Why EVs are so much cheaper to service than petrol cars

White Kia Niro

Bruce Newton

Posted January 10, 2023

While brand new electric vehicles (EVs) often cost more initially to drive out of the showroom, many owners are saving thousands in maintenance costs.

Motorists looking to transition to a cleaner energy future by purchasing an EV (who also want to save money) can rejoice in not having to pump expensive petrol or diesel into a fuel tank.

One of the money-savers that is often overlooked is car maintenance costs.

Largely due to the fact that electric vehicles have a lot less moving parts than a traditional car powered by an internal combustion engine (ICE), RACVs 2022 Car Running Costs Survey found that EVs were the cheapest category of vehicles for servicing.

Another study of Australian Tesla owners by the Electric Vehicle Council also found that 41 per cent of respondents estimated a maintenance saving of more than $1,000 per year, while seven per cent saved more than $2,000.

We spoke to the experts to find out exactly why EVs are so much cheaper to service. 

Under the bonnet of a Kia Niro EV

Less equipment under the bonnet means less work for the dealer when it comes time for a service. 

Why are EVs so much cheaper to service?

Removing the engine, attendant belts, chains, and pipes from under the bonnet makes a big difference when it comes to the amount of work your dealer has to do when the scheduled service comes around.

“An internal combustion needs to have oil, needs to have an oil filter, a fuel filter and an air filter,” explains Thomas Wacker, Kia Australia general manager of service.

“So you have some pretty major components that add up over time to a fairly major cost on a car.

“That especially applies to oil. You are talking four litres at a minimum per vehicle and it increases from there. In this day and age oil can be expensive per litre.”

It’s not only the materials required - it’s the time taken by an expert technician to apply them. Labour cost is a big component of the servicing process and EVs simply consume less time (as well as parts).

Kia is one of the best examples of maintenance cost differences for ICE and EV models. It sells naturally-aspirated petrol and turbocharged petrol and diesel engine vehicles, petrol-electric hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and pure EVs.

So let’s take a look at costs quoted by Kia on its website for the new Niro Hybrid and EV and the most relevant pure ICE model in the line-up, the Seltos compact SUV.

We’ve tallied up those costs over seven years and 105,000km, reflecting the 12 months/15,000km service intervals for both Niros and the 2.0-litre naturally-aspirated Seltos. The cheapest purchase price for each is in brackets.

Note that if you were opt for the 1.6-litre turbo-petrol Seltos the service intervals would be 12 months and only 10,000km. So, driving the same amount of distance in the turbo in the same timeframe as the 2.0 would end up being more expensive in terms of servicing costs. 


Servicing cost (annual)

Seltos 2.0*


Niro Hybrid


Niro EV


It needs to be pointed out here that the Seltos cost is based on a capped price servicing schedule that is the maximum cost per service quoted by Kia right now. It could rise over time.

But Kia sells its EVs with a prepaid servicing plan, so if you take it up that number is guaranteed not to change.

Even with that knowledge baked in, it’s pretty obvious that there’s a huge gap in upfront pricing that the servicing savings don’t cover.


Inside dash of the Kia EV6

When it comes to servicing, some things - such as checking brakes and batteries - are standard. 

What needs to be serviced in an EV?

The reality is EV service costs are reduced, but there’s still stuff that has to be checked regularly whatever vehicle you’re driving, be it ICE or EV; radiator coolants, air-conditioning filters, 12v batteries, brake fluid and pads, suspension and steering components and tyres.

There are also EV-specific items like electric motors and high-voltage battery packs that have to be monitored even though they are sealed units.

“With the big EV battery it’s done through a diagnostic machine because you can’t drop it out and lift it up to check all the different cells,” explains Wacker. “You are checking the state of charge on the battery.”

Two key consumables often mentioned as behaving differently in an EV compared to a similarly-sized ICE vehicle are tyres and brake pads. 

Some EVs are known to wear out tyres quicker because they weigh more – thanks to those big battery packs - and deliver maximum accelerative torque from standstill because of the way electric motors behave.

Do brakes and tyres wear out faster on an EV?

EVs are said to save on brake pads because the regenerative braking process means traditional friction brakes aren’t relied on as much to stop.

Kia Australia’s Head of Aftersales Phil Murray says he is seeing reduced brake pad wear but is unsure about the tyre issue in relation to the EVs he oversees, which are the EV6 and Niro. 

“I haven’t seen any evidence of that one way or the other, I think the jury is still out on that,” he says.

He points out tyre makers are developing specific EV rubber, and from his knowledge, that seems to be helping negate increased wear.

“At the end of the day when you have high-performance cars you are going to wear tyres at a higher rate, and that’s a fact of life.

“[But] from the time we’ve had these [EV] cars on the road we’ve not had one adverse comment about tyre wear come back to us at all from dealers or the public.”


*Service costs and price for 2022 Seltos quoted. Model year 2023 update not yet available.


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