Even as progressive proponents of electric-powered vehicles claim that motorists can actually save money by purchasing one, a number of hidden costs have taken owners by surprise.
While some consumers have decided that it is worth the premium price to save hundreds of dollars a year on gas, drivers who find themselves on the receiving end of a hefty repair bill might reconsider their choice.
One such electric vehicle owner in Canada fell into that camp when she received a bill for $23,000 to replace the battery in her 2018 Kia Soul. Since the vehicle was no longer under warranty, Phyllis Lau was responsible for the entire bill, although the manufacturer did agree to pay half of the invoice.
Ken Edwardson found himself in a similar situation when the battery in his hybrid-engine 2011 Lincoln MKZ died. He said that the battery itself cost $15,000 and his total bill was just under $20,000 after factoring in labor and taxes.
"I don't understand why they make the battery so expensive when you have to change it."https://t.co/RX26Ad4BP4
— CTV Toronto (@CTVToronto) October 19, 2022
Such cases are becoming increasingly common as electric vehicles age and expensive components begin to fail.
“Those very unfortunate owners of EVs that have to have their batteries replaced, yes it will be very expensive,” acknowledged Olivier Trescases of the University of Toronto’s Electric Vehicle Research Center. “It all comes down to whether the degradation of the battery is within the warranty clause or not.”
Making matters worse, the new technology behind electric vehicles has effectively prevented traditional mechanics from taking care of many repairs and maintenance issues. The result has been a widespread reduction in the number of auto shops.
Consultant Laura Gay closed her own repair facility about six years ago and predicts the current trend will only accelerate as electric vehicles become more common.
She said that mechanics and shop owners are “physically and mentally drained” after going “from a very simple industry to a very complex industry.”
Nevertheless, multiple states are following California’s lead in planning to ban the sale of gasoline-powered vehicles by 2035.
When confronted with the higher cost of EVs compared to automobiles powered by internal-combustion engines earlier this year, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg attempted to put a positive spin on the issue by claiming that owning one can save consumers money over time.
Competitive Enterprise Institute Center for Energy and Environment Director Myron Ebell pushed back against the Biden administration official’s argument, asserting: “Customers are clever enough to figure this out despite the snow job from the electric vehicle promoters and people like Secretary Buttigieg. It’s really kind of a con job. It may be a good deal for some people in some places under some circumstances. But by-and-large right now, it’s not a good deal.”