Study: Tesla and Nissan’s electric vehicles are the most reliable

Electric vehicles are a relatively new product compared to the gas cars made by some century-old legacy automakers. While some consumers and critics doubt their reliability, a new study shows that Tesla and Nissan’s EVs are the most dependable options in the electric category, despite the overall sector leaving some room for improvement.

Data compiled by Consumer Reports shows that Tesla and Nissan’s EVs are the most reliable on the market, drawing from a survey of hundreds of thousands of vehicle owners. The survey data includes information such as major malfunctions or issues with owned vehicles, detailing reliability information from vehicles such as the Tesla Model 3, the Nissan Leaf, the Kia EV6 and more.

Overall, the Kia EV6 ranked the best in reliability, but the publication quickly expressed uncertainty over whether it will match the Model 3’s record over time. Being newer, the EV6 has had fewer cumulative respondents than the Model 3 or the Nissan Leaf, and more problems could arise from their owners in the coming years.

It’s worth noting that Consumer Reports has had a rocky relationship with Tesla in the past, due to its criticisms of the automaker’s Autopilot monitoring and its controversial yoke steering wheels. If anything, however, that should add to the current study’s credibility when considering Tesla’s vehicles among the more reliable EVs out there.

The report includes data from over a thousand Model 3 owners with model years dating back to 2018, most of which say the vehicle is either average or better than average in reliability. The second-gen Nissan Leaf was considered the third-most reliable EV in the study, and is recommended alongside the Model 3 and the EV6 by the publication.

Problems submitted in the surveys included those associated with charging, electric drive motors, battery packs and air conditioning elements unique to EVs, among others. Consumer Reports notes that most of these vehicles are built on nearly-brand-new platforms, rather than using component features in currently existing cars. For legacy automakers, building EVs can be a steep learning curve from traditional manufacturing tactics, as evidenced in the reliability study. 

EVs have fewer parts than conventional gas vehicles, so in theory, they should only become more reliable as they age and the market grows. They lack features of gas cars such as transmissions, fuel and ignition systems, valvetrains, exhaust, engine oil, spark plugs, etc., and their braking systems are of benefit due to regenerative braking. In short, their components are simpler, and as they become a more mature product, many of their reliability issues could vanish.

The Model Y and Model S ranked lower on the list, landing the fifth- and eighth-place spots, respectively. EVs ranking last that were not recommended by Consumer Reports included the the Chevy Bolt (battery-electric and EUV variants) and the Hyundai Kona electric. The other vehicles in the study included the Hyundai Ioniq 5, the Ford Mustang Mach-E and the Volkswagen ID.4.

The reports also note Tesla’s Superchargers as a major benefit for Model 3 owners, calling the proprietary charging network “the nation’s best,” and adding that it “makes a compelling argument for becoming an early adopter.”


Source: Consumer Reports