Survey Reveals Real Concerns About Electric Vehicle Reliability

Electric Vehicles / Comments

Consumer Reports new survey is out.

More all-electric vehicles will launch in the coming year than ever before as consumers come around to the idea of trading in their combustion-engined vehicles for something electric. Aside from their zero emissions, automakers point out EVs should have fewer reliability issues because their powertrains are less complex. Unfortunately, this doesn't appear to always be the case.

Consumer Reports has released a new reliability survey indicating that certain new battery electrics suffer from "significant problems that will be covered under warranty." All told, CR's reader survey gathered data on 329,000 EVs. Interestingly, batteries and drivetrains were not always the problem. For example, there have been numerous reports of Tesla Model Y build quality issues, like poor paint jobs. Some Audi e-tron owners, meanwhile, reported drive-system electrical failures and power equipment issues. Kia Niro EV drivers reported issues like having to replace an electric motor bearing.

Frontal Aspect Audi
Side View Audi
Side View Audi

Both the Niro EV and e-tron have since lost their CR recommended rating, and the Model Y never earned one to begin with. Older and less complicated EVs, specifically the Chevy Bolt and Nissan Leaf, are still recommended. The Bolt, in fact, is one of Chevy's most reliable models. But CR has done something else that might be somewhat controversial.

It is changing the predicted reliability to below average for two new EVs it hasn't even tested yet, the Ford Mustang Mach-E and Mercedes-Benz EQC, simply because other new EVs have too many issues. Sufficient owner data for the Porsche Taycan, which impressed CR during track testing, hasn't arrived yet but it still decided to downgrade the Taycan's predicted reliability from average to below average. The Taycan is no longer recommended, but is that really fair?

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Dashboard Audi
Dashboard Ford
2020-2021 Porsche Taycan 4S Dashboard Porsche

It seems CR has learned from surveyed EV owners there's still a range of issues affecting new models and this is hurting new EVs' predicted reliability ratings in general. But there is another important remark made by CR's associate director of automotive data integration, Anita Lam.

"Often, it's not the EV tech that's problematic. It's all the other new technology that could show up on any car - new infotainment systems, more sophisticated power equipment and gadgets - that often gets put on new EVs to feed a perception that they're supposed to be luxurious and high-tech."

Automakers, please take note.

2020-2021 Porsche Taycan 4S Front-End View Porsche
2020-2021 Porsche Taycan 4S Rear-Facing View Porsche
Rear View Driving Ford
Front Angle View Ford
Source Credits: Consumer Reports

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