Are luxury pure-electric models cheaper to service than their internal-combustion engine counterparts?
Canstar Blue says electric cars are “generally cheaper to service” as they don’t need fuel filters, oil changes or spark plug replacements.
“Although an electric car will usually come with a higher price tag, the potential savings over a longer period could make EVs a solid investment,” it advises.
Since most premium brands offer more affordable pre-paid servicing plans, let’s compare the costs of electric models above $70,000.
All prices in this story are accurate as of publication. Looking to compare servicing costs for mainstream EVs below $70,000? Read more here.
The Bavarian brand’s quirky kickstarter for its electric ‘i’ sub-brand is the BMW i3.
The city-sized hatchback entered production in 2013 with a focus on the use of sustainable interior materials, a carbon fibre reinforced plastic frame, suicide doors and more.
It was rather unconventional – and still is today.
As with all BMWs, the latest 135kW motor i3S is covered by a three-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty and three-years of roadside assistance. There’s also a 12-year bodywork and a three-year paintwork warranty.
Its 42.2kWh (37.9kWh usable) battery pack is covered by an eight-year/160,000km warranty.
The company offers a five-year/80,000km servicing plan for the i3, as with the rest of its internal-combustion range.
BMW confirmed to the Financial Times last year there are no plans for a successor to the i3 electric hatchback or i8 plug-in hybrid coupe. Instead, the firm will focus its efforts on electrifying its current core range.
|5 years||Average cost/year|
|BMW i3S (or 80,000km)||$850||$170|
|BMW 1 Series 118i/M135i xDrive (or 80,000km)||$1550||$310|
Tesla Model 3, Y, S and X
Tesla currently covers its electric line-up with a four-year/80,000km limited new vehicle warranty. It’s worth noting that before mid-2019, the warranty lasted eight-years/160,000km for new owners.
Meanwhile, support for its battery packs vary by model and even trim level:
- Tesla Model S and Model X: Eight-years/240,000km with a maximum 30 per cent degradation off the battery capacity during the warranty period
- Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus (and off the shelf Model 3 Standard): Eight-years/160,000km with a max 30 per cent battery degradation during the warranty period
- Tesla Model 3 Long Range and Performance: Eight-years/192,000km with a max 30 per cent battery degradation during the warranty coverage
Tesla ditched scheduled services and plans favour of periodic, condition-based services.
This means all passenger car models in the Tesla line-up including the Model 3 small sedan, upcoming Model Y crossover SUV, Model S large sedan and Model X family SUV are serviced based on Tesla’s recommendations:
- Cabin air filter: every two years
- High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter: every three years on equipped Model S and Model X vehicles
- Tire rotation, balance and wheel alignment: every 10,000km or if the tread depth difference is 1.5mm or more
- Brake fluid test: every two years and replace if contaminated
- Air conditioning service: every two years for Model S, every four years for Model X, or every six years for Model 3
- Winter care: cleaning and lubricating brake calipers every 12 months/20,000km for cars often in cold weather regions
Service fees are calculated based on the vehicle’s condition.
Tesla stresses that over-the-air software updates, remote diagnostics, and the firm’s own mobile service technicians will reduce the need to visit a service centre.
In terms of internal-combustion engine competitors, the popular Tesla Model 3 goes head-to-head with the BMW 3 Series 330e plug-in hybrid, while the forthcoming Tesla Model Y will rival the Volvo XC40 Recharge Plug-In Hybrid T5.
Pricing for the different service items is listed below, and the suggested schedule is available here:
|Model 3||Model S||Model X|
|Cabin air filter||$98.91||$82.18||$61.27|
|Tire Rotation, balance, wheel alignment||$96||$108||$108|
|Wheel alignment check/adjust||$372||$204||$252|
|Brake fluid check||$24||$24||$24|
|Brake fluid flush||$259.09||$223.09||$170.18|
|Air-conditioning desiccant bag||$416.55||$205.64||$265.64|
The I-Pace was recently refreshed for 2021, bringing faster AC charging, new technology, and minor design changes to the two-year-old electric SUV.
Generally, Jaguars are backed by a three-year/100,000km warranty and three-years of roadside assistance.
However, all I-Paces currently come with Jaguar’s five-year/200,000km service plan and five-years roadside assistance at no extra cost. It is also complementary with the XJ limousine and F-Type coupe.
The Austrian-made SUV is facing fierce competition with new luxury entrants from the big three German players – the Mercedes-Benz EQC, Audi e-Tron, and BMW iX3.
|3 years||5 years||Average cost/year|
|Jaguar I-Pace EV400 (or 200,000km)||N/A||Free||$0|
|Jaguar F-Pace R-Dynamic P400 mild-hybrid (or 130,000km)||N/A||$2250||$450|
Sitting size-wise between the Q5 and Q7, the Audi E-Tron recently launched in two body styles, with two different battery packs and three trim levels.
As usual for a new Audi, the E-Tron is covered by a three-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty, with three-years of Audi Care Road Assistance and an additional six years renewed after every scheduled service at an Audi dealership, and 12-year bodywork corrosion warranty.
All models are supported by an eight-year/160,000km battery warranty – whether you go for the E-Tron 50 with a 71.0kWh (64.7kWh usable) battery or the 55 with a larger 95.0kWh (86.5kWh usable) lithium-ion pack.
These ownership measures start from the date of first registration or delivery to the first owner (whichever comes first).
Like the Jaguar i-Pace, Audi’s first electrified large SUV comes with a six-year service plan for free (at least for now).
The E-Tron and E-Tron Sportback require servicing every 24 months or 30,000km. The automaker says each of the three visits covered in the plan includes checks on the washer fluid, brake fluid, axle coolant, dust and pollen filter, and key fob batteries.
An even more potent Audi E-Tron S with an extra 70kW of power and 309Nm of torque than the E-Tron 55 on which it is based – will arrive in late 2021.
|3 years||5 years||6 years||Average cost/year|
|Audi e-Tron (or every 24 months/30,000km)||N/A||N/A||Free||$0|
|Audi Q7 50 TDI (or every 12 months/15,000km)||$2310||$3190||N/A||$770/$638|
Based on the mid-sized GLC, the Mercedes-Benz EQC is the first all-electric EQ-badged car in Australia, and marks the start of the three-pointed star’s aggressive electric expansion.
The five-seat SUV comes with a five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty and roadside assistance for the same period.
The EQCs 85kWh (80kWh usable) lithium-ion battery pack is backed by an eight-year/ 160,000km warranty.
If you opt for Mercedes-Benz’s three or five-year pre-paid service plans, it also comes with roadside support for the duration of the plan.
Alternatively, there’s a capped-price servicing scheme up to three years or 75,000km – averaging $550 per visit.
Currently, the German brand is bundling all EQCs delivered before December 31 with a free three-year/75,000km service plan, wall box home charger, plus standard installation fees.
There’s also the ‘Wear and Tear Package’ available when purchasing the EQC that covers a single replacement of wiper blades and brake pads (when required) for $2540.
|3 years||4 years||5 years||Average cost/year|
|Mercedes-Benz EQC 400 (or 75,000/100,000/125,000km)||$1350||$2000||$2400||$450/$500/$480|
|Mercedes-Benz GLC 300e (every 12 months/25,000km)||$2150||$2950||$4600||$716.67/$737.5/$920|
The German brand’s answer to the famed Tesla Model S is the Porsche Taycan; able to sprint 0-100km/h in just 2.8 seconds on the flagship Turbo S model. But what does it cost to run?
The Taycan comes with a three-year unlimited-kilometre warranty and three-year roadside assistance coverage.
All Porsche Taycan’s require a service every 12 months/15,000km.
Unlike most brands, the carmaker does not offer pre-paid service plans nor capped price servicing.
Porsche dealers across Australia do disclose their prices for Porsche models; however, the battery-electric performance coupe is notably missing (for now). That’s probably due to the fact that the Taycan hasn’t launched locally yet; it’ll hit showrooms from December.
The closest model in the Porsche range is the Panamera 4S E-Hybrid, while the Taycan also competes with the Mercedes-AMG E63 that uses mild-hybrid technology.
A wagon version dubbed the Taycan Cross Turismo is set to join next year. Porsche forecasts that 40 per cent of all purchases by 2025 will be an all-electric model.
EV Service Costs Comparison Table (above $70,000)
|3 years||4 years||5 years||6 years||Average cost/year|
|Tesla Model 3/Y/S/X||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A – condition based|