Since we began witnessing a major shift towards e-mobility, people have been expressing
their concerns regarding both battery life as well as battery replacement costs.
Truth be told, because of our general lack of understanding of how electric vehicles work, we
tend to think that the costs of maintaining a battery-powered engine are higher than they
actually are. To set the record straight, let us see why electric motors are in fact cheaper to
maintain in the long run.
In essence, electric motors have fewer moving parts than combustion engines, and there is less thermal stress due to the absence of combustion. All of this means that they do not tear down as fast. There is no need for lubrication and, in some cases, drive-belt changes. Maintenance costs are, therefore, virtually non-existent.
Probably the biggest concern people have has to do with battery-performance and longevity. We know that batteries in our phones and computers deteriorate at a fairly fast rate (due to a high power load), and because of that, we are inclined to believe that the same will happen with the batteries powering vehicle engines. This is not the case because electric vessel batteries are sized to last long, whereas batteries in phones are sized to weigh less.
Engineers put a high number of encased cells in vehicles and vessels to protect them from unfriendly environments, as well as to protect the environment from these cells in case things go wrong. Additionally, engineers develop various battery management systems that help optimize battery performance, allowing them to have a fairly long life (on average, electric vessels need battery replacements after 18 years).
All in all, battery-failure is an extremely rare occurrence. Even if it does happen, manufacturers take precautionary measures such as battery fireproof casing to help mitigate the potential repercussions in such situations. In terms of maritime vehicles, the biggest challenge related to electric engine use is the availability of spare parts when cruising in remote areas.
A lot of electronic components of these vessels are not off the shelf, and naturally, they age. Because electric vehicles are still a minority on the market, it is easier to find service partners and spare parts for diesel and petrol engines than it is for electric ones. However, this problem can be avoided by having detailed documentation on what the broken part specifically does. That is why we always provide our customers with complete documentation! But if you choose the correct set-up for your vessel and do some diligent planning in advance, you probably will not be needing spare parts after all.