EV maintenance is really cheap, but the dark secret is the tires


I just did my annual maintenance on my Tesla -- adding wiper fluid and putting air in the tires. That's really it. But last year it was different. I had to replace my tires after only 29,000 miles, in part because I mistakenly never rotated them. But there's more to it than just that mistake, so the tires remain a special source of higher maintenance cost you need to worry about.

Read more about it in my new Forbes site article at EV maintenance is really cheap, but the dark secret is the tires

Here is a video


Tesla which is the leader for now is doing a terrible job of making electric cars affordable for all. The prices should be going down but keep going up and up. Also all EV s should come with a home charging system. Tesla is going in the wrong direction

All automakers are facing supply chain problems, but Tesla less than most. Even though it is selling all the cars it can make. Not being a charity, they are not likely to lower prices in such a situation.

On the other hand, they ran out of their charging cables due to supply chain issues and had little choice but to pull them. If you order one now it says fall delivery. They did drop the price on those (when they can get them) to the best prices in the industry, so can't fault them there. I think they agree with you that the car should come with a cable.

I wonder to what extent the more precise traction control of EVs could be optimized to also reduce tire wear?

Hard to say. I actually don't have data on how much tire wear comes from tire slip and other things traction control might improve. The Tesla is the first car I have seen to have the computer notice tire wear and put an alert on the screen, though. Owners were surprised because usually new features get listed with each update, and this one just showed up by surprise.

Motorcycles are cheaper to run and maintain than a car, but tire wear is also very high. On my sport bike, I would go through a rear tire in 3000 miles.
I probably get 10000 on my Harley now.

Of course a motorcycle is cheaper. Unfortunately, that comes at a cost of significantly inferior safety, and exposure to the elements. That's why I am currently working on a car called the Nimbus which is the size of a motorcycle, but enclosed and with airbags and crumple zones. It will be very cheap to operate.

There are no catalytic converters to be stolen either.

This subject should be published more often. If you had glanced at owners manual for service requirements the rotation schedule would have been noticed. I found out about fast front tire wear 5 years ago on my first Nissan Leaf. The real hidden story is the manufacturers don't give a wear warranty on new stock tires. The stock Bridgestones had 60k warranty if purchased new, but mine wore out in 12k miles. Even though I had rotated twice I was told by Nissan and Bridgestone only defects are covered. My 3rd gen Leaf has Michelins that are holding up much better. And getting tires rotated should not require appointment as several tire companies do this free of charge without appointment. EV tires, especially if front drive, should be rotated about 4k miles.

It's not that most people are unaware of rotating as something to do, it's that on gasoline cars it just happens with your oil changes so you don't have to think about it. Yes, you can do it without an appointment, but I would always check ahead as I don't want to drive somewhere to find they don't have a full bay.

Sports car tires are expensive. We have Yokohama and Continental low rolling resistance tires on our family car Leafs. The OEM tires only last 30 to 40k but the 60k mile LRR replacement tires should last about 60k miles. Only $500 a set when ordered from the tire rack and delivered to a local installer.

The Leaf is the most economical Family EV. Starting at only $20k after tax credits for 150 mile range or about $25k for 225 mile range. The Leaf is the safest EV, zero fires and only one fatality in 12 years. The Leaf has been consistently one pf the most reliable cars of the last decade. The Leaf os the only EV in America that has been using the NMC532 million mile battery formula for 4 years now. Excellent cars. Not the longest range or fastest charging but a great family value. LEAF. Leading Environmental Affordable Family EV.

Though as you say, it has issues that make it not really suitable for road trips. I mean you can probably pull them off, but it's very rare for me to see a Leaf out on the road trip lanes. The Tesla remains by far the leader here, though the other CCS cars are starting to catch up. Sadly for the Leaf, even Nissan is dropping CHAdeMO, and that's killing the standard in many places.

150 miles is enough for many cities though. Here in the SF Bay Area, it would be pushing it but 225 would be fine.

Perhaps it's been awhile since you owned a Honda (or it was a rather old one) because I believe that since 2006 Honda Civics all have timing chains that are rated to last the expected life of the engine. That's 16 years ago.

As for brake costs let me say: I own a PHEV and the brakes get used so little (with regenerative braking) that the disc brakes must be lubricated at least annually since the second year of use or they get stuck and the rotors get damaged and pads wear unevenly. Yes I live in the snowbelt but the car has 60,000 km after 4 years of ownership. In truth my previous car was an Acura and didn't require any brake maintenance at all for the first 125,000 km.

All in all, aside from oil changes my ICE cars for the past 40 years required only oil & filters (cabin, oil & engine) suspension components, one required an oxygen sensor, one required a radiator and 1 required a manual clutch changed.

I'm an EV fan but so far I see tires and brakes being a significant increase in maintenance especially since service fees seem to be inflated for EVs over ICE.

It would be nice to see an article that defined clear "real world" cost comparisons between ICE and EVs.

Yes, those old timing belts were a strange design.

But if you pull up a typical Honda dealer's maintenance schedule like https://www.wesleychapelhonda.com/service/service-faqs/honda-maintenance-schedule/ you will see plenty to do. Now they may be recommending more than you need, but many of these things just don't even exist on an EV.

What would be good to get documentation on is the reality as well as the schedule. This schedule doesn't say to replace the water pump every 80,000 miles, but it may be that one should -- all the inspected things are being inspected because they will show wear and need replacement. Even the timing belt -- which has a code to indicate it needs replacement, which is better than my pre-2006 vehicle where a broken timing belt will effectively destroy the engine.

I own a 2018 Tesla Model S. I just had my tires rotated. I made the appointment with my Tesla app, Tesla did the rotation on my driveway and charged a very reasonable $50. That's service!

I keep hearing that you wear through tires faster on an EV because of it's weight. Did I miss that EVs weigh more than any other passenger vehicle on the road today? Heavier even than heavy duty trucks and large SUVs?!?!? When did that happen? Are you telling me that a truck that weighs more than an EV is still magically easier on lesser designed tires? Or is this just one of those myths like saying you can't run an EV though a car wash (uh rain)? Please write an article with supporting data for the tire wear on an EV compared to a vehicle of equal weight please I would love to read that.

I am not sure why you would imagine anybody thought EVs weighed more than big trucks. The reality is that EVs do typically weigh more than similar gasoline cars. They of course weigh differently than different types of gasoline cars. But sedan to sedan, hatchback to hatchback and soon, pickup to pickup and SUV to SUV, you will generally find more weight in the EV. There are some cases where that might not be true in some future vehicles, but until quite recently almost all EVs were sedans, crossovers and hatchbacks.

All that torque comes at a price. And we ha price is your treads. I’ve driven ev’s for over six years and I just can’t help myself. Drive more conservatively and your tires will last longer.

Breaking news: Cars periodically need new tires. More at 11.

Must be your first new car. Oem tires are the absolute cheapest possible and rarely last 30k miles.

They come with these https://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires.jsp?tireMake=Michelin&tireModel=Primacy+MXM4 the Michelin Primacy MXM4. They are primarily there because they are very low rolling resistance. Tesla gets to advertise a longer range that way. Most people who put on a different tire with better performance lose 3% to 10% of range.

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