Consumers Becoming Aware of High Cost of EV Collision Repairs

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal highlighted that electric vehicle (EV) customers are learning that their cars are far more expensive to repair than traditional ICE engines.  Relevant portions of that article have been reprinted below.


For EVs, repairs following a collision can cost thousands of dollars more than their gas-powered counterparts, because the fixes tend to require more replacement parts, the vehicles are more complicated and fewer people do such repairs. While those issues may ease over time, first-time electric owners may be startled by the higher costs and longer wait times.

Last year, repairing an EV after a crash cost an average $6,587 compared with $4,215 for all vehicles, according to CCC Intelligent Solutions, a company that processes insurance claims for auto repairs in the U.S.

The increased costs following collisions contrast with the maintenance savings that dealers and automakers promote when trying to get buyers to switch to electric cars and trucks. In addition to not needing gas, EVs tend to require less upkeep. Not needing to do regular chores like oil changes, engine tuneups or replacement of timing belts means that electric-vehicle owners spend half as much maintaining their vehicles as their gasoline-owning counterparts, according to Consumer Reports, a nonprofit consumer organization.

Higher repair costs are also helping to drive up insurance premiums for electric owners, who pay on average $357 a month for coverage compared with $248 for gas vehicle owners, according to insurance comparison website Insurify.

“People are used to hearing that EVs have fewer parts than a combustion vehicle, but that is not the case in collision repair,” said Marc Fredman, chief strategy officer for CCC Intelligent Solutions.

Bringing down repair costs is another complication for automakers as they try to attract first-time buyers and reignite sales growth of electric models, which has slowed in recent months. Companies including Tesla and Ford Motor have slashed prices this year in hopes of attracting new customers.

Last year, on average, an EV repair required roughly double the replacement parts compared with a conventional vehicle, according to CCC Intelligent Solutions. The way many electric models’ parts are bolted or welded in the vehicles often means the components cannot be repaired and have to be replaced, Fredman said.

When these vehicles do get into a crash, repairs can be more complex for many reasons. The bodies can be more complicated to disassemble, and the repairs tend to require more steps and precautions, Fredman said.

Vehicles containing lithium-ion batteries also require special storage consideration because of the risk of fire when they are damaged, said Scott Benavidez, chairman of the trade group Automotive Service Association and owner of a collision repair business in New Mexico. Those precautions add both time and cost to the repair process, he added.

The vehicle bodies themselves can result in higher parts and labor costs because EVs tend to use more exotic materials than traditional steel, collision-repair specialists said. Some of these materials, like aluminum, require specialized tools and storage facilities, narrowing the number of shops that can perform the work, they said.

“Those shops will charge more because they’re taking on the risk of working on them and retrofitting their shop,” Benavidez said.

Repairing an electric car tends to take longer, as well, in part because there are still a limited number of shops capable of doing this type of work. It takes 25% longer to get an EV into a body shop than a traditional vehicle, according to data from CCC Intelligent Solutions. Those repairs tend to take roughly 57 days compared with 45 days for non-EVs, the data showed.


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