SAE Discusses Low Maintenance Benefit Of Electric Cars – Video


Electric Cars Don't Require Oil Changes

Electric Cars Don’t Require Oil Changes

One of the prime benefits of owning a pure electric vehicle is low maintenance costs.

There are no oil changes required.  No tune ups.  No spark plugs to be replaced.  And so on.

These benefits are covered in brief in this “SAE Eye on Engineering: Low Maintenance Electric Cars” video.

Electric cars offer the big benefit of almost no maintenance. In this week’s SAE Eye on Engineering, Senior Editor Lindsay Brooke looks at the almost maintenance-free life of owning an electric car.

SAE Eye on Engineering also airs Monday mornings on WJR 760 AM Detroit’s Paul W. Smith Show. Access archived episodes of SAE Eye on Engineering at

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15 Comments on "SAE Discusses Low Maintenance Benefit Of Electric Cars – Video"

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This is great for dealers. You can sell 1000 EVs and have them come in for “checkups” while actually not needing to do Any Work, and get PAID.

It’s also great if an auto company has company-owned service centers and no dealer network. Tesla tries to sell new owners a $600 per year Service Plan or a $1,900 4-year Service Plan. A Model S comes in for “checkups” while actually not needing to do Any Work, and Tesla gets PAID big bucks!!! Tesla does install new windshield wipers and top up the window washer fluid, so that the owners who bought the service plan don’t feel like they got ripped off.

From your link :


Tesla Service includes everything needed to keep your Model S in great condition, from an annual inspection to 24 hour roadside assistance and necessary hardware upgrades. Our goal is not to just fix things, but to make your car better than it was. However, even if you never bring in the car, your warranty is still valid.

Tesla Service includes
Annual inspection (or every 12,500 miles)
Replacement parts like brake pads and windshield wipers (excluding tires)
24 hour roadside assistance
System monitoring
Remote diagnostics
Service related hardware upgrades

Tesla Valet Service
Tesla is putting in place a valet service, so that your car is seamlessly picked up and replaced with a loaner and then returned as soon as we are done. There is no additional charge for this.

Really? Break pads should never need to be replaced or replaced every 100,000 miles on a BEV. The cabin air filter should need replaced every 2 years for say $50 and you should not need a front end alignment every year say every other at the most. Software updates and monitoring are already taken care of thru the wireless network. So for 2 services you are paying $1200 for 2 alignments a few windshield wiper blades, a cabin air filter and 2 tire rotations. That price seems sky high to me.

Well, that really depends how you drive and how the EV works (with regards to braking).

In the Model S, pressing the brake pedal always engages the mechanical brake pads. So, if you brake heavily and don’t take advantage of regeneration when slowing down, you might wear the pads out. To take full advantage of regenerative braking, Model S drivers must get used to “braking” by lifting their foot off the accelerator (and avoiding the brake pedal).

In the Ford Focus Electric, for example, pressing the brake pedal engages regeneration automatically (up to a point, where the mechanical brakes finally engage as well). So, “driving normally” (simply using the brake pedal in the typical way) should avoid most brake pad wear.

(This comparison isn’t intended to imply that one approach is better than the other, simply to illustrate that there are different approaches that may lead to different results.)

Now watch as the “EVs don’t require maintenance” and the “Tesla can do no wrong” cognitive dissonance begins.

Part of the big cost-of-ownership advantage of EVs is the low maintenance requirements… but if you are dropping $600/year for maintenance on a Tesla, that maintenance argument goes out the window.

Well, don’t sign up for the maintenance program then! EVs are low maintenance. But I can’t fault Tesla for getting some suckers that are willing to pay big bucks for trivial maintenance. If some clueless person feels better about paying hundreds of dollars to have some Tesla tech, let them.

You must own a Leaf like me. Yearly battery checks? What a waste.

Let’s just KISS, and say that you will spend about 1/4 of what a non ev would cost. Commiserate with about what you save on what it costs to fuel, gas as opposed to electricity. So TCTO is much lower for ev’s though the initial cost is higher, for an equivalent vehicle. So for instance if the payback is 5 years, ever after you are better off if the vehicle is an ev.

This is very good.

Having things like this from SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) means that people get it (even engineers LOL). There’s a million ways to sell EV’s and this is a good one. The mainstream buying public can relate.

“Demand for most electric cars and even hybrids has dropped sharply” … was mentioned in relation to falling gas pump prices.

While Hybrid and PHEV sales have decreased with gas prices, BEV (all-electric car) sales have remained strong. SAE likes to speak of “hybrids and electric vehicles” and ignore the 3 unique groups:: HEV, PHEV, and BEV. The reduced maintenance of oil changes and transmissions apply less so to PHEVs & HEVs. Regarding radiators, most EVs have a radiators to cool power electronics and to provide A/C to occupants. Since heat is less extreme than ICE cooling, the fluids don’t need to be changed as much.

SAE-eye is correct with lower EV maintenance, but misses a bit on the details.

I wanted to add as mentioned earlier my Volt and Spark EV have radiators with coolant.

I have the Tesla plan — in the annual service, the car basically gets taken apart and inspected, it’s more than wiper blades and washer fluid. In my case, there were parts replaced I did not recognize needed replacement — air filters replaced. Well worth the discount on prepayment.

If you spent $600, it was still less than the quarterly service I had with the Acura. We won’t even talk about the Range Rover. The manufactures today build in the service price — so you still pay.

This is why EVs make sense for fleet vehicles. Less time maintaining means more time working.