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Electric vehicles are cheaper to service, new data shows

Electric vehicles are 22% cheaper to service than petrol and diesel counterparts, meaning garages will need to consider business profitability as the automotive market switches to zero-emission motoring.

Fleet Assist has released servicing and maintenance trends for battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) compared to internal-combustion engine (ICE) cars, based on the 850,000 fleet cars and vans using its 5,200-strong franchised and independent garage network.

According to the company’s data from 2022 so far, the average transaction value of a BEV service is currently around 22% less than an ICE equivalent. This can be put down in part to a reduction in labour costs, with time taken to service a BEV down 33% compared to ICE. 

Additionally, the parts component of an BEV job is also typically 28% cheaper than an ICE car due to them having fewer working parts, with brake wear far lower. When considering parts prices which have risen by around 10% in the past 12 months the BEV/ICE SMR cost gap widens further.

Fleet Assist’s SMR data shows that currently the most common BEV parts being replaced are pollen filters, bulbs, key fob batteries, wipers, and brake fluid.

No knee-jerk pricing reactions

The company has warned that garages may look to increase prices as a result of the reduced profitability from BEV servicing, however it has warned against some knee-jerk reactions.It was contacted by one franchised garage that was considering implementing a specific BEV servicing labour rate of £125, an 89% increase over the equivalent labour cost for ICE vehicles. 

“Garages are already starting to come to terms with how EVs will impact their servicing revenues and workshop traffic in the longer term. We may see more garages looking at ways to address how the paradigm shift of BEV aftersales is going to challenge their service provision and fees they charge,” explained Vincent St Claire, Fleet Assist’s MD.

With garages needing to train technicians in the servicing of electric vehicles, and the cost of living crisis leading some to increase salaries paid, there may be a need to increase servicing prices to cover increased costs. The problem of BEV servicing, and the added problem of fewer wearing parts, and increased distance between servicing requirements, will only add to these needs to increase prices.

However, BEVs currently make up a small share of the UK’s car parc. This is growing as more electric models come to market, and driver attitudes change. The UK’s ban on new petrol and diesel sales will inevitably see many drivers consider switching, but with 35 million passenger cars on UK roads, ICE models will not disappear overnight. 

Instead, garages need to prepare for every eventuality. Increasing numbers of BEVs will come into workshops in the coming years, so increasing numbers of trained technicians will be required. As electric vehicles are cheaper to service, a good business plan will also be essential to combat rising costs, and decreased profitability from BEV servicing. 

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