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Electric Cars Are Way Less Reliable Than ICE Cars, Says Consumer Reports

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Electric vehicles are far less reliable than vehicles powered by combustion engines, according to Consumer Reports‘ 2024 reliability owner satisfaction survey results published on Wednesday.

Data gathered by Consumer Reports from owners of over 330,000 vehicles ranging from model years 2000 to 2024 show that EVs are 79 percent less reliable than ICE-powered vehicles on average, despite fewer moving parts and simpler drivetrain designs. Plug-in hybrids are even worse when it comes to reliability, with a staggering 146 percent more problems versus traditional gas-powered cars. Interestingly, traditional hybrid vehicles scored best, producing 26 percent fewer problems versus ICE-powered vehicles. 

Consumer Reports suggests that new technologies arising from the development of electric vehicles mean early adopters will have to deal with some kinks before reliability improves.

“The longer a vehicle or a technology is in production, the more the bugs are worked out,” CR Senior Director of Auto Testing Jake Fisher told Automotive News. “The automakers that have produced EVs earlier, they’re improving the reliability.”

Fisher goes on to suggest that if you’re in the market for a Tesla you should buy a Model 3 rather than a Cybertruck, as the Model 3 has been in production for years, meaning most of the production flaws have been fixed. The Cybertruck, on the other hand, is an entirely new vehicle that will likely have “many growing pains” once it goes on sale. 

The electric truck segment fared the worst in Consumer Reports’ study. The group currently consists of just two vehicles: the Ford F-150 Lightning and the Rivian R1T. While Ford is dealing with troubles related to batteries and charging, Rivian is facing challenges with things like build quality and climate control functions, according to the survey. It’s proof that neither new start-ups nor legacy automakers are immune to the teething problems that come with EVs.

The biggest surprise of the study comes from regular hybrids, positioned as the most reliable drivetrain type. Consumer Reports says this is because traditional hybrid tech has been around for many years, with buyers that aren’t as concerned with owning the latest tech. 

“When it comes to reliability, the slow and steady are winning the race,” Fisher told Automotive News. “The manufacturers that are making quick moves, those are the ones struggling with some of the new technology.”

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