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Are Electric Vehicles REALLY More Expensive?

electric vehicle repair tesla repair costs ev car repair ev collision repair

Electric vehicles are known for being efficient and affordable to operate and maintain, making them a great investment for drivers once you get past the upfront costs. However, if you’ve ever looked into buying an EV, you’ve probably heard everyone from friends to your mechanic warn you that they’re far more expensive to repair after an accident than an internal combustion engine (ICE) car.

Now, that makes a lot of sense: EVs are a newer technology, so it should come as no surprise that electric vehicle repair will cost more, right? But before you call off your EV search, it’s a good idea to ask whether that piece of advice is true to begin with.

Below, we’ll take a look at where this idea comes from, how well it holds up under real conditions, and why it might have come to be a popular belief. By the end, you’ll know everything you need to know about EV repair costs and how they measure up. Let’s get started.

Electric Vehicle Repairs: Expensive Fact of Life or Myth?

First, let’s tackle the belief: do EV repairs cost more than ICE repairs? According to a 2023 study by Mitchell International, a company specializing in software for managing collision repairs, collision repairs for ICE cars cost an average of $4,205. Most EVs, on the other hand, came with an average repair bill of $4,474 — unmistakably higher, but still affordable for many drivers.

So far, you can see that EV repairs only cost a little over $300 more on average. To understand where the reputation for higher costs comes from, you have to look to Tesla.

According to Mitchell International’s data, a Tesla EV costs $4,474 to repair after an accident or collision — a full $1,347 more than an ICE car. To put it another way, the average repair costs for all EVs, including Teslas, is $5,155, or about $950 more than gas-burning cars, proving that it’s really Tesla’s higher costs that skew the average.

Breaking Down EV Repair Costs

So, are electric vehicles more expensive to repair than their gas-burning counterparts? The answer can best be summed as “yes, but” — but why is that?

Part of the reason for that slightly higher cost is that EVs are a relatively new technology, and there still aren’t enough mechanics and other repair specialists with the training and experience needed to help. That drives labor costs up due to demand, and it’s compounded by the fact that EV car repairs require specialized equipment and that isolating an EV battery pack for repairs is still a skill out of reach for many repair technicians.

In other words, EVs are generally slightly more costly to repair in the first place. But to really get to grips with this issue, we have to understand why Teslas, in particular, cost so much to fix.

One reason is that they generally have higher costs, but Teslas are also designed and sold as luxury vehicles, which should explain a lot. Luxury cars, whether electric or gas-powered, typically have more features, sometimes require hard-to-obtain replacement parts, and often have rarer and more expensive materials in their construction. All that adds up to a bigger repair bill.

Another reason might have to do with the design of Teslas themselves. Teslas, like most EVs on the market today, have lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery packs made up of thousands of cells. While a few smaller companies have released, or are experimenting with, modular battery pack designs, Tesla isn’t.

Consequently, if the battery suffers even slight damage in an accident, the entire pack has to be replaced rather than one or two cells. And, since a new Tesla battery can cost as much as $20,000, this has a major impact on overall or potential EV collision repair costs. What’s more, Teslas are subject to fairly frequent redesigns, meaning a technician with experience on, for example, the 2020 Model S might be dealing with an entirely different frame and internal systems on the 2023 model.

What’s Next?

There is good news, though. As EVs are produced and sold in ever greater numbers, the number of qualified repair technicians will increase to keep up with demand. That means more choices for drivers when it comes to EV repairs, as well as lower costs.

Increasing EV part production and improving designs should also bring repair costs down, as will improving designs to simplify repairs. All that’s left is to see how long it will take to bring electric vehicle repair costs down to more accessible levels.

Until then? Stick to the non-Tesla EVs if you want to make your money go further.

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By evee Life Contributor

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