electric vehicles are less reliable than other cars and trucks, Consumer Reports

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Well-known member
Feb 3, 2021
British Columbia
Electric vehicles have proved far less reliable, on average, than gasoline-powered cars, trucks and SUVs, according to the latest survey by Consumer Reports, which found that EVs from the 2021 through 2023 model years encountered nearly 80 per cent more problems than did vehicles propelled by internal combustion engines.

Consumer Reports said EV owners most frequently reported troubles with battery and charging systems as well as flaws in how the vehicles' body panels and interior parts fit together. The magazine and website noted that EV manufacturers are still learning to construct completely new power systems, and it suggested that as they do, the overall reliability of electric vehicles should improve.

More at CBC.
Learjet said:
new is less reliable is nothing new in my opinion.

There's certainly a bit of that. Because EV technology is new I think that many owners simply don't know how to troubleshoot minor problems that they would sort out on an ICE vehicle.
FWIW, all three of my LEAF's have been very reliable. I have had to clear DTC's with LEAF Spy Pro once in a while due to public charger communication errors and 12V battery issues (deep discharge due to something left on and failures of the OEM batteries after about 2 years of use). These CAN Bus communication errors and associated DTC's would have resulted in dealer visits and, in some cases, towing if I did not have a way to read/clear them. Issues like these tally as problems in reliability surveys of owners.
My sense is that Consumer Reports can be rather petty about some of the things that go into its reliability ratings. I'm struck by the significant difference between the low rating CR gives Teslas get for reliability and the high rating Teslas get for owner satisfaction. Maybe I'm the one who's strange, but I am not satisfied with unreliable products.

My Leaf has seen the dealer exactly once since I bought it, and that was to replace the original 2G communications thingy with 3G (or was it replace 3G with 4G?). It's also been to some 3rd party shops for biennial safety check required for registration renewal, and always passing. My Tesla is similar, it's been back once for a check-up after the first 3 years of ownership and nothing other than routine maintenance items were performed. I guess I've been lucky, because we read regularly about problems with Leafs in this forum and with Teslas in the news, but my two EVs have been highly reliable.
I agree about C/R. Their "survey" is less than scientific in their sampling. I have one of C/R "best" rated washing machines that later has been known to one of the worse. Maytag Neptune, and a lot of its problems are due to not getting all the water out between uses. Something that a tester should be able to have figured out long before consumers started complaining about moldy smelling laundry. They don't seam to be thorough in their examination of products.
electrics, like diesels and other "things that are different", those that are disappointed are often those that didn't research what they were buying, and bought on impulse or emotion. Expectations, when not met, can result in bad reports on surveys, but the expectations have to be realistic to start with.
In the cold, we are hearing about people who are "shocked" or 'let down" when their electric looses range in the extreme cold. A little time spent researching would tell you that they will loose range in the extreme cold. You don't hear the same people complain when the electric costs them 1/2 what did to take their old car to town. People focus on the things they didn't think to educate themselves on. To be fair, neither the sales lit nor the salesman will be much help in that.
I have a Camry, one of the C/R's highly rated vehicles. and it needs constant attention. The engine is mostly "bullet proof" (4 cyl, base engine that Toyota has made for decades). Nothing huge, but lots of little things, I wouldn't rate it as high as they did.
Those that Pre-purchased a 2011, were taking a gamble, but those that followed, esp a decade on, should know the strength and weakness of an all electric. Both Tesla and Nissan have been making them for more than 10 years. Those that buy some of the newer makes, are taking a gamble that the quality is good, as well as the known problems EV face.
5.5 years and 165,000 KMs on my 2018. Nothing has ever broken down on it. I attribute this to the reliability of the Leaf and to the meticulousness of my maintenance regime.
For the most part they are not referring to an EV's drive train but rather charging stations, entertainment systems and fit and finish issues. Important to keep that in mind. The battery charging issues are almost exclusively with external equipment not with the EV itself but the implications are otherwise which is what certain anti-EV industries want you to see. Complaining about charging stations is like complaining about gas pumps. An ICE drivetrain can't compare with the reliability of an electric. Just look under the hood. An EV has far fewer points of wear-n-tear and points of failure. The Leaf has no fan, accessory or serpentine belts and none of the associated pumps, pulleys bushings or bearings. The Leaf has no alternator, or mechanical water pump. The Leaf does not have a typical transmission and no power steering pump so none of the associated hydraulic fluids. The Leaf does not need a high temperature, high pressure cooling system (it has a low pressure, low temperature system that's virtually a lifetime sealed system). The Leaf does not have crankcase oil or oil filters. The Leaf does not have spark plugs, coil packs or ignition control computer modules. The Leaf does not have fuel injectors, fuel pumps, fuel filters, fuel pressure regulators, or fuel injection computer control modules. The Leaf does not have any of the extreme temperature and vibration that prematurely degrades virtually everything under the hood (sensors, electronic modules, hoses, belts, vacuum lines, etc...). The Leaf does not have an emissions control or exhaust system, no mufflers, O2 sensors, or catalytic converters (NO EMISSIONS TESTING EVER). The Leaf does not have pistons, piston rings, or valve guides that will wear and burn oil. The Leaf does not have timing belts, timing chains, timing gears, cam position or crank angle sensors. The Leaf does not have head gasket(s) that will eventually blow. The Leaf does not have rocker cover gaskets, pan gaskets or rear engine oil seals that will all eventually leak. The Leaf does not have or need a starter motor. The Leaf uses regen for braking which makes the brake pads last virtually lifetime. Unless checking the brake fluid level or refilling the wiper washer reservoir there's very little reason to ever open the hood on a Leaf. You'd be lucky to go two weeks without needing to look under the hood of a gasoline vehicle.