Tesla crash repairs still far above ICE vehicles, but other EVs near parity: study

(Credit: Tesla)

Electric vehicles (EVs) are becoming increasingly popular, but crash repairs can still be expensive, especially for Teslas. As per data from Mitchell, a firm that provides software for managing collision repairs, the average repair cost for a Tesla in Q3 2023 was $5,552, compared to $4,474 for non-Tesla electric cars and $4,205 for combustion-powered vehicles.

There are a few reasons for the high cost of Tesla crash repairs. One reason is that Teslas are newer and pricier than the average gasoline vehicle. The average combustion vehicle on the road is a 2016 model, while the average EV is from the 2022 model year. Additionally, most EVs are luxury vehicles, and Teslas dominate both the luxury and EV segments in the United States.

Another reason for the high cost of Tesla crash repairs is that Teslas are packed with safety and tech features. These features can be expensive to replace and repair, even after a minor collision. Ryan Mandell, director of claims performance for auto physical damage at Mitchell, explained how Tesla’s advanced safety systems could result in expensive repairs. 

“These vehicles are on the cutting edge of all this safety technology and this digital connected-car technology, and all of that is going to play a role when these vehicles are involved in a collision. You could have a left-front corner impact that somehow has disrupted your right rear lane-departure warning sensor. Maybe that part needs to be replaced, maybe it needs to be recalibrated,” Mandell said in a comment to Automotive News

Mandell also pointed out that newer vehicles tend to be built with more parts and new materials, resulting in repairs requiring higher-skilled technicians and more labor hours. “When you look at the average number of parts being replaced, it’s increasing every year. You look at the frequency of calibration work — that’s increasing by the day. You look at the number of parts that are other than mild steel, that increases continually. All of these trends are leading us toward more expensive collision repair,” he said. 

That being said, it’s important to note that the gap in repair costs between EVs and combustion vehicles is often exaggerated. Social media posts — as well as some media reports — tend to focus on rare battery fires and extreme EV repair cases rather than industry averages. This was highlighted in a recent story about a Rivian R1T whose $42,000 repair bill went viral. The Rivian R1T’s repair could be considered an edge case since the vehicle received serious damage on the inside, even though the exterior damage didn’t look severe. 

“I think that a $42,000 repair is a good click on the Internet. I think these anecdotal stories kind of get blown out of proportion a little bit, and you start to see so much focus on one-off stories as opposed to the overall trend,” Mandell said. 

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Tesla crash repairs still far above ICE vehicles, but other EVs near parity: study
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