The surge in popularity of electric and hybrid vehicles (EHVs) continues. In the first eight months of 2019, more than 35,000 EHVs were sold in the UK and, as of September there were 240,000 plug-in-cars and 8,500 plug-in-vans registered. Total UK registrations of EHVs has risen from 2.7% in 2018 to 3.8% in 2019.
As we become more aware of climate change, industry experts and manufacturers believe that EHV sales will only continue to grow. And with recent advancements in better technology development, EHVs are set to offer a far greater range making them even more attractive to consumers.
Opportunities and challenges
This undeniable growth translates into new business opportunities, and challenges, for garages and MOT testing facilities. Having the capacity and capability to service and maintain EHVs is a ‘must have’ with drivers expecting to find a reputable and competent EHV workshop on their doorstep.
The good news is that here at Prosol UK we have all the equipment, tools and products you need to fulfill this growing demand. Over the last few years, we have developed an expert knowledge and understanding of the differences between EHV maintenance and traditional petrol or diesel vehicles.
Believe it or not, the maintenance costs associated with EHVs can be much lower. This is down to the fact that most EHVs have a very simple structure. There are only three main elements: the electric engine, motor controller/inverter and battery. As such, these are the key components requiring maintenance investment.
Overall, actual costs will depend on the specific model of course. Compare a Nissan Leaf, a mass produced, very popular electric vehicle, to a Porsche Taycan. The cost of spare parts for the Leaf will be less expensive as they are more widely available, and demand is higher.
- Regenerative braking
What is regenerative braking? It’s a question we’re often asked! Regenerative braking is a system of generating energy as a vehicle slows down and the brakes are applied. Rather than losing energy as heat from the brake discs and pads, as is the case with traditional petrol and diesel vehicles, an EHV’s regenerative braking system captures the energy and transfers it back to the high voltage battery for reuse.
Recovering energy which would usually be wasted via regenerative braking is not only highly efficient, it can also significantly extend the life of the braking system as the parts don’t wear as quickly. Brake pads will still require maintenance but the replacement frequency will be far less than a regular vehicle and will, generally, be simpler.
- Fewer fluids
EHVs do not use as many fluids as their traditional counterparts. Most of the fluids they do utilise are sealed within the vehicle and are not accessible. Coolant fluid, brake fluid and windscreen washer fluid are the three main fluids that will require monitoring and replenishing. Some components on some models, such as gearbox of the Tesla Model S, incorporate transmission fluid that will need to be checked and replaced during a routine service.
Some things stay the same
Whilst there are several differences to take into account when preparing to maintain or service an EHV, there are also a couple of similarities to taking care of regular vehicles, one of which may surprise you.
- Windscreen wipers
The windscreen wipers on EHVs are exactly the same as those used on a traditional car or van so the wiper blades will need to be regularly examined for efficacy and replaced when worn.
You may think that the battery in an EHV would need to be replaced much more often. Not the case. As with a traditional car battery, an EV battery will become less efficient with time but most will last for at least 10 years. Many vehicles even come with a manufacturer’s warranty for battery drivetrain components for up to 150,000 miles, not a bad deal!
Greener, cleaner and easier to maintain
We already know that EHVs are the greener, cleaner option and the point that they are easier and usually more expedient to maintain is a real bonus for garage owners, technicians and car drivers alike.