Consumer Report Claims EV Less Reliable Than ICE

Mon 7th Mar 2022

An influential consumer affairs organisation has published a surprising report, with claims from almost 50,000 drivers which suggest that electric cars are the least reliable when it comes to faults.

The analysis from Which? looked at car owners with vehicles up to four years old and found that 31 per cent of electric vehicle owners had reported at least one problem, compared to 19 per cent of petrol cars.

Another problem the consumer champion revealed was that EV owners have to wait longer for their vehicles to be fixed, an average of five days, compared to just three days for petrol engines. And while it might be thought that the extra wait for repair might be related to a mechanic’s relative inexperience with EVs, the most common faults with electric cars are actually software related. So while fewer engine parts might suggest a repair would be easy, waiting for software fixes often require specialist technical help, more than likely from an official dealership.

“We know that drivers are keen to make the move to more environmentally-friendly cars but it is vital that they are getting a quality product,” said Lisa Barber, home products and services editor at Which?

“With EVs in particular, our research shows a premium price tag does not necessarily mean a reliable vehicle, so we would always encourage drivers to do their research ahead of such a significant purchase to see which cars and brands they can trust.”

With software being a major issue, it might come as no surprise that Tesla is the least reliable of all EV brands, with the Which? research highlighting a wide range of faults. 

However, the report is being received with caution by the UK’s other motoring organisations, with the RAC pointing out that most software problems can be solved very quickly.

“It's very important to realise that most software problems can be solved easily, either by wireless updates or 'restarts' in the same way as a desktop computer simply by disconnecting the 12v auxiliary battery and 'rebooting' the system, something our expert patrols routinely do for our members in these situations,” said James Gibson, the RAC’s head of technical.

“Many manufacturers are also able to help drivers sort issues out over the phone by getting them to carry out certain functions to reboot systems.”