Consumer Reports Says That Tesla, Nissan, and Kia Make the Most Reliable EVs With a Caveat

The EV6 fared great in Consumer Reports' reliability surveys; the Leaf and Model 3 did fine, too.

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Photo: Kia

Tesla and Consumer Reports have had a fraught relationship, to say the least, but on Wednesday CR had at least one good thing to say about Tesla, which was that the Model 3 is among the most reliable EVs, according to its surveys. One problem, however, is that EVs, as a whole don’t seem to be as reliable as their internal combustion counterparts.

You can see CR’s results below, scores of which CR says are based on data from “hundreds of thousands” of car owners.

Image for article titled Consumer Reports Says That Tesla, Nissan, and Kia Make the Most Reliable EVs With a Caveat
Screenshot: Consumer Reports
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Indeed, the EV6 takes the top spot by a wide margin, which CR says is partly a function of the EV6 being still relatively new to the market; it may develop more problems as it ages. The Model 3, on the other hand, has been on the market for over five years now, while the second-generation Leaf has been sold in America for nearly five years. Both of those cars also still managed to beat the Volkswagen ID.4 and Chevy Bolt EUV, both new to America last year.

Still, these are all fairly pathetic scores compared to, say, CR’s top ten most reliable cars overall, all but one of which has a reliability score in the 80s or 90s. CR suspects this could be in part because despite having fewer parts, automakers tend to test out new tech on their EVs; also, frequently, the platform is new, too.

Owners of many new EVs reported problems associated with battery packs, charging, electric drive motors, and unique heating and cooling systems that are required on vehicles that lack a conventional engine.

This is due in part to the fact that the latest wave of electric vehicles ride on all-new platforms, rather than benefiting from carrying over major components from existing production cars, as is the norm. They tend to showcase innovations, such as the latest controls, infotainment systems, and even electric-powered glove boxes and door handles. All these new features can often mean new problems.

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This is, inadvertently, a strong case for a no-frills barebones EV that is just made to get beat up and go places, something like the Sono Sion, if that thing ever becomes a reality here. Because I don’t think anyone was ever asking for an electric glove compartment, for example, or even electric door handles, even if they may help with aerodynamics a little. An affordable, reliable, all-electric car: still a unicorn after all these years.