When it comes to maintaining a car, the judgment and will of the vehicle owner is a primary factor. The normal thing is to meet people of all kinds: from those who prefer to carry out all maintenance to the letter according to the recommendations of the brand and in the official technical service (and have all the stamps in the maintenance book), to those who never visit the workshop and prefer to do the different actions on their own.
Here, we will try to focus on the recommendations of the brands, since it is the only way to make a comparison as equitable as possible. It is important to point out that the maintenance that you do to your car (either in the official technical service or in the workshop of your neighborhood) depends on you, and are not mandatory in any case. What is common is to find promotions in which the brand extends the warranty (beyond the two years required by law) in exchange for going through the official workshop.
It should also be noted that talking about standardized prices is not an easy task. Passing the revision in one technical service or another may have notable differences (even in the same brand and the same province), so it is best to ask for several estimates and opt for the one that best suits us. After all, dealers are brand-independent companies and have some freedom in setting their own rates.
For our part, we have chosen to compare the maintenance cost of a Volkswagen e-Golf and a Renault ZOE with that of their combustion counterparts. The first, due to the transparency and ease of access to detailed data through its website. The second, because it is a very popular vehicle and because we have managed to access data from both an official technical service and its community of owners worldwide. In addition, we have also added the case of Tesla, a bit peculiar if we compare it with traditional manufacturers.
Volkswagen is probably one of the most transparent brands when it comes to electric car maintenance. Through its web application we have made a comparison of the maintenance of an electric car versus a combustion car. In addition, to make it as fair as possible, we have chosen to pit a Volkswagen e-Golf against a diesel Golf and another gasoline.
We have removed the so-called routine wear operations (tires, windshield wipers, shock absorbers, 12V battery from the equation, since they are practically the same for both types of cars with the exception of brakes, which are much longer lasting in the case of electric.
The Total Costs Are As Follows:
- Volkswagen e-Golf: 1,289 euros in total. 107 euros per year or 9 euros per month.
- Volkswagen Golf gasoline: 3,959 euros in total. 330 euros per year or 27 euros per month.
- Volkswagen Golf diesel: 3,749 euros in total. 107 euros per year or 26 euros per month.
In this way, the electric car represents a maintenance saving of 223 euros per year (19 per month) compared to gasoline and 205 euros per year (17 per month) compared to diesel.
The maintenance of the Renault ZOE can be consulted by the owners through the My Renault application, accessible when you own the car. In it, we can see a table that describes the different maintenance that must be performed on the car depending on its age or number of kilometers (whatever happens before).
The case of Renault with the maintenance costs of the ZOE is especially striking. After asking the Renault ZOE owners’ community in Spain and receiving a multitude of cases and experiences, the only thing that I have been able to make clear is that there are no standardized rates for periodic maintenance of the Renault ZOE, but that each dealer applies its own criterion with significant differences.
We have also found ourselves from owners who after more than 100,000 km have not gone through a technical service even once (which would be a real madness in a combustion car, but not so much in an electric one), to others who do. Every year as recommended by the brand for auto for trade.
Until the beginning of 2019, Tesla customers could buy maintenance packages in advance, allowing them to access periodic reviews for a fixed price. Prices that, by the way, were not cheap at all , although probably of the order of magnitude of a premium car of these characteristics. However, last March, and perhaps driven by the saturation of its service centers , Tesla decided to stop offering these plans to move to a more traditional format, in which it is the customer who chooses when to carry out maintenance operations.
The inspections planned by Tesla are always recommendations to keep the vehicle in perfect condition for use and safety, but never mandatory. In case of not following this maintenance program, the limited warranty that the brand grants to its new or used vehicles is not affected (for a Model 3 Standard, 4 years or 80,000 kilometers for the complete vehicle and 8 years or 160,000 kilometers for battery and motor group.
What seems clear is that both the after-sales service of the brands and the traditional workshop are going to undergo an important transformation to which they will have to adapt gradually over the next few years .
We must also be aware that the size and age of the sample limits the conclusions we can draw. In 10 years’ time, when there are many electric cars on the roads that start to reach a certain age, we will be able to know much more about their maintenance and above all, about their reliability and possible recurring failures.