EVs Less Reliable than IC & Hybrids?

Oh Oh. This will generate some responses.
I’m just the messenger.
Technologically, I am a late adopter type person be it cell phone, computer, and likely an EV.

** Electric vehicles are among the least reliable cars and trucks in the automotive industry today, according to Consumer Reports rankings released Tuesday.*
** Reliability issues with all-electric vehicles were expected, since most automakers, with the exception of early EV leader Tesla, launched fully electric models just in recent years.*
** Consumer Reports surveyed owners of more than 300,000 vehicles to make predictions about the reliability of 2023 model year vehicles.*

When compared with hybrid and gas-powered cars and trucks, electric vehicles powered entirely by batteries were the worst-performing segment, aside from traditional full-size pickup trucks, according to Consumer Reports.


Not much that needs saying. Consumer Reports is fine for consumer good with a long history that don’t change much. High tech stuff? No. You truly never want to even consider what they have to say about the best music system to get, never mind EVs.



I’m not sure what this means - so they aren’t the worst-performing if trucks are worse; right?

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CR has little credibility about cars anymore. Somethings they still do. But their methodology rates a panel gap or a paint flaw the same as a a major mechanical issue. It would be interesting to see the actual report instead of the usual sensationalist clickbait.


From the article:

However, Tesla owners continue to report problems with body hardware, paint and trim in their vehicles across all models, according to Steve Elek, program leader for auto data analytics at Consumer Reports.

While these are valid criticisms, I don’t think they fall into the category of reliability. These are more like cosmetic quality. They don’t provide any methodology in the article. But the way I’d do it would be something like a few tiers of items. The first tier would be for any failures to drive and get you home. i.e. the car wouldn’t go and I needed to call a tow truck. Things like a flat tire would have its own category since this isn’t really the fault of the car maker in most cases. A second tier would be for a failure of HVAC or other critical systems (lights, wipers). A third tier would include things like the entertainment system.



Tesla owners are remarkably picky regarding all the little things they complain about. Having owned a Tesla for a while now, I am a member of many Tesla forums, and by far, the biggest complaints are about (in order) -

  1. Curb rash on wheels or wheel covers. Maybe Tesla owners rely too much on technology while they park their cars? Maybe Tesla owners are more careless when parking?
  2. Body fit/finish/paint. This is perhaps a problem, but most of them are easily fixed upon delivery, in my case, the tech simply rotated a few “stops” in various places and the gaps between body panels were almost all fixed immediately. Tesla owners, much more than most other cars, seem to add expensive body paint protection to their cars. Also, I rarely see other cars with wraps, while TONS of Teslas have full wraps on them (with really cool colors!)
  3. Tires. Every nail, ***** (a thing similar to a nail with threads on it), blowout, wear etc is discussed in great detail. And, admittedly, the tires appear to be relatively expensive and rarely discounted.

Maybe Tesla owners are [still] primarily techies at heart and just complain about everything? And modify everything, tweak everything, improve everything, etc.


Interesting. CR has rated Tesla number one in costumer satisfaction for the last few years.

I guess we should disregard that finding because CR has no idea what they are talking about.


About 20 years ago when I bought a midsize SUV, they had good info and seemed to be spot on. Four years ago when I bought my full sized SUV, not so much. Their biggest issue was having a current opinion on relatively newer builds. Car & Driver was writing reviews almost as soon as vehicles came off the assembly line.

The same problem arises when I evaluate reviews on TripAdvisor. A 20-something at a beach resort may have different rating preferences than a retiree.

My first car, a VW Rabbit/Golf (in 1973 +/-, I think) was picked based on CR’s glowing review. Unfortunately, the review was based on cars built in Germany, but mine was built in Westmorland Pennsylvania and was a lousy bucket of bolts (sometimes missing them).

Anyhow, I’m guessing the CR survey is not weighted and is more like a beauty contest than a strength one in some cases (are Tesla owners pickier than Civic owners about fit/finish?).


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That’s vastly different thanh the CR survey. In one you have a small group of writers evaluating a new product, with perhaps a week or two of “use” time. The CR survey is of more than 300,000 owners, who may not have the “automotive expertise” but who have infinitely more experience with the machine than those other writers. (In another language: they have skin in the game.)

It is likely that different brands attract different types of owners. Maybe Chevy owners drop $25K and don’t give a crap, but an evaluation by, say, 10,000 people has some sort of believability, doesn’t it?

Well, not if you’re the resident Tesla fanboi, but otherwise…

I have participated in past CR surveys (we owned Infinitis and Toyotas at the time) and it’s fairly wide ranging and pretty thorough. They did not ask me the correct ignition timing sequence of a 55 Chevrolet BelAire with 327 cubic inch engine and a four-barrel carb, I admit, but they did offer a variety of “asks” on everything from fit & finish to entertainment system to handling to real-world mileage to dealer satisfaction, so I found it both time consuming as well as (hopefully) useful to others.


That deserves more than one thumb but alas I only have one. I lost my other one in a skiing accident in the Himalayas Christmas '09. So I’m hoping others will chip in.

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Good call.


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Sounds like what was under the hood of my 1964 five-speed manual trnsmission Corvette Stingray convertible with a hard top.

Cost only $5,000. $48,066.45 today. 4% inflation – devaluation.

The Captain

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For the record, use 6 deg before TDC (top dead center) as a starting point…


I had the wonderful Chrysler 318 in my '72 Dodge Charger. Pretty much nothing could kill that engine, and it performed wonderfully. But don’t get me wrong, that didn’t make the car so great, because everything else around the engine could, and often would, go wrong! After a while, I would carry certain spare parts in my glove compartment, for example, I always had a spare voltage regulator there because those would regularly fail.

I finally had to get rid of the Charger after it left me stranded on the side of the road one morning during my second week of working my first real job. I bought a new '85 Ford Mustang GT to replace it. Of course, the Mustang was also not particularly reliable and it was sometime in '89 that I switched to non-USA vehicles for over 30 years until I bought a US built vehicle in '21 (a Tesla).

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Goofy wrote:

The CR survey is of more than 300,000 owners, who may not have the “automotive expertise” but who have infinitely more experience with the machine than those other writers. (In another language: they have skin in the game.)

Right. I believe the CR reliability ratings are probably the best such information available about prevalence of problems over time for car models that have enough survey data coming in. Most automotive articles, such as from Car and Driver, offer different information, also useful, but generally with zero weight given to longer term reliability. CR offers similar such ‘review’ articles, but only after they’ve been able to buy a car from a dealer who doesn’t know they’re selling to CR.

From the CNBC article about the Consumer Reports findings about electric cars:

Since electric car buyers tend to be tech-loving early adopters, automakers also pack the models with a host of other features, which could also lead to problems.

“The automakers are using EVs as a technological testbed for whatever new technology they want to try out,” Fisher told CNBC. “By having all this new technology, there’s a lot of potential problems with them.”

On top of that, I’d also mention that there is an issue of which brands are making EVs: the brands perennially at the top of the reliability ratings are not yet making any/many EVs: Toyota, Lexus, Honda, and now Mazda and BMW are up there in reliability ratings. None of them are making many/any pure EVs with enough volume to get ranked in the survey reporting. Toyota’s first all electric car, the bZ4X, has had some serious issues in it’s first year, but I expect them to make very reliable EVs fairly soon after they start making them in volume.


Here’s a FAQ on their reliability ratings: Consumer Reports' Car Reliability FAQ - Consumer Reports

Are All Problems Considered Equally Serious?
Engine major, engine cooling, transmission major, and drive system problems are more likely to take a car out of service and to be more expensive to repair than the other problem areas. Consequently, we weight these areas more heavily in our calculations of model year overall reliability verdict. Problems such as broken trim and in-car electronics have a much smaller weight. Problems in any area can be an expense and a bother, though, so we report them all in the reliability history charts.

Lot’s more at the link.

I’ve always bought used cars to avoid the big depreciation of the first few years, and the CR reliability ratings for the model and year car I’m considering are important to me. I won’t buy a car with worse than Average reliability rating from them, as a rule.


Browsing CR to see what the latest reliability results are for some of the cars I"m interested in, sometimes giving the ratings as a numeric value 1= much worse than average; 3 = average; 5 = much better than average.

Tesla Model 3: 2022 rating gets a 4 (above average) for the first time after years at average. Nice! Predicted reliability is still average for the 2023, but we can hope the above average becomes a trend. The Model 3 earns a ‘Recommended’ check mark.

Tesla Model Y: 2020 - 2, 2021 - 2, 2022 - 3 Predicted 2023- 2. Model Y earns an ‘Average’ for the first time in 2022. Yay! Hope that continues and improves.

Toyota RAV4 Prime: 2021 - 3, 2022 - 4, Predicted 2023 - 3. Toyota is always at or near the top of reliability ratings, so them earning an Average for 2021 and Predicted for the RAV4 Prime is not great, but it was a new model, so hopefully they’ll pull that up rapidly.

Prius Prime: recent years and 2023 predicted are all Above Average.

Prius regular hybrid: straight 5s ever since 2012 and of course that’s predicted for 2023.

There is a Prius and Prius Prime redesign hitting in 2023 with a big improvement in looks and acceleration. The Prime will supposedly hit 0-60mph in 6.6 sec while the standard Prius clocking 7.2 seconds while sipping fuel for 57 mpg (not achieving both at the same time, lol) 2023 Toyota Prius and Prius Prime Preview - Consumer Reports

Chevrolet Bolt: 2020 - 1, 2021 - 1, 2022 - 2, Predicted - 1. The Bolt used to rate Average, but that has sadly tanked. I guess I’ll have to take it off my potential buy list.

Kia EV6: Mentioned in the CNBC article as the highest rated EV, they came out of the gate with 5, much better than average reliability for the inaugural 2022 model. Very cool looking car, performs well, rated highly across the board on other aspects as well by CR. Car and Driver also loves it. Unfortunately it’s pricey and doesn’t qualify for tax credits.

Okay, enough for now. Hope some of y’all found that interesting.


Reasonable approach. But without examining the details you’ll eliminate a lot of cars that you probably would find just great. That’s not a problem when there are lots of satisfactory models to choose from, but that’s not always how it goes.

If you dig into the CR ratings, you discover that most of the “reliability problems” with Teslas are of the “I couldn’t figure out how to use the infotainment system” variety. It’s pretty much just irrelevant BS, having nothing to do with actual reliability.

Well, I try to ignore CR in most things. But I suspect there’s much less deceptive “methodology” in asking consumers whether they would buy the same car again, or recommend it to people, or similar questions.

As CR is utterly unable to process things that are new, they simply never ask Tesla owners how many of the “problems” you had were fixed by an over the air update? And they never ask how many of the “problems” were in features your car didn’t even have when you bought it, but acquired at no cost by software update?

Part of the reason most Tesla owners love their cars is that it’s so refreshing to have a car that gets better as you own it rather than deteriorating.



I have dug into the ratings, and I’ve found your claim to be inaccurate. I’ve tried to correct your misinformation about CR ratings before, but you keep repeating your BS, so I think it’s futile to try more. But, just as an example, the 2021 Tesla Model 3’s worst trouble spots were Paint/Trim, Body Integrity, and Body Hardware: nothing to do with the infotainment system and nothing that can be improved by an over-the-air update.