New report shows electric vehicles are unreliable – these 3 are the worst


Marcus Lindstrom /

Marcus Lindstrom /

A sobering new reliability report Consumer Reports indicates that electric vehicles still have a long way to go when it comes to reliable performance. The survey of more than 300,000 vehicles found electric models suffer from 79% more maintenance issues than gasoline cars. Meanwhile, plug-in hybrids fare even worse – with 146% more problems reported by drivers.

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The findings depict an industry that is still struggling to resolve issues surrounding new electrification technologies – at a time when more environmentally friendly vehicles are sorely needed. As global temperatures rise, manufacturers are rushing to bring lower-emission models to market. But at this breakneck pace, reliability so far seems to be an unfortunate casualty.

Among the electric vehicle options studied, three models stood out for having below-average ownership experiences:

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Chrysler Pacifica plug-in hybrid

The plug-in hybrid variant of Chrysler’s iconic minivan achieved dismal results: a 14 out of 100! — in the analysis of CR. Owners have reported a range of problems, from clicking noises signaling mechanical issues to outright transmission failure. After spending for the latest iteration, drivers were left with a supposedly high-tech van that too often left them stranded rather than transporting the family.

Audi Q5

Audi’s luxury plug-in hybrid SUV fares a little better, scoring well below average for reliability. Owners detailed issues with the engine, electrical systems, and comfort features intended to improve the driving experience. But too often, the complex technology in this expensive vehicle failed, forcing a trip to the workshop rather than hitting the road.

Tesla Model 3

Once the leading brand in electric vehicle adoption, even Tesla has shown cracks in Consumer Reports’ rating. While the company’s powertrains were largely up to snuff, other components of Tesla’s so-called innovation — from touchscreens to body panel alignment — disappointed. Paint defects, loose trim, and faulty interfaces suggest that Musk’s engineering prodigy still has work to do before electric vehicles deliver on their promises.

The results indicate growing difficulties for an auto industry that is hastily undertaking an electric transition. And while some models have demonstrated that electric vehicle technology can provide sustainable transportation, they remain the exception rather than the rule. Until manufacturers address the root causes of poor reliability, early adopters of electric vehicles may need to prepare for a bumpy ride, as well as the occasional tow.

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