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6 Oct 21

EV collision repairs “3% more expensive”

Repairing the body of an EV after a minor collision is about 3% more expensive than for petrol cars, a recent study shows. That is remarkable, as EV repairs take less time than for petrol cars. However, higher repair prices are not everyone’s experience, “as long as the high-voltage system is not affected”, says Steffen Krautwasser (pictured), Head of Global Car Fleet at SAP. 

The study, by CCC Intelligent Solutions, is the first ever to compare repair costs for EVs side by side with those for the petrol version of the same models. CCC examined one year of data for repairs to non-luxury small cars up to three years old, for crashes the vehicles were able to drive away from. 

Some remarkable insights:

  • 22% of petrol cars couldn’t drive away from their accident, versus only 18% of EVs. 
  • Repairs to EVs took just 22 hours, versus 25.5 hours for petrol cars. Nevertheless, EV repairs were 3% more expensive.
  • This seems to relate to the cost for replacement parts, which made up 40% of the EV repair cost, versus just 37.5% of the petrol car repair cost.
  • Important to know is that 38% of the parts for petrol cars were aftermarket products, versus just 11% for EVs. 
  • Perhaps unsurprisingly, considering the higher cost, the net-promotor score, which measures customer satisfaction, was lower for EV repairs (86 vs. 90 for petrol car repairs).

Basic mechanics

The basic mechanics of an EV motor are less complex than those of a petrol car engine. So, what’s going on? The study says that, nevertheless, “EVs are the poster child for growing vehicle complexity, with vehicle repairs requiring more time spent by technicians performing scans and calibrations, and researching repair methods.”

EVs are much more likely to be fitted with expensive and sophisticated Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS). They contain more parts that can only be sourced from the vehicle manufacturer, and/or may not be reused. 

Lower service need

Part of the promise of electrification is that it will benefit corporate fleets in a variety of ways, including cost. This study is counter-indicative to that promise; but Steffen Krautwasser, Global Head of Fleet at SAP and winner of Fleet Europe’s 2020 European Green Fleet Manager award, doesn’t have that experience. 

“I don’t agree that an EV damage repair is more costly than a petrol one, as long as the high-voltage system is not affected,” he says. “From my experience, the need to service or exchange consumables like brakes is lower for EVs than for petrol cars. I can’t really comment on speed of repair, as we currently have issues with repair times for all powertrains, mostly caused by the semiconductor issue.”

Plan enough breaks

Mr. Krautwasser acknowledges that repair shops need to invest in training, equipment and infrastructure specifically for EVs, so he has some understanding for the cost of EV damage repairs. 

The best advice to avoid those is – of course – to avoid damage: “Like other drivers, EV drivers should drive carefully and plan their trips. Specifically for them, that includes planning enough time for the breaks that are required to recharge the car.” 

“As for driving itself, new EV drivers need to be mindful, especially in the first few weeks and months, that EVs accelerate very fast, and that braking behaviour is very different, due to the energy recuperation that takes place.” 
 
Image: SAP

Authored by: Frank Jacobs