On average, the life span of a brake pad in a combustion-driven passenger car is 65,000 KM (40,000 miles). We calculate the average replacement rate of brake pads on a passenger car to be 2.3, so brake pads on a car need to be replaced between 2 and 3 times.
Regenerative braking reduces brake pad usage. That reduces wear, and so the replacement rate. Therefore, hybrid cars will on average change their brake pads once, and full electric vehicles (EV) should normally not need any replacement.
Wear isn’t the only reason why brake pads and rotors need to be replaced. Rotors and brake pads can all oxidize, causing corrosion, which in turn causes a rust layer on the surface. This can decrease performance and create stiction in the parking brake if the car is not used for a while.
The rotor and brake pads are cleaned each time the brakes are applied while driving, removing the rust from the surface. However, regenerative braking in hybrid and electric vehicles could result in more issues with corrosion. Brake pad and rotor developers are working on parts that either do not suffer from corrosion or can be cleaned effectively.
||Brake pad replacement rate
According to Marklines, 1% of cars sold in 2020 will be full EVs and another 7% hybrid cars. These numbers will increase to around 20% and 30% respectively of all cars sold in 2030.
The change in propulsion won’t affect the passenger car brake pad (PCDP) aftermarket in 2020. There are an estimated 1.3 billion cars on the road today with an average lifespan of 12 years. This means that every year, 250 million cars get their brake pads replaced. If we again take 5% drum brakes into account the total aftermarket for passenger car brake pads in 2019 was almost to 1.9 billion.