EV Repair Costs Exposed

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【Summary】Summary: The increasing number of electric vehicles (EVs) on the road has led to higher repair costs due to a lack of understanding and knowledge among auto repair shops. Insurers are often writing off entire cars due to minor damage to battery casings, despite the rarity of fires or safety compromises. The lack of access to parts and official repair information also contributes to the high cost of EV repairs, with some models costing over £10,000 ($12,430) to replace battery units.

FutureCar Staff    Nov 19, 2023 3:14 PM PT
EV Repair Costs Exposed

In June of this year, a Hyundai Kona arrived at a repair shop in Cheltenham, England. Despite appearing to be in good running condition, the insurance company was hesitant to approve it. The car had been involved in a minor collision that resulted in damage to its battery casing. Another repair shop had been tasked with replacing the casing, but they were unsure how to proceed.

The car ultimately ended up at Cleevely Motors in Cheltenham, where owner Matt Cleevely and his colleagues examined it. To their surprise, they found only minor scratches on the metal casing, caused by one of the car's rear suspension arms during the incident. The damage was insignificant and did not compromise the integrity of the battery casing or pose any danger. Cleevely considered the insurance company's request excessive, but complied nonetheless. The replacement cost £600 ($745), plus tax.

Over the past three years, the number of electric cars on UK roads has more than doubled, reaching an estimated 850,000, according to the RAC. In the US, it is projected that over 1 million electric vehicles will be sold this year, potentially setting a record.

The increasing prevalence of electric vehicles naturally leads to a higher likelihood of them being involved in accidents. However, there is a notable concern surrounding damaged batteries, as they have the potential to compromise vehicle safety by causing electric shocks, fires, or even explosions. Nevertheless, fires in electric vehicles remain extremely rare and are less common than in traditional internal combustion engine vehicles.

Some insurers are going as far as declaring entire cars as write-offs due to minor physical damage to battery casings. Sources interviewed by WIRED suggest that there is a shortage of auto repair shops equipped to properly assess and repair batteries. There is a prevalent fear-mongering culture within the industry when it comes to electric vehicles, according to Cleevely, who believes that the lack of understanding is the main issue.

Furthermore, certain manufacturers make the repair process even more challenging for mechanics. Obtaining parts can be difficult, and there is often little to no official information available on how to repair specific EV battery units. As a result, these units often end up being replaced at a staggering cost, exceeding £10,000 ($12,430) for certain models.

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