Daniel with his Audi RS e-tron GT.
Electric vehicles will increasingly become a bigger part of our lives as Singapore pushes to only have cleaner energy car models from 2030. For anyone still on the fence about making the EV switch, one of the most common concerns is maintenance and servicing.
“When it comes to that, EVs and ICE cars actually have a lot in common apart from the drive train,” explains Daniel Watts, General Manager for Aftersales, Dealer Development and Training at Audi Singapore.
According to him, both types of cars have to undergo the same diagnostics checks, and drive shaft and tyre inspections. When it comes to the drive train, the EV’s electric motor is simpler with less components as compared to an ICE vehicle which has a lot of intricate parts. Because there is less going on under the hood, an EV motor can be more reliable long term.
Safety comes first especially when handling high voltage systems.
While the Audi Service Team constantly upgrades their skills to keep up with vehicles that have become more complex and electrical over the years, handling EVs require a new level of safety. To prepare for this, Audi has implemented servicing standards for the Audi e-tron range which included investing in tools and equipment and focusing on training.
“Although vehicles are completely safe in normal operation, our technicians face electrical hazards when they conduct work on the high voltage system as they are dealing with live circuits. That is why we have very stringent training for our High Voltage Experts and Technicians,” he explains.
In addition, all staff are put through a training course to raise awareness on Audi’s EV models and procedures to ensure everyone is informed of the safety aspects of dealing with these vehicles.
Daniel answers the most commonly asked questions about servicing and maintaining an Audi e-tron.
On average, the inspection takes about an hour, then another half an hour for road test, wash and vacuum. This allows a quick turnaround whilst our customers relax or get some work done in our Service Centre customer lounge.
It depends on usage but in general, there are savings on time and parts. For example, you don’t need to change engine oil on EVs. EV braking is also done via recuperation (where kinetic energy is converted into electrical energy) so there is less wear and increased mileage on an EV’s brake components. However, due to the additional and immediate torque that an EV can produce, you may see an increase in tyre wear depending on driving style.
Brake fluid, coolant, and windscreen washer fluid are all common items that will need attention during the lifespan of the vehicle. This applies to both EVs and ICE vehicles.
There is no servicing required on the battery itself, only visual checks underneath the vehicle to ensure all is in good order. In addition, the electrical diagnostic system check we run will examine all systems within the vehicle including the battery control module to ensure everything is sound.
Since an EV (left) runs on battery which is usually located at the underside of the vehicle, it does not have an engine under the hood like an ICE car (right).
The Audi e-tron has two batteries: a high voltage battery which powers the drive system and a 12-volt battery to power common equipment in the vehicle such as the infotainment system, power windows, and electric seats. The latter works the same as ICE cars and may need to be changed during the life of the car.
The high voltage battery is rated for 1,500 charging cycles — based on range and average mileage in Singapore, this would equate to 30 years of usage. Audi has an 8-year or 160,000 km (whichever comes first) warranty on the high voltage battery. Thanks to our battery design and training, EV battery repair is more efficient, as we only replace the specific battery cells or modules that are affected. This is more cost effective and more sustainable than replacing the entire high voltage battery.
Only in the rare occurrence that you have a warning light for the high voltage system, if you feel an abnormality in drive system (with no change in your driving habits), or after a moderate to severe accident or heavy impact to the underside of the vehicle. There is plenty of protection for the battery and its cells, but if in doubt, it is always better to get the Audi Service Team to check it out for you.
Audi EVs (left) have their charging ports at the front of the vehicle while Audi ICE cars (right) have their gas tanks at the back.
We recommend charging the battery to 80% — and not 100% — for normal commuting to prolong the range capability of the high voltage battery. This is even the default charge setting for the vehicle. If there is a need, such as a longer trip into Malaysia, you can easily adjust this setting to reach a 100% charge.
Audi EVs require an inspection every 15,000 km or annually (whichever comes first). This does not differ from an ICE car and ensures that the vehicle stays in top operating condition. Any updates for the vehicle can also be carried out.