I’m a Mechanic: Here’s Why an EV May End Up Being More Expensive Than a Traditional Car

Caucasian Car Mechanic Under Vehicle Looking For Potential Issues with a Drivetrain.
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You might think switching to an electric vehicle — aka an EV — is a surefire solution for saving money in the long run. However, the actual savings you’ll reap might not be as substantial as you think.

From battery replacements to limited service options, electric vehicles harbor their own set of costs that could actually make them more expensive than vehicles that use fuel.

To find out more, GOBankingRates interviewed a mechanic and a car expert. Here’s what they had to say about why an EV may end up being more expensive than a traditional car. 

A Mechanic’s Take

John Lin, mechanic and co-founder of JB Motor Works, said, “Despite the long-term cost-saving benefits of electric vehicles compared to gas-powered counterparts due to factors like lower fuel costs and fewer moving parts requiring maintenance, there could be instances that could lead to EVs being more expensive.”

Expensive Battery Replacements

“Batteries are the heart of electric cars and while they typically have long life spans of eight to 15 years, replacing them can be costly, sometimes as high as several thousands of dollars,” said Lin.

Limited Service Options

“As it stands, specialized training is required to service EVs and not all mechanics are equipped to handle them,” Lin said. “This often means that you have to resort to manufacturer-approved shops, which could tend to be more expensive than the independent ones for gas vehicles.”

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High Insurance Rates

“According to some studies,” Lin said, “electric cars could be more expensive to insure. This is due to their high repair costs and the relatively high cost of the vehicles themselves.”

Initial Purchase Price

Lin also mentioned, “Perhaps the most apparent cost is the upfront cost. While the gap is narrowing, electric vehicles often have higher sticker prices than most comparable gas cars.”

Charging Infrastructure

“Depending on where you live,” added Lin, “setting up a home charging station can involve a substantial upfront cost.”

A Car Expert’s Breakdown of Costs

Lauren Fix, the “Car Coach,” and founder of Car Coach Reports, said, “There are plenty of factors that need to be considered — a close inspection of the cost of an EV versus a standard car, the tax breaks, the maintenance, the fuel…”

Fix said that by examining these costs, the results may surprise you as to whether an EV or standard car is actually the better buy.

Cost of an EV vs. a Traditional Car

“The average price for a brand-new EV is about $65,000,” said Fix. “That’s considerably higher than the average four-door sedan, which runs about $49,000, according to Kelly Blue Book.”

However, Fix said that the tax credits and gas savings associated with electric vehicles can save you money.

Cost of Gas vs. Electricity

“As the price of gasoline rises, so does the cost of electricity,” Fix said. “The average cost of gassing up a car is $1,120 a year. The annual cost to operate an electric vehicle is about $485/year, although having a home charger can lower that figure.”

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Cost of Maintenance on an EV vs. a Traditional Car

Fix said, “You’ll hear some people say there is no maintenance needed for an EV, but that is not true. If there are moving parts, there is maintenance. Yes, there are less moving parts in EVs, so the annual cost of maintaining an electric vehicle comes in around $900 year. That’s only $300 less than the $1,200 a year it costs to keep gas or diesel engines running smoothly.”

A $13,000 Cost Difference

“Totaling all factors in, an EV will set you back $71,770,” Fix said. “A gas-powered car? $58,664. You will never make up the initial expense difference over the lifetime of your more-expensive electric vehicle.

“Put another way, a gas-powered car will cost you $600 more a year to drive. But over an average six years of owning an EV versus a gas car, the EV will set you back $13,000 more.”

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