When buying a new car, reliability should be a primary determining factor. Electric cars have a confusing reputation from a reliability standpoint. While these vehicles tend to have top-of-the-line technology and efficiency features, many models are notorious for breaking down frequently.
Table of Contents
- But First: Are Electric Vehicles More Reliable Than Gas?
- The most reliable EVs: our top picks
- 2022 Kia Niro EV
- 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV
- 2022 Honda Insight
- 2022 Hyundai Kona Electric
- 2022 Nissan LEAF
- 2022 Toyota Prius Prime
- 2022 Ford Mustang Mach-E
So, how can you avoid buying a lemon and ensure your electric car has the wherewithal to remain on the road? Here’s our advice on the most reliable electric vehicles of 2022.
Most reliable EV on the market
2022 Kia Niro EV
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Runner up reliable EV choice
2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV
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Reliable hybrid option
2022 Honda Insight
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2022 Hyundai Kona Electric
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2022 Nissan LEAF
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Ford Mustang Mach-E
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2022 Toyota Prius Prime
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But First: Are Electric Vehicles More Reliable Than Gas?
Research whether electric cars are more reliable than gas, and you’ll get mixed reviews. Some analysts state that electric vehicles require 10%-15% less maintenance than those with internal combustion engines, and this gap increases as you compare EVs to older vehicles. That’s explained in part because electric cars have fewer moving parts than those with gas engines, meaning there’s less to go wrong mechanically.
However, research is starting to show that you won’t always get what you pay for—at least with high-end electric vehicles. In fact, a Consumer Reports study found that cars in the $35,000-$45,000 range actually scored better on reliability metrics than those priced above $75,000. Industry darling Telsa scored second to last, beaten only in unreliability by Ford’s Lincoln.
That’s not to say that expensive EVs are built worse than budget-friendly models. You can actually attribute most of the blame to the high-tech gadgetry within them. Luxury EVs tend to have top-of-the-line features like touchscreen controls, large LED screens, and even the capacity for over-the-air software updates. However, these extra features offer more opportunities for things to go wrong, and much of this interior technology is new enough to be buggy still.
In this sense, you’re more likely to walk away with a reliable car if you skip the bells and whistles and instead commit to one with fewer parts to break down. That’s why our recommendations for the most reliable EVs all fall under the $50,000 price line.
The most reliable EVs: our top picks
Kia Niro at a glance
- EV Range: 112 MPGe, 239-mile range
- Battery Type: 64 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery
- Rated Power: 201 horsepower
- Price: starts at $39,990
Winning Consumer Report’s top placement for reliability, the Kia Niro EV is a car you can count on. It’s priced a little higher than the competition at $39,990 but comes with a reputation for reliability and quality production. While Kia used to be known as a budget-friendly car company, its vehicles now compete favorably against legacy brands.
This car is a versatile, all-electric hatchback with a roomy interior and intuitive controls. It has a 64 kWh battery that generates 201 horsepower over its 239 driving range, and the car can smoke past many other EVs with a 6.2-second acceleration to 60-mph.
Also included in the car is a 10.3-inch infotainment touchscreen equipped with built-in navigation, satellite radio, and other features. Though the model wouldn’t be considered luxurious, it includes thoughtful features like an interior climate control system that automatically shuts off when it detects an empty passenger seat, which saves battery in the long run.
Chevrolet Bolt at a glance
- EV Range: 120 MPGe, 259-mile range
- Battery Type: 65 kWh 350 V lithium-ion
- Rated Power: 200 horsepower
- Price: Starts at $31,500
The Chevy Bolt is largely responsible for putting electric cars on the map for the average consumer. Years later, it’s still a stellar pick for a daily use vehicle. This small yet feature-packed all-electric hatchback will travel up to 259 miles, and you can add up to 100 miles to the battery in just a 30-minute charging session.
Though small, the car’s interior comes equipped with comfortable seats and an easy-to-use 10.2-inch infotainment system. You’ll likely be pleasantly surprised how much room there is around the rear seats.
Adding to the car’s reputation for reliability, it comes equipped with industry-leading safety features like forward collision and lane departure warnings. Those who go premium will enjoy a 360-degree camera, blind-spot monitoring, and adaptive cruise control.
Despite its reputation as a commuter car, customer reviews share that the Bolt is a lot of fun to drive, thanks to a torquey, well-balanced build. And beyond the car’s impressive performance, it also earns stellar ratings for reliability. In fact, Consumer Reports awarded it a perfect reliability score of 5/5 from 2017-2020.
Honda Insight at a glance
- EV Range: 500-mile range, 42-mile electric drive range
- Battery Type: lithium-ion battery pack
- Rated Power: 151 horsepower
- Price: Starts at $25,760
Cost-effective and fuel-efficient, the Honda Insight won’t earn many style points, but you can trust this car to get you where you need to go. It’s a plug-in hybrid that’s similar in stature to the Civic Hybrid. The car can make it 54 mpg on electric power alone, matching the more expensive Prius Prime. It offers a smooth and comfortable driving experience, although the interior and cargo space are somewhat limited, and the gas engine gets loud during accelerations.
Even so, the Honda Insight comes equipped with state-of-the-art features like a driver information interface, Walk Away Auto Lock with Smart Entry, and a multi-angle rearview camera. Other high-end safety features include a blind spot information system with a cross-traffic monitor and other forms of driver assistance technology. Just don’t expect quick acceleration, as the combination of a gas engine and the electric motor slows it down to 7.7 seconds to reach 60 mph.
Even so, Consumer Reports has assessed this midsize sedan to be significantly more reliable than the average new car, ensuring you’ll spend your time on the road and not at the mechanics.
Hyundai Kona at a glance
- EV Range: 120 MPGe, 258-mile range
- Battery Type: 64-kWh lithium-ion battery pack
- Rated Power: 201 horsepower
- Price: Starts at $34,000
As a subcompact car, the fully-electric Hyundai Kona is roomy enough for daily use and offers a hatchback for ample storage and easy access. This car doesn’t skimp on performance, as it travels up to 258 miles per charge. Regarding the interior, you’ll get comfy seats and an infotainment system that’s compatible with both Apple and Android systems.
Despite its somewhat scrappy build, the car’s 64 kWh lithium-ion battery provides up to 201 horsepower and 291 lb-ft of torque. Running out of battery isn’t a serious concern, as the vehicle can recharge up to 80 percent in an hour.
The Kona is the winner of the 2019 North American Utility Vehicle of the Year, and it’s long been considered one of the best electric vehicles available for under $50,000. And along with its lack of tailpipe emissions, Hyundai itself is working to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045 through more efficient cars and technology innovations like hydrogen energy.
Safety-wise, this car is equipped with all standard features and many more—including blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alerts, lane following, drive attention warnings, and lane following.
Highlights: Both models of the Nissan LEAF offer a reliable vehicle that gives you the best of what electric power can offer. Keep your expectations realistic; considering the price, don’t expect a luxury vehicle.
Nissan LEAF at a glance
- EV Range: 114 MPGe, 226-mile range
- Battery Type: 40 kWh lithium-ion battery
- Rated Power: 147 to 214 hp (based on engine size)
- Price: Starts at $27,400
Compact and efficient, the Nisson LEAF makes sense for city and highway driving alike. Don’t expect many luxury features at this price point, although the LEAF makes up for its lack of flash with solid performance and reliability.
But even so, this EV employs a push-button start, NissanConnect infotainment screen, automatic temperature control, and a wide range of modern safety features that make driving less precarious.
The amount of power per charge depends on the model: the standard LEAF has a 40-kWh electric motor that’s good for 150 miles, while the PLUS’s 62-kWh engine lets it push through to 226 miles with 250 lb of torque. This makes it mid-tier compared to other EVs, although relatively impressive for the price.
Toyota Prius Prime at a glance
- EV Range: 133 MPGe, 25-mile electric drive range
- Battery Type: 8.8 kWh 352 V lithium-ion
- Rated Power: 121 horsepower
- Price: Starts at $28,220
Now considered a classic in the world of plug-in electric vehicles, the Toyota Prius is still a good bet. The car is known for its fuel efficiency and impressive drive range, as it makes it up to 54 mpg with city/highway driving. Once you use up the car’s electric capacity, it switches to a gas engine, meaning you’ll never be stranded so long as a gas station is nearby. Thanks to a large cargo hold, upscale interior, and robust tech and safety features, it makes for a stellar daily use car.
As the battery is smaller than those in fully electric vehicles, it can charge from empty in just 5.5 hours on a 120-volt household outlet.
Just note that this car isn’t one for showing off from a speed standpoint, as it offers a less-than-impressive acceleration speed. Likewise, the car’s multiple fuel types means there are more internal systems to go wrong. But even so, the Toyota line remains a standout in the industry for its reliability. The Prius Prime itself earns a reliability score of 74 out of 100 from Consumers Reports, making it well above average compared to competitors.
Ford Mustang Mach-E at a glance
- EV Range: 90 MPGe, 247-mile range
- Battery Type: 68 or 88 kWh usable capacity battery
- Rated Power: 266-480 horsepower
- Price: Starts at $43,895
Designed in part as an homage to its sportier cousin, the Mustang, the Mach-E might just be fun enough to convince you you’re driving one. This vehicle started the development process as an electrified Focus, but Ford executives made the pivot to make a car that more resembled the cool factor of a Mustang.
Today, the Mach-E is Ford’s first fully electric vehicle. It’s a five-passenger SUV with AWD that Consumers Reports rates as more reliable than the average car. You’ll get a sporty feel with how it handles acceleration, though the car’s electric motor means it lacks that distinctive gas engine revving. Even so, it can reach 60 mph in an impressive 5.1 seconds.
The car also boasts a large battery pack that gives it close to a 250-mile range per charge, and the large center touchscreen adds an expensive feel. In fact, drivers may find it resembles the Tesla Model Y, Audi e-Tron, and Jaguar I-Pace from a luxury sports car standpoint.
You can charge the Mach-E quickly, adding up to 52 miles of range in just ten minutes with a DC fast charger, or charge it from 10 to 80% full in under 45 minutes. But unlike these vehicles, the Mach E has a reputation for durability and reliability.
- Ford Mustang Mach E - 379 miles. ...
- BMW i4 eDrive 40 - 365 miles. ...
- Tesla Model 3 Long Range - 374 miles. ...
- Tesla Model X Dual Motor All-Wheel Drive - 348 miles. ...
- Volkswagen ID 3 Tour Pro S - 338 miles. ...
- Polestar 2 Long Range Single Motor - 341 miles. ...
- Skoda Enyaq iV 80 - 338 miles.
If an EV is in your price range, and range isn't going to be a problem based on typical journeys, getting an electric car is a great idea. Not only is it cheaper to run, but it's also eco-friendly, usually nippy – and a way to futureproof your transport solution for years to come.Which EV is best value for money? ›
- 2023 Chevrolet Bolt EV. Best affordable EV overall. ...
- 2023 Nissan Leaf. Most affordable electric car. ...
- 2023 BMW 330e. Best performance from an affordable EV. ...
- 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning. Best electric truck on a budget. ...
- 2022 Volvo S60.
EV owners have experienced chronic problems with the display screens, exterior door lights, failing temperature sensors, mismatched paint, and seals and weatherstripping. It's not just that these problems occur, but that they occur at a higher rate than with conventional vehicles.What is the lifespan of an electric car? ›
The hundreds of gently topped-up cells inside an EV battery mean that each battery pack is expected to retain its charging-discharging capacity from 100,000 to 200,000 miles. Manufacturers are so confident of the battery's road use that most electric cars come with an extended warranty of eight years, or 100,000 miles.Which EV has best battery life? ›
What is the most powerful EV battery? The most powerful EV battery currently available is the Tesla Model S, which has a range of up to 370 miles on a single charge. Other popular EVs such as the BMW i3 and Nissan Leaf offer between 124 and 168 miles on a full charge.How much is a battery for an electric car? ›
Depending on the vehicle, a battery will cost between $3,000 and $18,000 for an electric car. Here are the costs of a battery replacement for some popular electric vehicles (EVs):Are electric vehicles more expensive to insure? ›
Generally, electric cars are more costly to insure than conventional vehicles. Because electric vehicles are pricier to both buy and repair, insurance providers charge their drivers more for coverage. That said, the savings you earn on gas and tax incentives might more than make up for your policy's extra cost.What stops buying electric cars? ›
“In a recent survey, we found that the upfront cost of buying an EV is the biggest barrier preventing drivers from considering an electric vehicle – and this latest energy price rise could further prevent people from making the switch.”Are electric cars worth it for low mileage? ›
An electric car makes for a great commuter vehicle. If you only travel a few miles to and from work an EV will suit you down to the ground. You'll save a fortune on fuel, and the lower range won't even matter. In fact, if you commute a total of 30-40 miles a day, you'll probably only have to charge up once a week.
This growing interest in electric vehicles has led to advancements in available financing, including green auto loans and tax credits. This expanded market is one of the primary reasons to now consider purchasing an EV just as you would with a traditional car.What is the disadvantages of electric cars? ›
These disadvantages include finding charging stations, charging times, higher initial costs, limited driving range, and battery packs can be expensive to replace.How long do Tesla batteries last? ›
According to Elon Musk on Twitter, Tesla car batteries are supposed to technically last for 300,000 to 500,000 miles, which is 1,500 battery cycles. That's between 22 and 37 years for the average car driver, who, according to the Department of Transportation, drives about 13,500 miles per year.Do electric cars use oil? ›
Electric vehicles are powered by a battery and an EV engine with an electric motor. There are no pistons, valves, or other moving parts that require lubrication, and therefore, EVs don't use the traditional engine oil that would help maintain those parts.How well do electric cars work in cold weather? ›
According to AAA's “Cold Weather Can Cut Electric Car Range by Over 40%”, EVs often lose 12% of their range in cold weather, but the loss leaps to 41% with the heater on full blast.What are 3 disadvantages of electric cars? ›
- The range of an electric car depends on its battery. ...
- Recharge Points. ...
- Battery repairs or replacement can be expensive. ...
- EVs cause pollution and e-waste. ...
- Low number of electric cars available to choose from. ...
- Reduction in government grants. ...
- Missing out on the driving experience.
Reality check: Most electric vehicles experience some loss of driving range in cold weather. In Norway — where half of all new cars are plug-ins — tests show that EVs lose about 20% of their driving range and take longer to charge in cold temperatures, according to the Norwegian Automobile Federation.How often do electric cars need to be serviced? ›
EVs do require a twice-a-year service check for the vehicle system and tire rotations. These help maintain optimal battery performance and the EV's longevity. EVs in operation for longer than 8 to 10 years and after the manufacturer warranty expires will probably also need a battery replacement at some point.Do electric cars need servicing? ›
An electric car needs to be serviced as often as any car. The service will include: Tyre wear and tear & tyre pressure check. Windscreen wiper replacement.What happens if my electric car runs out of battery? ›
Reviewed by Shannon Martin, Licensed Insurance Agent. If you're driving an electric car and it runs out of power, the short and simple answer is this: the car will stop—and you'll need to call roadside assistance to get towed to the nearest charging station.
Electric cars can handle extended periods of inactivity very well, even better than combustion-powered engines, in fact, whose 12V batteries can lose charge, and whose fluids and radiator hoses can become damaged.Is it safe to drive an EV during rains? ›
An EV is as safe in the rain as any petrol/diesel vehicle. It has the same kind of sealing as those vehicles and the only difference between those cars and EVs is that the latter run on batteries instead of engines.Do electric cars lose range over time? ›
With each charge cycle, lithium-ion battery packs lose a fraction of their total capacity. As time goes on, these small hits to the pack's maximum capacity take a toll on the overall driving range of an EV.Do electric cars charge while driving? ›
Do electric cars recharge while driving? The short answer is no they do not charge while driving. Technology has advanced immensely over the years, but it's not yet in a place where electric vehicles can charge while driving.Can you still drive gas cars after 2035? ›
Motorists can continue driving gas-fueled vehicles that were bought before the 2035 deadline and will be allowed to purchase used gas-powered vehicles after the rules take effect. Here's a look at states that have made steps to adopt California's zero-emission vehicle standards or similar policies.How much does it cost to replace a Tesla battery? ›
Tesla battery replacement cost varies depending on the labor and parts needed. Typically, the most basic battery replacement in tesla costs between $13,000 and $14,000. For the Model S premium sedan, replacing a Tesla battery costs around $13,000-$20,000.Are electric cars expensive to repair? ›
According to a recent study from CCC Intelligent Solutions Inc., for example, based on actual insurance claims for small, non-luxury-brand cars with front-end damage that were still driveable, the average EV model cost $4,041 to fix. That was about 27% more than the average for roughly comparable non-EV models.How long does it take to charge an electric car? ›
Summary. The time it takes to charge an electric car can be as little as 30 minutes or more than 12 hours. This depends on the size of the battery and the speed of the charging point. A typical electric car (60kWh battery) takes just under 8 hours to charge from empty-to-full with a 7kW charging point.Why is insurance on a Tesla so high? ›
Tesla cars are expensive to insure because they are expensive to buy and repair. Teslas have especially high collision coverage costs due to their high repair and maintenance costs, which are more expensive than other luxury vehicles or EVs. Teslas can only be repaired at Tesla-approved body repair shops.What will happen to oil companies when cars go electric? ›
The growth of EVs (electric vehicles) affects the oil and gas industry in an obvious way. Less gasoline for internal combustion engines means less crude oil refined into gasoline or diesel. President Biden's goal is 50% of new car sales to be EV's by 2030.
Consumers can't service or repair their EVs
EVs need regular maintenance, maybe not as much as gasoline-powered vehicles, but they also need maintenance and repairs. You can't perform this maintenance in your driveway because of the technology involved, which means taking your EV to the shop every time.
As America continues to lean into the idea of electric, AAA did find some hesitation, with top objections like range anxiety, cost and accessibility holding consumers back, including: Higher purchase price – 60% Concern there are not enough places to charge – 60% Concern about running out of charge when driving – 58%Is a hybrid better than electric? ›
The primary benefit is range. While an electric vehicle can only travel as far as its batteries allow, plug-in hybrids also have a gasoline engine and an electric powertrain. The result is that plug-in drivers get the best of both worlds.How many miles do you need to do to make an electric car worthwhile? ›
Common EV questions
Deciding whether or not an electric car is right for comes down to the sort of driving you'll use it for. If you cover no more than 250 miles per day and have easy access to a charging point at home or work, then the answer is an EV is ideal for you.
Used electric vehicle rebate.
Anyone considering a used electric car under $25,000 could obtain a new $4,000 tax credit, subject to income and other limits. To qualify, used cars must be two model years old. The vehicle also must be purchased at a dealership. The vehicle also only qualifies once in its lifetime.
Chevy's Bolt is the most affordable EV on the market and a great deal for the price. A roomy interior, smooth ride, and long battery range offer a solid bang for your buck. The Bolt offers a 259-mile driving range on a single charge and can be fully recharged in 7 hours with a standard, Level 2, 240-volt home charger.Is EV charging cheaper than gas? ›
Charging an EV at home is significantly less expensive than fueling up with gasoline, and it's also drastically cheaper than using a public charging station.How much does it cost to charge an electric car vs gas? ›
In general, charging an EV is approximately 3.5 times cheaper per mile than the cost of fueling a gas-powered car. Based on driving a compact sedan, you will pay approximately $0.04 per mile to charge your EV compared to $0.14 to fuel your gas-powered car.How reliable are Tesla's? ›
Green cars are fashionable—but Tesla vehicles are notoriously not reliable. According to J.D. Power, Tesla has an average of 176 mechanical faults per 100 vehicles, as compared to 121 mechanical faults across the industry. In 2021, J.D. Power also ranked Tesla 30th out of 33 brands in a Vehicle Dependability Survey.What is the disadvantages of electric cars? ›
These disadvantages include finding charging stations, charging times, higher initial costs, limited driving range, and battery packs can be expensive to replace.
Based on 2021 reliability marks, the Tesla Model 3 is clearly the most reliable vehicle of the bunch. If you're looking for an EV that's as reliable as it is efficient, there are a variety of other electric car brands to choose from whose reliability rankings may be more consistent.Do electric cars break down less? ›
Electric cars are overall less likely to break down compared to gas-powered cars because they are less mechanically complex. With an electric car you won't need to: Perform fluid changes such as engine oil. Replace brakes as often due to regenerative braking.What is the downside of owning a Tesla? ›
Later down the road, you may also have to replace the battery, which can cost up to $16,000. However, Tesla batteries come with an eight year/150,000-mile warranty. With these high repair costs come potentially high insurance premiums.Will a Tesla last 20 years? ›
According to Tesla, the Model 3 can last up to 1500 charges, which means it can outlive Model S and Model X with only 20 percent battery degradation in 25 years of driving.What's the life expectancy of a Tesla? ›
Tesla is the pioneer of technology and innovation with its battery longevity ranging between 300,000 to 500,000 miles.How well do electric cars work in cold weather? ›
According to AAA's “Cold Weather Can Cut Electric Car Range by Over 40%”, EVs often lose 12% of their range in cold weather, but the loss leaps to 41% with the heater on full blast.Is car insurance more expensive for electric cars? ›
Generally, electric cars are more costly to insure than conventional vehicles. Because electric vehicles are pricier to both buy and repair, insurance providers charge their drivers more for coverage. That said, the savings you earn on gas and tax incentives might more than make up for your policy's extra cost.Why are people against electric cars? ›
Common Reasons Drivers May Avoid EVs
The most common reasons drivers avoid EVs include fear the battery will run out of charge before reaching their destination, also known as “range anxiety,” fear of too few charging stations, long charge times, and initial higher upfront vehicle costs.
No, the engine in a Tesla will be much more reliable than that in an ICE Toyota/Honda. However that is not because Tesla is better than Toyota or Honda, it is because electric motors are far simpler, lack reciprocating masses and don't have friction fit moving surfaces. Will Tesla be better than Honda in the future?Does Consumer Reports recommend Tesla? ›
The 2022 Tesla Model 3 was the only one of the automaker's vehicles to earn the Consumer Reports recommendation. It earned an overall score of 79 out of 100. It earned a solid 82/100 on the road test, a 5/5 predicted owner satisfaction rating, and a 3/5 predicted reliability rating.
Do Teslas need a lot of maintenance? No, Teslas don't need much maintenance compared to standard vehicles. Tesla vehicles have fewer moving parts, and you don't have to do regular fluid changes or deal with a combustion engine.How much is a battery cost for an electric car? ›
Experts say electric vehicle batteries typically cost between $2,000 and $10,000 to replace, but some are more expensive. Electric vehicles are growing in popularity worldwide, with sales doubling in 2021 to a new record of 6.6 million, the International Energy Agency said in May.Are electric cars cheaper to insure? ›
Electric cars tend to cost more to insure than a comparable petrol or diesel. That's because they have large batteries that are expensive to replace if the car is damaged.Will gas prices go down with more electric cars? ›
A growing number of electric cars on the road may increase the cost of gas higher since it may push some oil companies out of business. A commonly known business principle is that when there is a low supply and high demand the prices can be higher.