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No more service intervals for EVs?

EV pioneer Tesla wants to save its customers the hassle of physically taking their car for a service. Read article HERE.  Tesla states that 90% of all problems can be diagnosed remotely and often resolved via an over-the-air update.  Tesla is currently alone, there are no signs of other OEMs aiming to set up a “no maintenance” policy for electric vehicles.

So, the question is, “Will the servicing of all EVs be obsolete in the future?”

Current car maintenance levels will persist until the industry admits (or customers, or more likely fleet managers realise) that EV car’s maintenance requirements are lower or sometimes non-existent.

At the moment, EVs generate service operations via performing check-ups on some of the consumable products i.e. aircon filter replacements or sat-nav updates - albeit these obviously have significantly less value in comparison to servicing combustion engine or oil changes.  EV service operations maintain the car and customer relationships, and offer workshops the opportunity for instant or future up-selling possibilities e.g. wiper blades, tyres, air-con service, brake pads, shock absorbers etc.

Today’s EV-driver trusts his OEM-franchised workshop due to its technological inhouse knowledge, loyalty and retention rates are high.  This trust will be undermined if the customer realises that the service is only marginal.  This is linked to the value of a service in general – is the maintenance operation worth the price?

Fleet managers might become game changers in EV service policy as fleets are clearly focused on the total cost of ownership.  A professional management will ensure the car receives what it needs – but only the bare minimum.  If fleet managers or customers believe that service intervals could be relaxed, they will no doubt service less or even not at all.

OEMs and dealers can counteract by offering additional service plans or running leasing fees that bundle different support when selling a new or used car.  If maintenance is covered in the leasing or finance rate, customers will tend to visit their workshops more frequently.  This might remain the customer touchpoint and hide the ‘relevance’ of each operation.  Nevertheless, the aftermarket impact of EVs will be felt once their parc share has grown from today’s marginal levels, but it is anticipated that this will still be low in 2030.

Picture: www.tesla.com

AftersalesRené Herrmann