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Electric vehicles cost 40% less to maintain than gasoline cars

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Manyu Jiang •

In our Electrifying Microtransit and Paratransit content series, get to know Via’s capabilities to power EV public transit programs all over the globe.

Raise your hand if you see electric vehicles (EVs) as key for a low-carbon future. ✋  But did you know that EVs don’t just save CO2 — they can save money, too? The latest data from the US Department of Energy shows battery-electric cars cost less to maintain compared to conventional gasoline cars, hybrids, and plug-in hybrids. The biggest difference is between gasoline and electric cars, with the latter costing 40% less to maintain than the former.

Imagine this: Compared with a conventional car that has hundreds of engine parts whirling around while on the road, an EV needs less than a dozen. Simpler engines mean fewer breakable components like timing belts, oxygen sensors, and spark plugs. 

Lower EV maintenance costs have the potential to make quite an impact, for individual drivers and fleet vehicles alike. But, because fleet vehicles are so heavily utilized, EVs have an even shorter payback period in a fleet than when privately owned. For example, given that government-owned light-duty cars traveled nearly 2 billion miles in 2019, the $4 difference in maintenance costs per every 100 miles could mean $78 million in maintenance savings every year for government vehicles alone. 

Maintenance is only one type of cost factored into an EV’s “total cost of ownership” or TCO. Costs for the vehicle itself, fuel, insurance, and operations can also differ between EVs and gasoline vehicles. While EVs might cost more upfront than gasoline vehicles, they can drive significant cost savings — such as from maintenance and fuel — when heavily utilized as part of a fleet. EVs may have a future not only as the economically sustainable choice, but the financially prudent one for both individuals and transit agencies.  With this in mind, a growing number of cities and agencies are testing EVs as fleet vehicles in their public transit systems. Transition to this electrified and shared mobility mode helps them achieve prime climate goals, enhance rider experience, and boost cost-efficiency in the long run. Berlin (Germany), Milton Keynes (UK) and Sacramento (US) have done that with their microtransit services, using light-duty vehicles just like the ones assessed in the DOE study

The bottom line: When factoring in savings on maintenance and gas over the life of the transit service, EVs are looking more appealing than ever to city leaders and transit agencies. Learn how to electrify your fleet

Manyu Jiang avatar
Manyu Jiang

Via Resource Editor