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Electric Vehicles are Less Reliable per Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports latest reliability study finds that most EVs are less reliable than conventional or hybrid vehicles.

Every year, the consumer organization, Consumer Reports, surveys the owners of recent model year vehicles to devise a reliability prediction for the next model year of those vehicles. For the 2023 Auto Reliability Study, Consumer Reports found that electric vehicles are among the most unreliable vehicles on U.S. roads.

The study asked owners of more than 300,000 2000-2022 MY vehicles about the issues they had with their vehicles in the previous 12 months. It covered questions about 17 specific problem areas including transmission, brakes, leaks, electronics, engine issues, paint, and trim, and used that information to award a reliability score to the vehicle for 2023. Ranking highest, as in previous years, were sedans but lowest in the rankings were pick up trucks and electric vehicles.

Electric vehicles have never fared well in reliability surveys. Any new technology or model tends to take a few years to iron out early glitches, and EVs are still working out their problems. Hybrid vehicles, however, have already made great progress and outranked fully electric vehicles in the Consumer Reports survey. The organization said that most hybrids had a reliability rating that was as good as or better than their non-hybrid counterparts.

What did the study find about EVs?

In previous surveys, EVs had a lot of problems with infotainment systems and in-car electronics, which are also common in conventional vehicles. However, this year’s survey revealed problems with the EV-specific systems of the vehicle as well as the common in-car electronics issues. Problems included defects in battery packs, electric drive motors, and charging systems.

In total, 7 of the 11 EV models in the Consumer Reports survey earned a below average reliability rating. Tesla moved up in the reliability rankings from last year’s results but still has below average reliability, partly due to ongoing issues with its steering/suspension, climate system, body hardware, paint, and trim. The top ranked EV was the Kia EV6 while at the bottom of the EV list was the electric Hyundai Kona.

What do your lemon lawyers see with EVs?

As the EV market increases, we are handling even more complaints about defective EVs for our clients. Here are some of the issues that we have heard about some specific fully electric vehicle models.

Tesla

Tesla dominates the market for EVs in the U.S. but it receives a lot of negative publicity about quality issues, and we hear a wide variety of problems including:

  • Blown out motor
  • Driver seat issues
  • Rear seats rattling
  • Vibrating noises
  • Paint defects
  • Steering wheel and other buttons broken
  • Overheating
  • Car alarm going off
  • Defective battery
  • Suspension issues
  • Lights not working
  • Horn not working

Ford Mustang Mach-E

We have received reports of unexplained error warnings in the Ford Mustang Mach-E but an even bigger issue was the recall of 49,000 Mach-E vehicles due to a potential overheating of the high voltage battery main contactor. This can cause the vehicle not to start or to lose propulsion power while in motion and is a major safety problem for drivers.

Hyundai Kona EV

Ranking lowest for reliability in the Consumer Reports survey, the constant complaint that we hear about the Hyundai Kona EV is that it simply will not start. This model has recurring issues with a defective or draining battery that have even led to class action lawsuits in some states. There are also reports of fires as a result of a short circuit in the battery.

Chevrolet Bolt

The Chevy Bolt is well known for the fire risk associated with its battery, requiring some owners to park outside and away from structures in case the vehicle catches fire without warning. Other issues with the Chevy Bolt include electrical problems, battery life issues, and infotainment system defects.

What can defective EV owners do?

State lemon laws protect owners of problem EVs and other vehicles. If the vehicle that you bought recently has a significant problem that the dealer will not fix, you may be entitled to bring a lemon law claim against the vehicle manufacturer. These are designed by state law to be straightforward claims that do not cost you anything (because the law makes the automanufacturer pay your legal fees when you win.) When we help owners bring a lemon law claim, we handle all the administration, advise them on what they must do by law, and negotiate with the manufacturer on their behalf. We are able to settle many of our cases to get our clients a cash and keep settlement, a refund, or a replacement vehicle within 30-90 days.

At Timothy Abeel & Associates, we help owners of defective electric and conventional vehicles and we guarantee that we will never send a bill for our fees. If you are having issues with your recently purchased vehicle, contact us today for a free case review.

Experiencing Similar Issues?

If your car was manufactured between 2018 and 2023 we may be able to help. Contact us for more information.