New Report Shows Electric Vehicles Are Unreliable — These 3 Are the Worst


Marcus Lindstrom / iStock.com

Marcus Lindstrom / iStock.com

A sobering new reliability report from Consumer Reports indicates electric vehicles still have a long road ahead regarding dependable performance. The survey of over 300,000 vehicles found electric models suffer 79% more maintenance problems than gas-powered cars. Meanwhile, plug-in hybrids fared even worse — with a concerning 146% more issues reported by drivers.

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The results portray an industry still struggling to iron out the kinks in new electrification technology — at a time when more environmentally friendly vehicles are sorely needed. As global temperatures rise, manufacturers race to deliver reduced emission models to market. But in this breakneck pace, reliability appears to be an unfortunate casualty thus far.

Across the EV options surveyed, three models stood out for their subpar owner experiences:

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Chrysler Pacifica Plug-In Hybrid

The plug-in hybrid variant of Chrysler’s signature minivan scored dismally — a 14 out of 100! — in CR’s analysis. Owners reported an array of issues – from rattling noises signaling mechanical problems to outright transmission failure. After shelling out for the newest iteration, drivers were left with a supposedly high-tech van that all too often left them stranded rather than carrying the family.

Audi Q5

Audi’s luxury plug-in hybrid SUV fared a little better, earning well below average-marks for reliability. Owners detailed problems with the engine, electrical systems, and comfort features meant to elevate the driving experience. But all too often, the pricey vehicle’s complex technology failed – resulting in a trip to the shop rather than the open road.

Tesla Model 3

Once the poster child brand for EV adoption, even Tesla showed cracks in Consumer Reports’ assessment. While the company’s powertrains largely measured up, other components of supposed Tesla innovation — from touch screens to body panel alignment — disappointed. Paint defects, loose trim, and glitchy interfaces suggest Musk’s engineering wunderkinder still has work to do before EVs live up to their promise.

The results indicate lurking growing pains for an auto industry hastily undergoing an electric transition. And while some models showed EV technology can deliver durable transportation, they remain the exception rather than the rule. Until manufacturers remedy the root causes behind lackluster reliability, early adopters of electric vehicles may need to brace themselves for a bumpy ride — along with an occasional tow.

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