The company added that “average BEV mileages are still tracking lower than the equivalent ICE or hybrid vehicles,” with one, two and three-year-old EVs recording 19%, 21%, and 14% lower mileages respectively at the time of their services. 

“The overriding position is that BEVs are shining through as cheaper on overall SMR costs,” said managing director Vincent St Claire, who added that both labour time and the types/cost of the most common replacement parts were weighted in favour of EVs. For ICE vehicles, they were pads, discs, bulbs, oil filters and pollen filters. For EVs, they were collectively cheaper items: pollen filters, bulbs, keyfob batteries, wipers and brake fluid.  

The average age of EVs on Fleet Assist’s books is 1.6 years, compared with 4.6 years for ICE vehicles. St Claire conceded that this would make a difference but claimed that overall SMR costs would still be less for EVs – to a point. 

He said: “The general mileage profile will make BEVs look better as an average comparison today, absolutely, but there still is an underlying trend that you can’t get away from: even if you were to take a one-year-old BEV and ICE vehicle, you’ll find that the labour times are less and the parts required are less.

“Where they [EVs] will potentially [be] costlier is where [an older] vehicle may have had two sets of brake pads during its life and a set of discs.”

Tyres balance it out

Higher tyre prices and wear rates can offset the allegedly lower cost of EV maintenance.

Steve Chambers, senior editor for SMR at Cap HPI, said: “[EV rubber is] generally bigger, therefore more expensive and wears more quickly, but it’s offset by the fact that we could, as a broad brush, say the service component is 50% [cheaper]. Then when we look at other items, like timing belts, water pumps ands alternators, they’re never going to be an issue for BEVs.

“There are all sorts of things at play, but fundamentally EVs do cost less to run. If you’re a retail customer, though, the question is whether or not you’d feel it that much if you’re doing very low mileage. If it’s a case of ‘I’ve got to replace two tyres this year’, do you look back in 24 months and say ‘I replaced them in the first 12 months and this is the second time I’ve had to do it’?”


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