Breakdown costs for electric vehicles are nearly three times those of internal combustion engine (ICE) cars, new research has revealed.

More than 2,500 EVs were part of the survey conducted by fleet leasing company Total Motion over a four year period. On average, breakdown costs for EVs were £596, compared to £221 for a petrol or diesel vehicle. The number of breakdowns was also higher for a plug-in – an average of 3.1 incidents compared to 1.9 for an EV.

However, service, maintenance and repair costs were 27% lower for low-emission cars. These figures seem to confirm the belief that while the technology involved in an EV is less susceptible to failure, it is more expensive to repair. For example, the cost of replacing a windscreen was six times higher for an EV (£2,382) than an ICE (£397).

Total Motion monitored reliability, downtime costs and breakdown frequency, comparing EVs with ICE cars in a number of key areas based on 36 months use or 75,000 miles. These included SMR costs, the number of breakdowns, fleet insurance costs, downtime, parts availability, repair times and dealer/repairer performance.

Between June 2017 and December 2021, the driving history of more than 2,500 EVs - Tesla, Porsche, Nissan, Renault, Audi and Mercedes - were scrutinised by the Total Motion team.

Simon Hill, Total Motion director, said: “Whilst the clamour for EV vehicles is gathering momentum, particularly with generous company car tax breaks and the 2030 deadline for ceasing production of new petrol and diesel cars in the UK, we decided to carry out this research on behalf of our fleet customers.

“The findings of the study lead us to conclude that the transition to EV for many fleets is being done far too early, and that this will have significant cost and operational implications.”

Other surveys have found EV’s to be less expensive than ICE models. The savings to be made on fuel with EVs, as well as the tax incentives and generally lower maintenance costs, continue to attract fleet owners and drivers to make the switch.