The driver of the electric car inserts the electrical connector to charge the batteries.

Electric Cars Have 79% More Problems Than Gas-Powered Cars

Consumer Reports’ annual car reliability survey highlights a substantial disparity between electric vehicles (EVs) and their conventional counterparts. EVs, spanning the last three model years, manifest a staggering 79% increase in reported issues compared to traditional vehicles. This substantial leap in problems showcases a marked difference in reliability, potentially signaling challenges within the burgeoning EV market.

Common Problems with EVs

The driver of the electric car inserts the electrical connector to charge the batteries.
Image Credit: Marian Weyo/Shutterstock.

Owners of electric vehicles have voiced concerns regarding various pivotal components. Notably, issues concerning electric drive motors, charging functionality, and EV batteries have surfaced as prevalent problems among EV users. These challenges in EVs’ functionality and infrastructure reflect the burgeoning pains faced by both traditional automakers venturing into EV technology and nascent companies embarking on the car manufacturing scene.

Tesla’s Position and Model Y’s Recommendation

Tesla Model Y
Image Credit: Tesla Media Kit.

Tesla, recognized for its substantial experience in producing electric vehicles, finds itself positioned with middling reliability scores. Although acknowledged for pioneering electric cars, Tesla’s overall reliability stands as moderate compared to other automotive brands. However, in a notable turn, the Model Y, introduced in 2020, secures Consumer Reports’ recommendation status. This acknowledgment stems from commendable improvements with fewer reported issues related to suspension, in-car electronics, and overall build quality.

Tesla’s Reliability Challenges

Tesla Roadster
Image Credit: Tesla.

While Tesla demonstrates reliability in its powertrain, the company grapples with persistent challenges in vehicle assembly quality. Irregular paint jobs, broken trim pieces, non-functional door handles, and improperly closing trunks plague Tesla’s build quality. Although these concerns contribute to a dip in the brand’s overall reliability score, they are considered less weighty in Consumer Reports’ reliability calculations compared to critical issues like engine, transmission, or drivetrain failures.

Hybrid Vehicles: Superior Reliability

Purchaser hand showing thumb up sign at hybrid car new effective vehicle
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Hybrid vehicles emerge as significantly more reliable, exhibiting 26% fewer reported issues compared to their conventional counterparts. Despite the intricate combination of both conventional powertrains and electric motors, hybrids maintain a notable edge in reliability within the automotive landscape.

Long-Standing Reliability of Hybrids

2023 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid:
Image Credit: Sonata.

Manufacturers with extensive experience in hybrid technology, notably Toyota, Hyundai, and Kia, showcase remarkable consistency in producing highly reliable hybrid models. Their long-standing presence and expertise in the field of hybrid technology contribute significantly to the superior reliability seen in these vehicles.

Simplicity and Reliability of Hybrids

2023 Kia Niro Hybrid
Image Credit: Kia.

The absence of intricate and complex technological features often found in other vehicles contributes to the reliability of hybrids. Being less laden with high-tech components, these vehicles are less prone to potential issues, making them an appealing choice for individuals prioritizing reliability over technological advancements.

Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) – Least Reliable

2023 Honda Accord Hybrid
Image Credit: Honda.

Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs), amalgamating features from both electric and conventional cars, emerge as the least reliable category, presenting a staggering 146% more reported issues than traditional vehicles. Their hybrid nature, combining aspects of electric and internal combustion engines, significantly impacts their overall reliability, marking them as the least reliable among contemporary vehicle types.

Challenges Specific to PHEVs

2023 Toyota Corolla Hybrid
Image Credit: Toyota.

The dual nature of PHEVs, encompassing components from both electric and internal combustion engine setups, introduces a multitude of potential problem areas, inevitably impacting their overall reliability. This blend creates complexities and challenges in maintaining reliability standards compared to conventional or purely electric vehicles.

Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Example

hrysler Pacifica SUV minivan display at a dealership. Chrysler offers the Pacifica in Touring, Limited, Hybrid and Pinnacle models.
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

The disparity in reliability between the conventional and PHEV versions of the Chrysler Pacifica minivan exemplifies the distinct challenges faced by plug-in hybrids. Notably, issues concerning the hybrid drivetrain and charging system significantly affect the PHEV variant’s reliability score, showcasing how the integration of multiple power sources can impact a vehicle’s overall reliability.

Exceptions and Contradictions in Reliability Trends

Cropped view of african american man in formal clothes summing dollar bills near electric car fill-up in parking. Frugal adult person considering cost-effective purchase of battery-driven vehicle.
Image Credit: SofikoS/Shutterstock.

Certain models, such as the Toyota RAV4 Prime and Ford F-150 Hybrid, defy conventional reliability trends within their respective vehicle classes. These exceptional outliers present reliability levels that deviate from the expected norms, showcasing that specific models can stand out even within categories known for certain reliability tendencies.

Importance of Reliability Scores for Buyers

Middle-aged couple sitting in trunk while waiting for charging car before travelling on summer holiday.
Image Credit: Halfpoint/Shutterstock.

The significance of considering a vehicle’s reliability score before making a purchase cannot be overstated, particularly due to variances among different vehicle categories. Potential buyers are urged to factor in these reliability scores, as they serve as crucial indicators of a vehicle’s dependability and can provide valuable insights into its long-term performance and ownership experience.

Final Advice on Reliability Considerations

Beautiful young smiling couple holding a key of their new car.
Image Credit: hedgehog94/Shutterstock.

It’s paramount for prospective buyers to prioritize reliability assessments, especially when evaluating Electric Vehicles (EVs), hybrids, or Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs). The varying reliability within the same vehicle categories underscores the importance of considering reliability as a pivotal factor in the decision-making process. Evaluating these scores can help individuals make informed decisions that align with their preferences and needs, ensuring a more satisfying and trouble-free ownership experience.

Author: Madison Cates

Title: Managing Editor


Research journalist, Freelance writer, Managing editor

  • Expertise: automotive content, trending topics.
  • Education: LeTourneau University, Bachelors of Science in Business Administration.
  • Over 400 articles and short news pieces published across the web.

Experience: Madison Cates is a journalist located in the great state of Texas. She began writing over eight years ago. Her first major research piece was published by the Journal of Business and Economics in 2018. After growing up in a household of eight brothers and a dad who was always restoring old Camaros, she naturally pivoted her freelance career into the automotive industry. There, she found her passion. Her experience paved the way for her to work with multiple large corporations in automotive news and trending topics. Now, she now finds her home at Wealth of Geeks where she proudly serves as Managing Editor of Autos. Madison is always down to geek out over the latest beautiful cars on the market, and she enjoys providing her readers with tips to make car ownership easier and more enjoyable.

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