixed picture” comparing EV servicing costs to petrol and diesel

Using our real-world fleet data shows a “mixed picture” for electric vehicle (EV) servicing costs compared to their petrol and diesel counterparts, with results depending heavily on the vehicle model.

We have generated new statistics from our 1link Service Network service, maintenance and repair (SMR) platform, used to manage more than four million company cars, vans and trucks. These cover three metrics – numbers of visits to service outlets, vehicle off road (VOR) days due to SMR issues and workshop costs including tyres and repairs.

The first example looks at a widely-used fleet hatchback over a three year and 25-30,000 mile cycle. The EV version averaged 5.7 visits to service outlets, 3.2 days spent off road due to SMR issues (VOR) and workshop servicing costs including tyres of £431.

These figures turn out to be very similar to the petrol version of the same model across all three metrics, with 5.0 service visits, 4.5 days VOR and workshop costs of £412. There are no obvious EV benefits.

Better results for electrification can be seen when comparing a model of van that is available in both diesel and electric versions over the same operating cycle. Here the EV’s figures are 5.7 service visits, 2.2 days VOR and workshop costs of £239. The diesel derivative delivers comparable outcomes with 5.0 service visits and 2.9 days VOR – but its workshop costs are more than double at £523.

Switching to an epyx dataset of two year old vehicles with 20-30,000 miles allows a comparison of two large prestige SUVs from a major manufacturer – one petrol and one a purpose-built EV.

Here, the EV delivers figures of 3.4 days off road that are superior to the petrol version at 5.0 and also saves on workshop costs of £645 against £996. Service visits are comparable at 4.1 compared to 4.0.

Charlie Brooks, strategy director said: “At the outset, it should be underlined that fairly substantial caveats must be applied to this data. In terms of the information available on 1link Service Network, there remain relatively few EVs of relevant ages and mileages. For the comparisons we’re quoting here, there are only around 170 vehicles in total.

“However, this does remain probably the largest real-world EV dataset of its kind available and is possibly the best quality information made public so far. It shows, perhaps surprisingly, that the emerging picture is more mixed than might be expected.

“It has been widely supposed that EVs will deliver uniform SMR benefits over petrol and diesel vehicles because of the fact that they have fewer moving mechanical parts, minimising the likelihood of breakdown and requiring less routine maintenance. The data we have compiled shows that this is not always the case.

“Broadly, while workshop costs for some EVs represent substantial savings over their petrol and diesel equivalents, this cannot be assumed. Also, the number of times that EVs visit garages for maintenance or repair and the amount of time they spend unavailable off road are consistently similar to ICE vehicles – and these servicing factors very much represent a substantial cost to businesses.

“What the data doesn’t tell us at this stage is why this is the case. There could be good reasons. For example, EVs remain a relatively new technology when operated on a large scale, and what we are seeing could be teething problems that may range from workshops being unfamiliar with these types of vehicles through to parts not being readily available.

“However, the bottom line at this stage is that fleet managers should not automatically believe that, in adopting EVs, they are going to see SMR benefits with every model. That situation may well change over time but these comparisons show that we are not there yet.”

Charlie said that we’re planning to make further data available publicly as the number of EVs on 1link Service Network grows.

“Fleet adoption of EVs is increasing exponentially and the amount of relevant data we have on the platform is increasing month-by-month. We should soon be in a position to produce much richer comparisons as we progress towards a more definitive picture of how fleet EV SMR is shaping up in the real world.”

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