Electric vehicles (EVs) are yet to indicate a clear real-world advantage over petrol and diesel cars and vans in terms of servicing, according to Solihull-based company epyx.

On considering three examples – a family hatchback, a panel van and a large SUV – the results are found to be mixed with regard to important costs, including tyres and repairs, the number of workshop visits required, and time spent off-road because of mechanical or electrical problems.

Epyx’s 1link Service Network service, maintenance, and repair (SMR) platform is used to manage four million company cars, vans and trucks.

This is the first time that the company has released data comparing EVs to petrol and diesel versions.

The first example looks at family hatchback over three years and 25-30,000 miles. The EV averaged 5.7 visits to service outlets compared to 5.0 for petrol, 3.2 days spent off road against 4.5, and had workshop servicing costs of £431 compared to £412. This showed that EV offered no advantages.

The company’s dataset of two-year-old vehicles with 20-30,000 miles enables a comparison of two large SUVs from a major manufacturer – one petrol, and the other, a purpose-built EV. In this case, the EV saves on workshop costs of £645 against £996 and indicates 3.4 days off road, outdoing the petrol version at 4.9. The number of service visits required, however, are found to be comparable at 4.1 compared with 4.0 of the petrol version.

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Finally, better results for electric power were found when comparing a model of van available in battery and diesel versions over three years and 25-30,000 miles. The EV shows 5.7 service visits compared to 5.0 for the diesel and 2.2 days spent off road against 2.9. The workshop costs of EV was £239 as against £522 of the diesel version.

epyx strategy director Charlie Brooks said: “It has been widely supposed that EVs will deliver uniform SMR benefits over petrol and diesel vehicles because of the fact that they have fewer moving mechanical parts, minimising the likelihood of breakdown and requiring less routine maintenance. The data we have compiled shows that this is not always the case.

“Broadly, while workshop costs for some EVs represent substantial savings over their petrol and diesel equivalents, this cannot be assumed. Also, the number of times that EVs visit garages for maintenance or repair and the amount of time they spend unavailable off road are consistently similar to petrol or diesel vehicles – and these servicing factors very much represent a substantial cost to businesses.

“What the data doesn’t tell us at this stage is why this is the case. There could be good reasons. For example, EVs remain a relatively new technology when operated on a large scale, and what we are seeing could be teething problems that may range from workshops being unfamiliar with these types of vehicles through to parts not being readily available.”