Electric Vehicles Struggle with Reliability Amid Soaring Popularity: Survey Reveals

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A recent survey conducted by an influential U.S. non-profit organization, Consumer Reports, has shed light on the persisting challenges of reliability faced by electric vehicles (EVs). Despite their surging popularity among consumers, EVs continue to grapple with issues primarily related to charging and battery performance, as unveiled in the 2023 Annual Auto Reliability survey.

The survey, encompassing data from various vehicles, showcased a staggering 79 percent increase in problems in new EVs compared to their gasoline-powered counterparts. Notably, hybrid vehicles exhibited fewer issues than traditional gasoline cars, while plug-in hybrids faced a substantial 146 percent rise in problems.

Among the categorically ranked vehicles, electric pickups emerged as the least reliable, while compact cars, sports cars, and small pickups showcased higher reliability across 19 different vehicle categories.

Jake Fisher, the senior director of Auto Testing at Consumer Reports, attributed these challenges to the novelty of EV technology for legacy automakers, highlighting their limited experience with batteries, charging infrastructure, and motor systems in these vehicles. Fisher recommended consumers consider leasing EVs due to the ongoing evolution of their technology in North America.

Tesla, a prominent figure in the EV market, secured the 14th position in the survey, with concerns raised primarily around body hardware, paint, trim, and climate system issues in its battery-powered vehicles. However, within U.S. automakers, Tesla ranked second, trailing behind General Motors’ Buick, based on vehicle reliability.

The survey also noted that Tesla’s motor, charging technology, and battery systems experienced relatively fewer problems compared to other areas.

In brand rankings, Mercedes-Benz and Stellantis’ Chrysler brands ranked lower at 29th and 30th places, respectively. In contrast, Asian automakers dominated the top 10 positions, with Lexus securing the top spot followed by Toyota.

Consumer Reports’ comprehensive survey covered 20 different problem areas, encompassing aspects such as engine performance, electric motors, transmission, and in-car electronics. The data spanned over 330,000 vehicles from the model years 2000 to 2023, including a few newly introduced 2024 models.

Marta Tellado, President, and CEO of Consumer Reports emphasized, “Even with monumental shifts in the auto marketplace, what matters most to consumers remains the same: finding safe, reliable cars.”

The survey findings underscore the critical need for continued advancements in EV technology to enhance their reliability and performance, crucial for meeting consumer expectations in the evolving automotive landscape.