Consumer Reports’ annual car reliability survey has unearthed a striking revelation: electric vehicles (EVs) encounter nearly 80% more reported issues than their gas-powered counterparts. This comprehensive survey, drawing insights from owner responses on over 330,000 vehicles, sheds light on a notable disparity in reported problems between EVs and conventional gas-powered cars.
The survey delves into 20 potential problem areas, encompassing crucial aspects such as engine performance, transmission, electric motors, leaks, and infotainment systems. Its findings underscore a consistent trend: EVs from the past three model years exhibit a staggering 79% more reported problems on average compared to conventional gasoline-powered vehicles.
Jake Fisher, senior director of auto testing at Consumer Reports, offers insights into this discrepancy. He notes that most electric cars in today’s market originate from either legacy automakers relatively new to EV technology or companies, like Rivian, venturing into automobile manufacturing for the first time. Fisher attributes this substantial disparity in reported issues to the evolving landscape, describing it as a period of “growing pains” where manufacturers are navigating the intricacies of EV technology.
Among the most frequently reported problems by EV owners are issues concerning electric drive motors, charging functionalities, and the performance of EV batteries. Notably, Consumer Reports clarifies that reported charging problems are specifically linked to the vehicle itself, distinguishing them from issues related to home or public charging stations.
Tesla, a prominent player in the EV market with over a decade of EV production experience, occupies a middling position concerning brand reliability. While the company’s Model Y, introduced in the 2020 model year, receives Consumer Reports’ recommendation for the first time this year, Tesla still grapples with vehicle build quality concerns. The Model Y gains recognition for improvements in suspension, in-car electronics, and general build quality compared to previous iterations.
However, despite Tesla’s strides in powertrain reliability, Steven Elek, leading the auto data analytics program at Consumer Reports, highlights persistent challenges in the brand’s vehicle build quality. Issues ranging from irregular paint to malfunctioning door handles and trunks contribute to dragging down Tesla’s overall reliability score.
The survey’s assessment extends beyond EVs, recognizing hybrids as among the most reliable vehicle types, showcasing 26% fewer reported problems than conventional gas-powered models. This consistent performance is attributed to automakers’ experience in producing hybrids, with brands like Toyota, Hyundai, and Kia standing out for reliability in their overall vehicle lineup.
Consumer Reports’ comprehensive survey underscores a nuanced landscape of reliability issues in the automotive industry, revealing challenges and areas of improvement specific to EVs while highlighting the reliability prowess of hybrid vehicles amidst the technological advancements reshaping the automotive landscape.