Published in Transportation

Electric vehicles are less reliable

by on04 December 2023

79 per cent more problems

According to Consumer Reports ' newly released annual car reliability survey, shows that electric vehicle owners continue to report far more problems with their vehicles than owners of conventional cars or hybrids.

The survey reveals that, on average, EVs from the past three model years had 79 per cent more problems than conventional cars.

Consumer Reports senior director of auto testing Jake Fisher said that most electric cars today are being manufactured by either legacy automakers that are new to EV technology, or by companies like Rivian that are new to making cars.

"It's not surprising that they're having growing pains and need some time to work out the bugs," Fisher says some of the most common problems EV owners report are issues with electric drive motors, charging, and EV batteries.

This year's survey data show that hybrids continue to be among the most reliable vehicle types: Hybrids have 26 per cent fewer problems than conventional models, even though they have both a conventional powertrain and an electric motor and therefore more potential problem spots than conventional cars.

"It might not seem that long ago, but Toyota launched the Prius hybrid about 25 years ago," Elek says. "Automakers have been making hybrids long enough that they've gotten good at it. Plus, many hybrids are also made by manufacturers that produce reliable vehicles, such as Toyota, Hyundai, and Kia."

Hybrids also are not typically loaded with high-tech features like multiple customisable displays that can be problem-prone. Fisher says they are great options for drivers who are more interested in getting ideal fuel mileage than in bells and whistles.

"These vehicles are not necessarily a tour de force of technology, so there's just less that can go wrong with them," he says.

Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), which have both a battery for short-range electric driving and an internal combustion engine for long-range driving, are the least reliable category — 146 per cent more problems than conventional cars.

 "PHEVs are sort of like an EV and a conventional car rolled into one, so by their nature, they have more things that can go wrong with them," Fisher says.

 Toyota's RAV4 Prime plug-in hybrid "is one of the most reliable models in our survey this year. Similarly, the Ford F-150 hybrid has a transmission and other issues that buck the trend of strong hybrid reliability, Fisher said.

Last modified on 04 December 2023
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