Toronto, Ontario — Electric vehicles have 79 percent more reliability problems on average than combustion cars, most of which occur in the high-voltage battery system, according to Consumer Reports’ (CR) latest Annual Auto Reliability Study.
In 2023, CR gathered data on more than 330,000 vehicles from the 2000 to 2023 model years, as well as a few newly introduced 2024 models. According to the survey, the biggest reliability problems for electric vehicles relate to issues with the charging experience for consumers as well as the high-voltage battery.
“EVs are still in their relative infancy as mainstream vehicles, so it’s really not that surprising that manufacturers, by and large, are still working out the kinks,” said Jake Fisher, senior director of auto testing at Consumer reports.
“That said,” he continued, “we are seeing signs of movement in the right direction. And our data has consistently shown, reliability-minded consumers would be best served by forgoing brand new vehicles in their first model year.
Plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) performed on average worse than their EV counterparts, with 146 percent more problems, while hybrids instead performed better with 26 percent fewer problems than ICE vehicles.
When it comes to EVs, Tesla marked a bright spot with comparatively fewer issues in the charging and battery categories. Although, the automaker did receive issue reports in the areas of body hardware, paint, trim and climate systems.
Tesla was the second-highest-ranked North American car manufacturer in CR’s brand rankings coming in 14th place and being surpassed only by Buick in 12th place.
Other EV brands had fewer reported problems related to build quality, but had higher rates of powertrain, battery and charging issues—although, CR does not mention what these models are.
The most reliable brands according to Consumer Reports were: Lexus and Toyota in first, followed by Mini, Acura, Honda, Subaru, Mazda, Porsche, BMW and Kia. Chrysler came in last place and Rivian came in 28th place, with both the R1T pickup and R1S SUV scoring below average when it comes to reliability.
For Rivian specifically, owners complained about issues related to the drive system, climate control system, body hardware and EV charging.
This year’s CR survey covered 20 problem areas including concerns related to automotive engines, electric motors, transmission, in-car electronics, EV and hybrid battery, EV charging and more.