Engineer: EVs cheaper to maintain

A Nissan Leaf charges at the rapid charge station in Filleul St yesterday. The Dunedin EV Owners...
A Nissan Leaf charges at the rapid charge station in Filleul St. Photo: Peter McIntosh
As well as being cheaper to fuel, electric vehicles are about 30% cheaper to maintain than other cars, an electrical design engineer says.

Some electric vehicle owners have expressed concerns subsidies the Government may introduce for all energy-efficient cars in 2021, combined with the lifting of the exemption of road user charges for EVs, could encourage people to buy hybrid or petrol cars instead.

The subsidy could mean up to $2600 off a new energy-efficient car, and up to $8000 off a new electric one. Dunedin-based Integrated Mechanics engineer Lucas Siegfried said in theory, the subsidy would be worth it.

Fuel-wise a petrol-powered Suzuki Swift cost about $9.90 to run every 100km, whereas an electric vehicle on a regular electricity plan cost only $4.14 - equating to $1978 per 20,000km, compared to about $828.

"Only a few mechanical bearings down to a gear reduction drive feeds the wheels.

"A petrol car has so many more moving parts which all run off a spinning crankshaft, including all the accessories."

Among the maintenance work the cars did require was maintenance for suspension components, tyres, and "interior bits" - similar to a petrol car.

If the Government took significantly more from high-emission vehicles compared to how much it subsidised EVs, the question would be how it was accounted for.

Batteries lasted about eight years, and as the market pushed vehicles for bigger ranges, the battery packs were becoming larger.

In New Zealand, an EV owner could expect to pay between $600 and $700 per kilowatt hour for a new battery pack. Someone wanting to make their own electric ute with 180kWh pack could expect to pay about $100,000 just for the batteries, Mr Siegfried said.

The cost of replacement battery packs was an example of where a Government subsidy tax could help owners of electric cars tackle the problem of getting their batteries replaced in an economic and environmentally-friendly way.

Electric vehicles almost all had five-star safety ratings, and the risk of fire was no more than a petrol car in an accident.



"In New Zealand, an EV owner could expect to pay $600 to $700 for a new battery pack."

Is this figure correct? I have heard quotes of $12,000 from main dealers.

$600 to $700 per kilowatt hour, not per battery pack.