Consumer Reports Confirms Electric Vehicles Less Reliable Than Gas

After an extensive study conducted over the last year, Consumer Reports finds that electric vehicles are a lot less reliable than gas-powered vehicles. Of the three segments, gas, hybrid, and electric, reliability were worse for EVs mostly due to using newer, less-proven, technologies. Unfortunately, newer EV startups have less time and resources to adequately cover hidden issues, with the exception of Tesla. 

Why are electric vehicles less reliable?

The VW ID.4 is an EV with autopilot features.
Volkswagen ID.4 | Volkswagen

Since 2012, when the Tesla Model S was introduced, the EV maker has had over a decade to address issues that have crept up. Obviously, that’s one advantage even legacy manufacturers like Ford and GM haven’t had. Both companies have had issues with the Chevrolet Bolt standing out as a major example. And the Ford Mustang Mach-E has seen its reliability ranking continue to fall. But even Tesla is experiencing issues as it pushes forward with its FSD automation systems. 

“The automakers are using EVs as a technological testbed for whatever new technology they want to try out,” Consumer Reports director of testing Jake Fisher told CNBC. “By having all this new technology, there’s a lot of potential problems with them.” Consumer Reports has found that reliability has been an ongoing issue with EVs for years. 

Are there any reliable EVs?

Front angle view of orange-red 2023 Rivian R1T electric pickup truck
2023 Rivian R1T | Rivian

And as more EV startups begin manufacturing, we can expect to continue seeing tech issues rising. But this doesn’t mean there aren’t some fairly sussed-out EVs on the market. Consumer Reports found that of the 2023 models, it projected the Kia EV6 way above average for reliability. 

The EV6 is Kia’s version of the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and is new for 2023. It comes in both rear-wheel- and all-wheel-drive packages, with a range of over 300 miles between charges. With its GT model, there is 576 hp to tap into. EV6 competition is the Ford Mustang Mach-E and Volkswagen ID.4, both of which score poor reliability points from Consumer Reports for 2023.

Are hybrids any better?

2022 Kia EV6 review
2022 Kia EV6 | Allison Barfield, MotorBiscuit

And not all electric car segments score poorly in CR’s reliability predictions. Based on owner feedback and previous years’ findings, both hybrid cars and trucks are proven winners. Again, this is partially due to there being a longer period for sorting out problems. After all, the Toyota Prius was launched 25 years ago, which would argue it is not a new technology anymore. 

“When you put in new technology, and you try new things, and you deviate from what is proven technology, you’re going to have more problems,” Fisher said. But whatever happened to the old days of bringing out a thoroughly tested new vehicle without the expectation of recalls? So far this year alone the Mustang Mach E has seen three NHTSA safety recalls, and the year isn’t over.

There is, however, hope for the future. Tesla has seen its reliability rating move up significantly for 2023, though it still has a below-average reliability score. CR especially likes its EV-related systems and components. What is hurting it are quality issues like paint and trim problems, door gaps, and the like. 

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