The EV Repair Reckoning

Olivia Petrus
EV crash test
Electric vehicle crash testing courtesy of MGA Research Corporation

Electric vehicle owners are discovering an unexpected drawback to their sweet rides: steep repair costs after collisions. In a landscape where EVs face extended wait times, owners may be prone to having a short fuse with expensive repairs.

Background: New data is showing the price tag for fixing EVs after accidents tends to be higher than their gas-guzzling counterparts. This is being attributed to the need for more replacement parts, intricate vehicle structures, and a limited number of repair specialists.

  • For context, the average cost of repairing an EV after a crash was $6,587 compared to $4,215 for conventional vehicles last year.

Maintenance mismatch: This is a contrast to the lower maintenance costs that dealerships and automakers often highlight as a selling point for EVs. While they demand less regular maintenance from fewer moving parts and an absence of tasks like oil changes and engine tune-ups, the repair cost for electric vehicles paint a different picture.

  • Hertz, which operates a sizable electric rental fleet, mostly made up of Teslas, reported a dent in its third-quarter profits due to the substantial expense of repairing electric models.

Charged performance

The higher repair costs are a result of the intricate design of EVs that rival a good Pimp My Ride episode, needing more replacement parts than traditional vehicles. The lithium-ion batteries also have special storage needs due to being a fire hazard when damaged, which adds complexity and time to the repair process.

On top of it all, the materials used in EV bodies, including more expensive materials like aluminum, increase both parts and labor costs.

  • Repair specialists note the need for specialized tools and facilities, limiting the pool of capable repair shops and contributing to extended repair periods.

Zoom out: As the EV market continues to grow, the focus on scalability and accessibility to repair resources may help reduce repair costs and lower wait times for EV owners.