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Study: Service costs for EVs fall below service costs for gas-powered vehicles at three-year mark

A new study finds that the average service costs for an electric vehicle after 36 months on the road is three times lower than the service costs for a gasoline-powered vehicle.On average, it's costlier to maintain an EV in its first year than it is to maintain an internal combustion engine vehicle, according to Deepview True Cost data out Thursday from analytics and data company We Predict. But that switches when an EV hits that three-year mark.EV owners shell out $123 on average for service when their car is three months old and $306 on average when their car is one year old. Gas vehicle owners spend $53 and $189, respectively, at those same milestones. At three years, this flips: EV service costs average $514 and gasoline-vehicle service costs average $749. "The data shows that maintenance costs are lower and maintaining an electric engine over the medium-to-long term is significantly cheaper and less fraught with larger repairs than ICE engines," We Predict CEO James Davies told Automotive News. EV owners spend an average of $77 solely on maintenance in their first three years of ownership, according to the study. That's less than the average of $228 spent on maintaining an ICE vehicle in the same period of time. Repair costs for EVs are lower because they have fewer parts than ICE vehicles, according to the study. We Predict said its study includes more than 13 million vehicles across 400 models. Results are based on 65 million service or repair orders totalling more than $7.7 billion in parts and $9.5 billion in labor costs, the company said.Calculations included maintenance, unplanned repairs, warranty and recalls, service campaigns, diagnostics, software updates and warranty on factory-installed options. We Predict said costs of gasoline, local and state inspections, seasonal tire changes and insurance were not included.Service costs increasedIt's getting more expensive to maintain vehicles, according to the study.Manufacturers' costs to service their vehicles from the 2018 model year averaged $731 in the first three years — an 11 percent increase from 2016 models on the road for the same period of time, We Predict said. Repair costs rose 4 percent, maintenance 11 percent and service campaigns 35 percent.Because of these reasons, the average service cost for a 2018 premium vehicle grew 18 percent to $1,513 when compared to their 2016 counterparts. In contrast, average service costs for 2018 non-premium vehicles grew just 4 percent to $573 in the same period.Repair expenses also fall more frequently on manufacturers' shoulders, the study found. Manufacturers shelled out an average of $364 per 2018 model-year vehicle, 11 percent more than what they paid for 2016 model-year vehicles. But owners spend an estimated $309 on repairs for 2018 vehicles in the first three years of ownership — one dollar more than what they paid on average for 2016 vehicles.Manufacturers are paying more because of a spike in labor charges, which rose from $168 per 2016 vehicle to $199 per 2018 vehicle. Campaign costs have also risen from $84 to $105, according to the study."The average cost of labor on an EV can be two or three times higher than an ICE [vehicle] at the moment because it takes longer to figure out what the problem is, and then longer to solve it," Davies said. "But you know, once [manufacturers'] technicians have figured these things out — and that information gets disseminated and spread out to all of the other service techs — we would expect to see those labor costs come down."Actual cost rankingsThe We Predict study ranked both ICE and EV car brands based on their average actual service and warranty costs that accumulated in their first three years on the road.Among premium brands, Acura models rank first, with average service and warranty costs of $600. Lincoln models rank second at $879. Genesis models rank third at $1,181.Among non-premium brands, Kia ranks first, with those costs coming out to $369. Hyundai models rank second with a cost of $381. Dodge models rank third with a cost of $420.Actual service costs per car for the first three years range widely, We Predict said. Costs span $202 to $5,012.
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