Study Finds EVs Don't Have The Reliability We Were Promised

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Repairs and maintenance costs are six times higher than your average Honda.

There are tons of kept promises behind our EV future. Clean air was one of them. Filling up at home is a huge bonus. We're not scared of range anymore because of big batteries like in the Ford F-150 Lightning and Tesla Model S Plaid, and even the motorsports and enthusiast world has mostly signed on. More of our power is now coming from renewable resources than ever before. But with electric motors, and driveshaft-free drivetrains, and less moving parts, we were told these things would be cheap to own and operate. So far that's not the case.

We Predict, a Michigan-based company using predictive software to analyze mass quantities of data for business, released its first Deepview True Cost Report, which looked at the first 90 days of vehicle ownership and the associated costs. The study is based on 2021 model year vehicles in 21 segments, including 801,000 vehicles across 306 models. The study used 1.6 million actual service or repair orders from both dealerships and independent repair shops, but the company noted it doesn't include gas, inspections or insurance.

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Obviously the shocking, no pun intended, part of this is that electric vehicles will cost their owners on average $123 in the first 90 days. That's more than twice as much as the average gasoline vehicle ($53) and almost triple a hybrid's costs ($46). But we should remember that this is only an average, and these numbers alone don't mean unreliability.

A vehicle can have fewer visits to the shop, but for more money. Luxury brands, and EVs are sort of in this category, have more expensive parts. Mass market EVs are also still in the early phases, we can admit, and both labor and parts will eventually get cheaper.

"As expected, parts for some of the luxury import brands are more expensive than parts for non-premium vehicles," said Renee Stephens, vice president of North American operations for We Predict. "But it's not just parts that can drive costs up. Some vehicles are simply more challenging to repair. A $50 part that takes several hours to replace can result in a repair bill in the hundreds of dollars."

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Parts and labor costs for EVs are higher than gas or hybrid vehicles. Parts for EVs average $65, compared with $28 for gasoline and $24 for hybrid vehicles. EV labor costs average $58, while gasoline vehicles average $25. The next generation of EVs will be better, and easier to repair, hopefully. And mechanics will get better at repairing them. But these vehicles are here now.

"Vehicles that have low service and warranty costs at three months tend to have low costs at three years, said James Davies, We Predict founder. "Our predictive analytics show that problems incurred in the first three months of service often indicate how the vehicle will perform over its lifecycle. Vehicle quality doesn't get better with age."

On average, the cost at three months is multiplied by 15 at 36 months, and 20 times by five years of ownership. That means an average EV owner would be looking at $2,460 in service by year five.

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Ford
Ford

Other interesting tidbits include that premium vehicle repair costs in the first three months average $69, more than double the $33 average of non-premium vehicles. Predictably, repairs are responsible for 77% of visits while only 8% is for maintenance.

The company has a full survey about which exact company's have the lowest cost of service. It's broken down by make and segment, you can find out where your car ranks in our wrapup of the We Predict study.

We Predict didn't build this data set out of the kindness of its heart; it wants to sell this info to automakers so they can react accordingly. And that might be good. If an automaker knows that its labor costs are higher than its neighbors, maybe it can make the necessary changes to alleviate the problem. And EVs need to be the first in line.

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