When I am talking about electric cars with people, I am often asked about servicing and who can work on it.

The situation is a little different depending on whether you are servicing a factory built EV such as the i MiEV and Leaf, or a converted petrol car. Tesla is a case of its own (as usual) in that only Tesla service centres are approved to work on the cars and Tesla will not supply parts to other workshops.

All factory EVs have factory trained technicians who know your car inside out. Dealer servicing is the norm at least while the car is under warranty and most people will probably keep going back. This does not mean that only the dealer technician can service your car!

Servicing an EV is actually much simpler and easier than servicing a conventional car!

With no petrol engine there is no engine oil to change, no fuel pump, fuel filter, oil filter, air filter, spark plugs and all the rest…without engine oil there are no oil leaks making a mess to work on.

Most of the components that wear out or need regular servicing on a normal car are simply not present.

Servicing an EV consists of checking that the brakes are not worn out, that the tyres and suspension are in good order, nothing is bent or broken under the car, all lights and horn and wipers work, and that the fluids (brake fluid, screen wash etc) are at correct levels. On a late model factory EV there will also be a computer diagnostic checkup.

Thats pretty much it.

If anything needs to be worked on, any mechanic can do it. The high voltage wires are always in a sheath which is bright orange and are kept bundled in as compact a way as possible. All factory EVs have an isolator plug which can be removed to contain all high voltage to the battery pack itself just in case a ham fisted mechanic chops through a big orange cable…

The electrical systems that run the lights, stereo, and all of the usual electrical functions on a car are normal 12v items like you will find on any normal car and any auto electrician can work on them.

The EV parts themselves, the motor and controller and batteries, are reliable components with a long service life and do not need regular servicing. All factory EVs on the market use 3 phase AC motors which should outlast the rest of the car.

Hybrids have no advantages when it comes to servicing. They carry all of the components required to sustain an internal combustion engine and need regular servicing just like a conventional car.

Home converted cars are a mixed bag…with everything from brand new AC drive systems, to salvaged components from crashed modern EVs, secondhand forklift motors and everything in between, it is not possible to give a definitive answer on how easy they will be to work on. Generally those who built them will know how to work on them! Which, if you like that sort of thing, is half the fun of doing a conversion in the first place………