Repairs for Tesla EVs cost $5,552 on average in the third quarter, according to a report from collision repair management software provider Mitchell, quoted by Automotive News. That’s $1,347 more than combustion vehicles and $1,078 more than non-Tesla EVs. As a group, EVs were $950 more expensive to fix on average than ICE cars.
In other words, Teslas are costlier than EVs made by other companies when it comes to making them road-worthy after an accident, but there’s more to the story than just the prices, starting with the age of cars that were included in the research.
Mitchell, which provides its software to about 25 percent of the country’s collision repair shops, says that the average model year of an EV that needed repairs in the previous quarter was 2022, while the average combustion vehicle was a 2016 model.
Naturally, with a newer vehicle comes newer tech, especially on the safety front, which also means higher repair costs compared to a car that doesn’t have things like side-mounted cameras or lane-departure warning sensors.
Furthermore, considering Tesla is the undisputed leader in the American EV market – meaning there are more Tesla-branded EVs on U.S. roads than any other automaker – it’s not surprising that its cars see the highest average repair cost.
"These vehicles are on the cutting edge of all this safety technology and this digital connected-car technology, and all of that is going to play a role when these vehicles are involved in a collision," said Ryan Mandell, director of claims performance for auto physical damage at Mitchell.
"You could have a left-front corner impact that somehow has disrupted your right rear lane-departure warning sensor," Mandell added. "Maybe that part needs to be replaced, maybe it needs to be recalibrated."
By comparison, the average repair cost for a Rivian was around $8,000, while Polestar and Lucid models saw even higher invoices, Mandell said. But whatever the current situation, the trend for all vehicles, electric or combustion, is toward higher repair bills and higher insurance premiums, with Teslas being among the most expensive brands to insure.
Full coverage for a 2022 Tesla EV averaged $251 per month or 74 percent more than the U.S. average, according to a September analysis by MarketWatch Guides based on data from Quadrant Information Services for a 35-year-old driver with a clean driving record.
"In the past with a fender bender, you could have repaired it with a hammer and banged it out," said Tony Cotto, director of auto and underwriting policy at the National Association of Mutual Insurance Cos., a trade association. "Now, all of the sudden, when you factor in cameras and connected technology, where pieces are connected to one another, that's going from banging out a dent to a multi-thousand-dollar repair."
Interestingly, all-out replacements for the high-voltage batteries are not among the key factors that led the average repair cost of EVs to be higher than gas cars, although the report mentions they do occasionally happen, and that repair shops sometimes need to take out the battery to perform other repairs to the cars, which adds labor cost.
"We don't see estimates come in with a high frequency that have replacement of the high-voltage battery or indicate damage," Mandell said. "Does it happen? Absolutely."
As always, we want to know what you think about this. Did you ever need to repair your EV? If so, what were your expectations and what was the result? Let us know in the comments below.