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    Electric vehicles (EVs) are cheaper to service

    Electric vehicles (EVs) are cheaper to service according to Fleet Assist who have released servicing, maintenance and repair (SMR) trends for EVs versus internal combustion engine (ICE) cars. The data is based on the 850,000 fleet cars and vans using its 5,200-strong franchised and independent garage network.

    According to Fleet Assist’s 2022 data, the average transaction value of an EV service is currently approximately 22 percent less than an equivalent ICE car. Much of this can be put down to reduced labour times which are currently 33 percent shorter for EVs than ICE cars.

    The parts component of an EV 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 percent in the past 12 months the EV/ICE SMR cost gap widens further.

    Fleet Assist’s SMR data shows that currently the most common EV parts being replaced are pollen filters, bulbs, key fob batteries, wipers and brake fluid. Along with cheaper running costs, this shows that driving an EV can save a considerable amount of money annually.

    Recently, Ohme released annual figures showing how little drivers can run their electric cars for annually. If charging an electric vehicle on an off-peak tariff, electric car drivers can enjoy the benefits of low running costs that are the equivalent of just 1.9 pence per mile, with the likes of Octopus Intelligent at 7.5 pence per kWh. That means a typical UK driver’s annual mileage of 6,800 miles in an average electric vehicle could cost as little as £127.50.

    Despite the cheaper servicing cost shown by Fleet Assist, it does not guarantee that EV servicing prices will reduce dramatically as dealers look to raise SMR costs to retain their profitability. Dealers are starting to feel the pinch of reduced servicing revenues as drivers cover fewer miles which coincides with a rapid rise in operating costs, particularly technician salaries.

    Vincent St Claire, Fleet Assist’s managing director, said: “Fleet and retail drivers cannot take it for granted that EV SMR prices will remain cheaper than ICE cars, as over time costs could become more comparable.

    “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 EV aftersales is going to challenge their service provision and fees they charge.”

    Fleet Assist was contacted recently by a franchised garage that was considering implementing a specific EV servicing labour rate of £125, an 89 percent increase over the equivalent labour cost of servicing ICE cars.

    Fleet Assist would not support such a knee-jerk pricing action but the reality is that garages are having to take their future investment and growing overheads into account. 

    This includes technician training, a continued provision of a collection and delivery service and courtesy vehicles and upgrading their workshops to manage EVs, which includes multiple software updates, all of which cost time and money.

    This follows a recent survey by The Motor Ombudsman that confirmed that six in 10 garages expected to raise their prices in 2022 to remain profitable against the background of rising overheads.

    St Claire concluded: “We are looking to navigate our way through these complex times ensuring our customers continue to benefit from Fleet Assist’s annual SMR spending power of in excess of £150 million whilst ensuring garages invest and support our customer’s proposition.”

    Ian Osborne
    Ian Osborne
    Editor-in-Chief at ElectricDrives

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