Electric vehicles (EVs) are known to be kinder to the environment, but according to a recent reliability report by Consumer Reports, they have a lot to do when it comes to dependable performance.
The survey of over 300,000 vehicles found that EVs still have a long way to go, with owners reporting 79% more maintenance problems than gas-powered cars. Plug-in hybrids fared worse, with reports of 146% more issues. This leaves the industry with the challenge of making environmentally friendly vehicles that are also reliable and efficient.
The report suggests that the industry is struggling to keep up with the new electrification technology. More and more manufacturers are looking to deliver reduced emission models to the market, but in the rush to do so, reliability appears to be a casualty. The report identifies three models that stood out for their subpar owner experiences – the Chrysler Pacifica Plug-In Hybrid, the Audi Q5, and even the Tesla Model 3, once seen as the poster child for EV adoption.
Owners of the plug-in hybrid variant of Chrysler’s signature minivan, scored it dismally with a 14 out of 100. They reported an array of issues from rattling noises signaling mechanical problems to outright transmission failure. Similarly, Audi’s luxury plug-in hybrid SUV, while faring better, still earned low marks for reliability. Owners detailed problems with the engine, electrical systems, and other comfort features meant to enhance their driving experience, but they often only derived more trips to the shop than the open road.
It seems even Tesla, a model company that many look up to in the EV market, still showed cracks in the reliability department. Although the company’s powertrains largely measured up, the report identified problems with paint defects, body panel alignment, touch screens and other glitches. These are suggestions that Musk’s engineering wunderkinder still have work to do before EVs can live up to their promise.
The report indicates that there are growing pains in the auto industry that is hastily transitioning to electric vehicles. The data provided by Consumer Reports shows that while some models prove that EV technology can deliver durable transportation, they remain the exception rather than the norm. Until automakers identify and resolve the root causes behind these reliability issues, early adopters of electric vehicles may have to brace themselves for a bumpy ride along with an occasional tow.