Study: EVs cost more to service than gas-powered cars

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — It costs more to service electric vehicles than their gasoline-powered counterparts, but the gap narrows over time, according to new data from analytics firm We Predict.

The company, which released data this year saying EVs were 2.3 times more expensive to service than ICE vehicles after three months of ownership, said Wednesday that there is a caveat: After one year, EVs are just 1.6 times more expensive to service.

We Predict looked at the data of about 19 million vehicles between the 2016 and 2021 model years.

The main factors in the narrowing over that nine-month period included a 77 percent drop in maintenance costs as well as a slight decline in repair costs. Still, the data showed that service techs are spending twice as long diagnosing problems with EVs vs. those with gasoline vehicles. They are spending 1.5 times longer fixing them, and their average labor rate was 1.3 times higher.

Renee Stephens, a vice president at We Predict, said the issue is due partly to the fact that EV problems are still new and unfamiliar to many technicians.

“It’s an industry in launch,” she said in a media briefing. “This is the launch factor you’re seeing.”

A majority of the repair work centered on EV-specific components, such as wiring problems or charging issues.

We Predict found that EVs had a high rate of wheel problems, which the data analysis company attributed to greater wear and tear from carrying bulky batteries and overall heavier vehicles.

Among recent high-profile EV launches, We Predict found that Ford Motor Co.’s Mustang Mach-E performed best.

After three months of ownership, Mach-E service costs were $93 per vehicle, far lower than the closest competitor, the Audi E-tron, at $366 per vehicle. The Porsche Taycan hit $667 per vehicle, while the Jaguar I-Pace was $834 per vehicle.

“It seemed like they nailed the EV basics,” Stephens said of Ford. “It bodes well for what their future’s going to look like.”

We Predict plans to eventually issue a similar report that looks at EV service costs following three years of ownership.