I’ve been driving plug-in electric cars for almost 10 years now – in fact still the very same one I purchased new back in early 2012. Back then there were not dozens of EVs to choose from like there are today, rather just two: The Chevy Volt and the Nissan LEAF. I chose a Volt for a number of reasons (a topic for an entire blog post of its own) and today over 195,000 miles later it’s still my daily driver.
The Volt is a plug-in hybrid, so while it can run on gasoline for longer drives if the battery gets low, I’ve managed to drive it on battery alone for just north of 170,000 miles – almost 90% of the total. This was done mainly by just charging it at home overnight with the included adapter that I keep plugged into a standard wall outlet near where I park. This happens to be a garage for me but could also be an exterior parking spot close to an exterior outlet on the side of a house or other building. I still today charge it the same way, and when on the go I also regularly use the growing network of public charging stations.
While every EV’s battery does carry a minimum 8 year / 100,000 mile battery warranty, my car has long since been out of warranty for its drive battery and of course everything else. Despite the higher mileage than average, it still drives almost like new, including when on battery power alone. But what’s really going on under the hood with an EV’s battery and electronic systems as they age? So when I got the opportunity to a no-cost EV Health Checkup at Leo & Sons in Lawrence…I charged at the chance.
Leo has been operating his auto service business since 1975, and in the past decade with the help of his son Matt, their shop now specializes in servicing all aspects of hybrid and electric vehicle diagnostics, maintenance and repair, including the vehicles’ drive batteries. With all the miles and charging my decade old Volt had seen, I was definitely very curious to see how the battery was holding up. As part of the EV Health Checkup, I also got a free multi-point inspection and tire rotation.
Matt checked my car out from top to bottom and rotated the tires, recommending I get them replaced before winter. One of the great things about owning an EV is how little maintenance they typically need – just tire maintenance is often the main thing to keep up with. Then it was time to share what was learned about the health of my EV’s battery. The equipment they have analyzes each group of battery cells as well as the overall health of the entire pack. I was pleased to learn that even with my car’s age, all my electric driving and thousands of charges that the battery was showing that it still had 83% of its original capacity.
Matt also showed me the analysis of each group of cells which indicated they are all healthy and very similar in voltage. He also used some special diagnostic tools to test out the car’s charging system and show a history of any error codes. Everything there also checked out as A-OK.
Getting an older or high mileage EV a diagnostic checkup is not just good for a current EV owner, it’s also a great idea for anyone who is shopping for their first pre-owned EV. I recently listened to The Consumer Toolbox podcast by the City of Springfield’s Director of the Mayor’s Office of Consumer Information, Milagros S. Johnson. One great piece of advice she provides: “The best used car you can buy is one you can first take on an extended road test and your mechanic gives a clean bill of health.” This is also known as a pre-purchase inspection.
Listen to the whole podcast on “Your Car Buying Power” here.
Interested in a pre-owned plug-in electric vehicle (EV) and want to make sure it’s in good condition before you buy? Leo & Sons offers new customers a free EV Pre-Purchase Inspection for a used EV they are considering to buy. Or already drive an EV and wonder how it’s holding up? (This is essentially the same service as the EV Pre-purchase Inspection plus a tire rotation.)
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Contact us to find out more info, or visit https://leosons.com/ev-health-checkup/ to make an appointment.