Hybrids & Electrics

Don’t Buy These Electric Vehicles if You Like Going Places

As battery technology becomes increasingly more advanced, electric vehicles are more enticing than ever. Additionally, you’re no longer just stuck with an electric sedan. Now you’ve got electric SUVs and sports cars as well. However, Consumer Reports recently retracted its recommendation of a crop of EVs from big-time manufacturers such as Porsche, Audi, Kia, and Tesla. So if you want a reliable first EV experience, you’ll want to skip these vehicles.

Shouldn’t electric vehicles be less problematic?

Blue 2020 Porsche Taycan Turbo driving down the road
2020 Porsche Taycan Turbo | Porsche

In theory, yes. A study by Consumer Reports found that electric vehicles, on average, cost less to repair and maintain than their gasoline-powered counterparts. However, Consumer Reports also states that first-generation models are, on average, more troubled than established models. In this regard, the EVs mentioned in this newest report are suffering significant growing pains. Fortunately for buyers, most of these problems are covered under the standard manufacturer warranty. However, that doesn’t take away from the time spent dealing with a problematic electric vehicle and not going where you want to go when you want to.

According to Consumer Reports, a survey of over 329,000 vehicles showed that some of the most troubled are the Audi E-Tron, the Kia Niro EV, and the Tesla Model Y. It is essential to note that some of these models have been on sale for various years, meaning buyers could likely be purchasing used examples that for one reason or another no longer qualify for the manufacturer warranty. If that’s the case, you’ll want to be very careful before pulling a trigger on any of these EVs.

Why are the Audi, the Kia, and the Tesla at the top of the list?

An Audi e-tron S5 Quattro is seen during the Vienna Car Show press preview at Messe Wien, as part of Vienna Holiday Fair
The Audi e-tron | Manfred Schmid/Getty Images

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As far as electric vehicles go, Tesla builds some of the highest-performing options available for sale. Despite this, Consumer Reports found that Model Y owners reported widespread build quality issues. Among the most common were paint-related problems. In fact, one owner reported that they found human hair and debris stuck to the paint on delivery day, says Consumer Reports. The next large issue surrounding the electric SUV has to do with body alignment issues. Some owners even reported not being able to close the rear hatch as a result.

According to Consumer Reports, the Audi E-Tron seems to suffer from some significant issues as far as electric vehicles go. During the survey, owners reported drive-system electrical failures. In short, a drive system refers to the vehicle’s powertrain, in this case, its electric motors. To add insult to injury, owners also noted issues with power equipment. The power equipment category covers things such as the instrument cluster, warning lights, and interior lighting, to name a few.

Kia’s electric vehicle, the Niro EV, also reportedly suffers from powertrain issues. Unlike the Audi’s problems, the Kia owners reported issues with a specific electric motor bearing, which failed frequently. As a result of owners’ repeated issues, Consumer Reports officially withdrew its recommendation of these models and marked them as having poor reliability. Additionally, given the data from these EVs, Consumer Reports also downgraded the reliability rating of the Porsche Taycan.

Buy these EVs instead

The Tesla Model S Performance offers a 2.3-second 0-60 time and over 350 miles of available range.
Tesla Model S | Tesla

Before we get too down on electric vehicles, there are some great options available. For starters, Consumer Reports notes that the Chevy Bolt is not only a reliable EV but one of the most reliable models produced by the brand. Additionally, Consumer Reports states that the Nissan Leaf is also a great option.

The reason why these two electric vehicles excel is due to their lack of widespread features. In fact, Consumer Reports stated that feature-rich EVs such as those from Tesla tend to have more ongoing issues. So if you’re in the market for any of these EVs, you can now proceed with your eyes open.