The reliability of electric cars lags behind conventional cars, according to Consumer Reports | Taza Khabre

Key findings

  • EVs and hybrids have significantly more reliability issues than conventional cars and hybrids, with EVs experiencing 79% more problems and plug-in hybrids 146% more.
  • Hybrids are the most reliable vehicles on the road, experiencing 26% fewer problems than gas-powered cars, and hybrids from Toyota and Lexus are among the most reliable models on the market.
  • Japanese brands, including Lexus and Toyota, dominate the top spots in Consumer Reports’ reliability rankings, while Tesla ranks in the middle and electric car maker Rivian is ranked as one of the least reliable brands.


The main reason for buying a car is transportation; however, there are almost countless factors to consider when making a purchase. After all, a vehicle is not only a means of transportation, but also an investment. Because owning a vehicle is about money and, more often than not, personal preference, it has also become a financial issue.

Vehicle owners consider reliability to be one of the main factors they consider when buying a new car. However, this does not negate the importance of other factors such as safety, design and style, and brand reputation.

In recent years, electric cars or electric cars have become a real alternative for car buyers. While EVs are gaining momentum in terms of sales, EV manufacturers may soon have to pay attention to one aspect – reliability. According to Consumer Reports, electric vehicles lag behind their conventionally powered competitors in terms of reliability.

The information in this article was taken from Consumer Reports.


Electric cars and plug-in hybrids are less reliable than conventional cars

Via: Ford

Problems compared to normal cars

Type of vehicle

Speed ​​issues

Hybrids

26% less

electric cars

by 76% more

Plug-in hybrids

by 146% more

(Data from Consumer Reports)

Since most of the barriers to consumers buying EVs are now either non-existent or minimal – thanks to government regulations – consumers are more likely to buy EVs. Internal combustion engine cars are still alive and kicking, but electric cars are slowly eating away at their sales.

In this so-called EV revolution, EVs may replace internal combustion engines as the new mainstream in the coming years. However, in terms of reliability, electric cars have not yet reached the current level of conventional cars. After all, vehicles are considered reliable if they have fewer problems that can inconvenience owners.

According to Consumer Reports, EVs experience 79% more problems than conventional cars. Plug-in hybrids fared much worse, experiencing 147% more problems than conventionally powered cars. On the other hand, hybrids experience 26% fewer problems than gas-powered cars.

These findings mean that hybrids are the most reliable cars on the road, while conventional models are the second most reliable. Electric vehicles rank third on the scale, and plug-in hybrids are the least reliable models.

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Fewer car problems mean higher reliability

Quick facts about consumer reports

  • The latest Consumer Reports reliability study covers 330,000 vehicles
  • The survey is about problems with the car that occur during 12 months of ownership
  • Some problem areas are unique to EVs, hybrids and plug-in hybrids
  • The most reliable cars are the ones with the fewest problems

The latest Consumer Reports reliability study included a survey of participants about problems they had experienced with their vehicles in the previous 12 months. The study covered more than 330,000 vehicles, including models from 2000 to 2023as well as some previously introduced 2024 models.

The study looked at 20 potential problem areas, including engine, transmission, electric motors, leaks and infotainment systems. Different types of vehicles may or may not have common problem areas due to the availability of different technologies and components.

ICE vehicles have 17 potential trouble spots, while plug-in EVs add three more: electric motor, battery, and EV charging. Hybrids have 19 potential trouble spots, inheriting 17 from internal combustion engines and adding those related to the electric motor and battery of electric vehicles. Electric vehicles only have 12 problem areas because they don’t experience traditional internal combustion engine problems such as the engine and transmission.

For each problem, the publication assigns a predicted reliability score to each vehicle on a scale of 1 to 100. To determine reliability scores for each brand, the publication averages the results. The fewer problems a vehicle has, the higher its brand rating

Electric cars have more problems than conventional cars

Electric cars remain more problematic than conventional cars. Over the past three model years, electric vehicles have experienced 79% more problems than their conventional counterparts. In terms of reliability, they even lag behind hybrids. In the latest survey, electric cars and electric SUVs received average reliability scores of 44 and 43, respectively. The least reliable electric vehicles are electric pickup trucks with an average score of only 30.

Some of the most common problems with electric vehicles involve drivetrain motors, charging systems, and batteries. Models that had these problems included the Ford F-150 Lightning and Mustang Mach-E, Genesis GV60, Hyundai Ioniq 5, Kia Niro EV and EV6, Subaru Solterra, Toyota bZ4X and Volkswagen ID.4.

Jake Fisher, senior director of automotive testing at Consumer Reports, noted that most electric vehicles today come from legacy automakers unfamiliar with the technology or companies that are new to the car industry. He noted that this means that these companies will experience growth problems and will need some time to resolve the issues.

It’s a completely different story at Tesla, which has been building electric cars for more than a decade. While its EV components are generally solid, it still has build quality issues. Some of the assembly problems reported by Tesla owners include incorrect paint, broken trim, non-functioning door handles and trunks that don’t close properly.

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Hybrids are the most reliable models with the fewest problems

Key details

  • With the fewest problems, hybrids are the king of reliability
  • Lexus and Toyota hybrids received high marks in terms of reliability
  • The problems that were previously associated with hybrids have largely been resolved
  • Many modern hybrids are produced by automakers known for their reliable cars

As the results show, hybrids have the fewest problems after 12 months of ownership. Conventional cars have the second most problems. While EVs are certainly problematic and not as reliable, plug-in hybrids are the worst when it comes to reliability.

Hybrids from Toyota and its luxury brand Lexus are among the most reliable models in the group: the Toyota Camry Hybrid, Highlander Hybrid, RAV4 Hybrid, as well as the Lexus UX and NX Hybrid. Interestingly, Lexus and Toyota topped Consumer Reports’ overall reliability rating. They named the Camry Hybrid one of the most reliable cars, second only to the 4Runner.

In the past, hybrids could face some problems, especially with regenerative braking. However, automakers have managed to solve most of the problems over time, allowing hybrids to have the fewest problems of any type of vehicle. Steven Elek, head of the automotive data analytics program at Consumer Reports, noted that many hybrids today are produced by manufacturers that strive to produce reliable vehicles, such as Toyota, Hyundai and Kia.

Plugin hybrids are unreliable as a class

2023 Chrysler Pacifica Plug-in Hybrid Pinnacle
Via: Stellantis

Plug-in hybrids, on the other hand, had the most problems during 12 months of ownership. They are more problematic than electric cars. Since plug-in hybrids are essentially a combination of a regular car and an electric car, it’s no surprise that not many things can go wrong with them. Plug-in hybrids are considered unreliable.

However, some plug-in hybrid models demonstrate a high level of reliability. Interestingly, one of these models is from Toyota, the manufacturer of some of the most reliable cars in the world. In fact, the Toyota RAV4 Prime plug-in hybrid is one of the most reliable models in the latest Consumer Reports reliability study.

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Hybrid manufacturers Lexus and Toyota have the best reliability ratings

Overall rating of brand reliability

rank

Brand

Rating

1

Lexus

79

2

Toyota

76

3

Mini

71

4

Acura

70

5

Honda

70

6

Subaru

69

7

Mazda

67

8

Porsche

66

9

BMW

64

10

Kia

61

11

Hyundai

56

12

Buick

55

13

Infiniti

53

14

Tesla

48

15

OZP

46

16

Cadillac

45

17

Nissan

45

18

Being

44

19

Audi

43

20

Chevrolet

43

21

Dodge

42

22

Ford

40

23

Lincoln

38

24

GMC

36

25

Volvo

28

26

Jeep

26

27

Volkswagen

26

28

Rivsky

24

29

Mercedes-Benz

23

30

Chrysler

18

(Source: Consumer Reports)

Japanese brands dominated Consumer Reports’ 2023 reliability study. At the top of the reliability rating is Lexus with 79 points, followed by Toyota with 76 points and Mini with 71 points. Honda and Acura had similar figures, both at 70. Subaru, Mazda, Porsche, BMW and Kia round out the top ten. Tesla is in the middle of the ranking (14th place) with a score of 48. The bottom five are Jeep, Volkswagen, Rivian, Mercedes-Benz and Chrysler.

Reliability Fast facts

  • The most reliable brands are Lexus and Toyota, both of which offer hybrid models.
  • Tesla is in the middle of the ranking
  • Electric car manufacturer Rivian is one of the most unreliable brands
  • Some brands were not included in the ranking due to the small sample size

It is noteworthy that some brands are not included in the reliability rating. This is because there must be enough vehicles to represent the brand in the survey. According to Consumer Reports, it excluded Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lucid, Maserati, Mitsubishi and Polestar because there wasn’t enough data to create a brand ranking for them.

Source: Consumer Reports

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