A survey by Which? has found the Kia e-Niro to be the most reliable EV and also the most reliable small or compact SUV of any fuel type.
Just one in every 17 (6%) e-Niro owners reported any kind of fault with their car and only one in 100 (1%) said their car had failed to start or broke down. However, the unlucky few who did have an issue faced an average of around eight and a half days off the road, showing there is still work to do on improving repair times when things do go wrong.
Conversely, Which?’s survey also found that Tesla is the least reliable EV brand. In cars up to four years old, two fifths (39%) of Teslas had at least one fault and one in 20 (5%) had a breakdown or failed to start.
Which? has previously called for the Tesla Model S (2013- present), which starts from £79,980, to be recalled over issues with its door handles and locks for two years running. A positive for Tesla is that its cars were only off the road for just under three and a half days on average when they needed repair work.
As part of the survey, the industry body is calling on car manufacturers to improve the reliability of electric vehicles after it found EVs to be the least reliable fuel type and spend longer off the road than other cars when they need repairs.
Of cars up to four years old, nearly one in three (31%) EV owners reported one fault or more, compared to less than one in five (19%) petrol cars. Owners of those faulty electric cars then went an average of just over five days without the use of their car while it was being fixed – compared to just three days for petrol cars.
Which? is calling on other car makers to up their game and improve the quality of their cars. Manufacturers need to gain the trust of drivers to encourage them to switch towards more sustainable cars.
There is potential for manufacturers to improve as there are fewer moving parts in EVs than in other fuel types. The most common faults raised by EV drivers in the survey were software problems, not motor or battery pack issues. There are also reliable, partly-electric cars available on the market today. Which?’s survey found that the most reliable cars of any fuel type are full hybrids, with just one in six (17%) owners reporting a fault among cars aged up to four years old.
Lisa Barber, Which? Home Products and Services Editor, said: “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. Whilst it’s disappointing to see that EVs as a group are the least reliable, Kia’s e-Niro shows there is a significant opportunity for manufacturers to up their game and provide drivers with a reliable and more sustainable car.
“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.”
As well as calling for an improvement in EV reliability, Which? has also recently called for the quality and provision of charging infrastructure to be significantly improved. A recent policy paper from the consumer champion calls for improvements in the accessibility and the experience of using the public charging infrastructure.