Governments across the world are incentivizing companies with vehicle fleets to switch over to electric vehicles as soon as possible. Not only are companies making savings in terms of vehicle taxes, but the running and maintenance costs of EVs are invariably lower. That’s not to say, however, that vigilance when it comes to maintenance can just be relaxed.
Below are some top tips on maintenance for EV fleets:
Tip 1: Pay Extra Attention to the Tires
Checking the tire tread and rotating the tires every 5,000 miles or 6 months is a typical part of any vehicle’s maintenance schedule, but there’s a case for it being more necessary with EVs. The reason is that EVs deliver instant torque to their wheels when setting off, and the weight of the huge lithium-ion battery pack puts more strain on the tires than the traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) setup.
Some OEMs are already working on improving tires to accommodate these differences, but as things stand currently, by and large, companies are still using the same tire types. Therefore, monitoring the tire tread and rotating perhaps more frequently than you would with an ICE vehicle is a good idea.
Tip 2: Regular Servicing is Key
The general maintenance schedule for an EV is lighter and easier overall than that of an ICE vehicle, but if you’re using hybrid vehicles then you still have both engines and electrical powertrains to manage. Regardless of the amount of maintenance required, the need for regular scheduled servicing each year and following OEM-recommended maintenance schedules is always the best policy. It might appear costly to follow these guidelines to the letter, but ignoring them invariably will cost you more in the long run.
Tip 3: Never Overlook the Brakes
Speaking of maintenance and servicing, there’s one job in EVs that is especially overlooked by fleet managers and that’s brake maintenance. There’s an assumption that because the Electric Vehicle is using regenerative braking and one-pedal driving, then brakes need less attention. After all, regen braking is so much gentler and easier on the hydraulics than regular braking, right?
While that’s technically true, checking and servicing the brakes and ev brake pads is an absolute must. There not likely being any problem is not a reason for failing to check them. A quick look to make sure everything is in working order is always a good idea.
Tip 4: The Battery is King
When it comes to EV maintenance, the battery is at the heart of everything. Whether it’s a hybrid battery system or a BEV battery system, the car can’t work properly without it being in tip-top condition. When it comes to the battery, the power cells themselves shouldn’t need any regular maintenance, but it’s important for fleet managers to be aware of the lifespans of the batteries, and how the batteries can change over their lifetime.
Warranties on EV batteries are typically about 8 years or 100,000 miles (160,000km), but could vary depending on the model you’re using. As you progress through the typical lifespan, you might notice battery capacity starting to drop. Where a brand-new commercial EV gave you 240 miles on a single charge, after a few years it’s only delivering 215 miles on a single charge. This is normal, but can be minimized by maintaining a charge between 20 and 85 percent at all times. This will help the battery retain its chemical balance, and thus its overall capacity.
Tip 5. Check on the Fluids
There are far fewer fluids in an EV than there are in a regular ICE car. For instance, there’s no engine oil. They do, however, require coolant to help keep battery temperatures at optimum levels, and they also feature brake fluid and a windshield washer. These fluids need to be checked regularly to ensure they’re in proper working order, because without them, your commercial EVs won’t be either.
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