Electric vehicles are becoming an increasingly popular choice for motorists in the UK, as more and more fully-electric iterations of popular cars are becoming available on the market. Electric vehicle sales have soared to more than 50 times that of 2012 – but are they the alternative that UK motorists are looking for?
Ensuring you have the right insurance and tax is par for the course as a vehicle owner, and no different for electric vehicles, but what of maintenance? Considerable differences between electric vehicles and gas-guzzlers have led to the assertion that electric vehicles are easier to maintain, but is it true? And are they more reliable?
More Reported Issues
UK consumer group Which? carried out a recent survey of vehicle owners, and in so doing discovered a surprising statistic. More electric vehicle owners reported experiencing issues with their car within four years of ownership than petrol or diesel car owners.
Of those that owned a petrol vehicle, only 19% had encountered a problem; meanwhile, 31% of electric vehicle owners had encountered a problem. Diesel vehicles had a 30% likelihood of developing a problem in the same timeframe.
Longer Off The Road
The same survey revealed that electric vehicles spent longer off the road as a result of issues than petrol or diesel vehicles, on average. Electric vehicles taken for servicing would spend an average of five days off the road, as opposed to three days for petrol vehicles and four days for diesel vehicles.
Some of this discrepancy can be attributed to the relative newness of electric vehicle technology, and a limited number of garages equipped to properly maintain an electric vehicle. But the reasons also go a little deeper – and go some way to explaining the above statistics.
Differences In Maintenance
Electric cars are touted to be more reliable than petrol or diesel vehicles by virtue of their lack of internal combustion engines. Engines have a large number of moving parts, many of which require regular maintenance and in some cases replacement. Electric motors, meanwhile, have far fewer moving parts.
In short, petrol engines have far more that could go wrong mechanically than electric vehicles.
However, electric vehicles also have more complicated software, regulating the motor and battery – expensive components to replace. Issues with software can effectively ‘brick’ a car and require more time to fix than simple mechanical issues.
While it may be true that electric vehicles are simpler in design than petrol vehicles, this sadly does not make them more reliable – though future developments may see serious improvements, as electric vehicles chart a route to becoming the dominant mode of transport in the UK.