Electric Vehicles Face Reliability Challenges, Consumer Reports Finds



by FARUK IMAMOVIC

Electric Vehicles Face Reliability Challenges, Consumer Reports Finds
© Getty Images News/Carsten Koall

Consumer Reports' latest annual auto reliability survey has revealed a significant finding: electric vehicles (EVs) exhibit 79% more problems compared to other vehicles. However, Jake Fisher, the director of the group’s auto testing center, clarifies that the issue isn't inherently linked to electric technology.

Instead, the high problem rate in EVs stems from the fact that they are mostly new models. Newly introduced car models, regardless of their propulsion systems, tend to have more issues as manufacturers haven't had sufficient time to address all potential problems.

Moreover, EVs are often higher-priced models featuring advanced technology, ranging from safety sensors to various electronic gadgets. This abundance of sophisticated features increases the likelihood of encountering issues.

“EVs tend to be very loaded with new technology, all the latest gizmos and screens,” Fisher notes, explaining why these vehicles might face more reliability challenges.

Specific Challenges for Different Vehicle Types

The survey, which assesses experiences with 330,000 individual vehicles reported by Consumer Reports subscribers, combines data from the three most recent years.

For very new models, past reliability data from the manufacturer is used to supplement the vehicle’s profile. Among the findings, electric pickup trucks were noted for having particularly low reliability, representing a convergence of two vehicle types—EVs and pickups—both known for their own sets of reliability issues.

Interestingly, the survey found that the least reliable models were plug-in hybrids. These vehicles combine gas engines, electric motors, and charging systems, making them susceptible to issues found in both gas and electric vehicles.

In contrast, non-plug-in hybrids emerged as the most reliable category. Fisher attributes this reliability to the fact that these vehicles are often produced by manufacturers known for their dependability, such as Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, and Kia.

The results of the Consumer Reports survey highlight the evolving landscape of vehicle reliability. As the auto industry continues to innovate and evolve, particularly with the increased adoption of EVs, understanding and improving the reliability of these advanced vehicles remains a crucial focus for manufacturers and consumers alike.