Maintaining Your Green Machine:
Electric vehicles (EVs) have gained significant popularity due to their eco-friendly nature and efficient operation. One of the key advantages of electric cars is the reduced need for traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) maintenance. Instead of oil changes and exhaust system repairs, EV owners have a different set of service requirements to keep their green machines running smoothly. In this blog post, we will outline a service routine for electric cars, highlighting the minimal maintenance involved and addressing any service needs related to range extenders.
Electric vehicles have many components in common with their petrol-engined counterparts which need service. Wheel bearings, steering joints and suspension components are virtually identical and often interchangeable. Brake systems are the same although electric vehicles may incorporate regenerative systems to recover battery power when descending inclines and braking, which is done at the electric motor, not the actual brakes.
It is important to realise that an ICE vehicle has resistance to rolling if the car is left in gear. This is due to the internal resistance of the pistons working against the compression in the cylinders and that effort being multiplied by the ratio of the gear in which a car is left standing. An electric car has no gearbox and as there is no ICE, no piston resistance. Some manufacturers make provision for this but many don’t. It is very easy for an electric car to roll away with no effort at all unless means are provided to ensure this doesn’t happen. In many cases, the only resistance to rolling is the handbrake which must be maintained at its optimum efficiency at all times.
Service hand brake
Personally, I opt for a belt and braces attitude and always put a brick or anything else I can find, behind a wheel when parked on even a slight gradient. This came of necessity as one day in my early ownership, I forgot to chock the wheels and hadn’t engaged the handbrake fully. Fortunately, I had left the steering turned almost to full lock, and on my return, I found that the car had rolled a short distance into a hedge, fortunately with little more than a slight scratch, but this could have been disastrous.
Regular service Check-ups
While electric cars have fewer moving parts than their petrol counterparts, they are not entirely maintenance-free. Here are some essential aspects to include in your electric car service routine:
a. Battery Health: Your EV’s battery is its lifeline. Keep an eye on its health by checking the state of charge, capacity, and temperature. Many EVs come with built-in diagnostics that provide this information.
b. Tyre Maintenance: Just like any other vehicle, maintaining proper tire pressure and alignment is crucial for safety and efficiency. Regular tire rotations and inspections are necessary.
c. Brake System: Electric cars often use regenerative braking, which reduces wear on traditional brake components. However, it’s still essential to inspect the braking system periodically and replace brake pads and fluid as they will deteriorate in service.
d. Cooling System: Electric cars may have cooling systems for their batteries and power electronics. Ensure that these systems are functioning correctly to prevent overheating and maintain efficiency.
e. Software Updates: Manufacturers frequently release software updates to improve the performance, safety, and efficiency of electric vehicles. Stay informed about these updates and have them installed as recommended.
Range Extender Maintenance (If Applicable)
Some electric cars are equipped with range extenders, which are small gasoline engines used solely to charge the battery and extend the vehicle’s range. While these range extenders are not as complex as full ICEs, they do require some maintenance:
a. Fuel System: If your electric car has a range extender, it’s essential to keep its fuel system clean and well-maintained. Regularly check the fuel filter, fuel lines, and fuel injectors.
b. Oil Changes: The range extender engine may require periodic oil changes, even though it’s used sparingly. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for oil change intervals.
c. Exhaust System: Although the range extender doesn’t produce emissions while driving in electric mode, it still has an exhaust system that can deteriorate over time. Inspect and replace components as needed.
While not a direct part of your electric car’s maintenance routine, ensuring the reliability and safety of your home charging infrastructure is crucial. Regularly inspect the charging cable, connector, and wall-mounted charging station for any signs of wear or damage.
Maintaining an electric car is simpler and more eco-friendly than servicing a traditional petrol-engined vehicle. With fewer moving parts and no need for oil changes, electric cars are a greener and more sustainable transportation option. If your electric car includes a range extender, be sure to incorporate its maintenance into your service routine to keep your vehicle running smoothly and efficiently. Remember to consult your car’s manual and adhere to manufacturer recommendations for the best maintenance practices. By following these guidelines, you can enjoy the benefits of an electric car with minimal hassle and a clear conscience, knowing you’re contributing to a cleaner planet.