The overall cost of repairing an electric vehicle is 29% higher than the cost to repair a vehicle with an internal-combustion engine, according to a study by Solera Holdings.
A big reason why: EV parts costs are 48% higher on average, per estimate, according to the study. Parts include high-voltage batteries, battery-control units, cabling, battery boxes and system-battery chargers.
Other findings from the Solera study:
- Representing 24% of total parts-cost spend (normalized), EV battery-system repair costs are the highest part cost item(s) ($8.89 million) compared with headlights ($2.88 million).
- Driver airbag systems were replaced 8% more frequently on EVs.
- Rear bumper absorbers were replaced 1,390% more frequently on EVs.
- Rear bumper reinforcementswere replaced 14% more frequently on EVs.
“There’s been a lot of industry speculation as to ‘why’ EV repair costs are more expensive than ICE repairs,” explained John Felahi, Solera’s head of global data science, analytics and data business. “The findings from Solera’s landmark research offers a first-ever look at key elements shaping EV vs. ICE repair costs with a goal of helping the collision repair industry to better understand some of the trends and anomalies that can be optimized to enhance their business.”
The comparative study considered aggregate international analytics across 20 countries. Solera’s global claims database aggregates and normalizes raw claims data to provide insights into important performance metrics such as claim cost behaviors and replaced part composition.
Approximately 92,000 raw data points (repair estimates) were examined, between January 2021 through August 2023, comparing findings of a Hyundai Kona EV with its ICE-model counterpart.
“We know there were approximately 3.1 times more Kona ICE repairs performed in this time period as compared with EV repairs, allowing us to normalize the number of parts repaired/replaced to ensure a balanced data set,” said Clint Ory, Solera sr. sales engineer, North American sales.
Solera is global provider of integrated vehicle lifecycle software-as-a-service, data and services.
“If there’s a bright spot to EV repairs, it’s the significantly lower collision and property-damage liability-claim frequencies compared with their conventional counterparts (adjusted for mileage),” explained Matt Moore, senior vice president, Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI).
Citing an April 2023 HLDI Bulletin, Moore stated: “Collision and property-damage claim severity for electric vehicles is higher than their conventional counterparts, but only the property damage increase is significant. Electric vehicles were also associated with lower claim frequencies under all applicable coverages.”
Moore attributed the higher frequency of airbag repairs in EVs to their heavier overall vehicle weight.
“From a physics perspective, more vehicle weight translates to more energy in crashes, more energy translates to more damage and likely a higher probability of airbag deployment,” Moore added.