A recently concluded study in the United States conducted by Consumer Reports has found that despite their cutting-edge technology and connected everything; Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) may not be as problem-free as manufacturers might have us believe.
The survey, conducted with 329,000 EV owners in the United States found that quite a few of the latest generation BEVs are not spared from warranty claims and component failures; much like their conventionally powered counterparts.
A key premise and selling point of BEVs is their inherent simplicity (and therefore robustness); with far fewer moving parts (no engine), and virtually nothing externally that cause premature damage (like dirty fuel and air) – BEVs are understood to be able to soldier on with all the predictability of an iPhone.
However, this latest study finds that despite the simplicity, even BEVs are not spared from the growing pains of a fast-moving tech race with the need for mass production to keep costs low, and supply chains operating at full steam.
Though the same organisation has reported, that BEVs cost far less to maintain than conventionally powered vehicles, a few current models are more prone than others to premature problems.
Three have been singled out, the Kia Niro EV, Audi E-Tron, and Tesla Model Y. The Niro EV reportedly suffers from premature electric-motor bearing failure, the Audi on the other hand, encounters "drive-system electrical failures along with other power-equipment issues”, while the Model Y has been plagued with poor build quality, in particular, misaligned body panels and below-par paint quality (admittedly, this is not a drivetrain problem).
Note, however, that the BEVs in question are also sold in other markets such as Europe and China, therefore these issues may or may not just be limited to cars sold in the US.
The same report finds that older BEVs such as the Chevrolet Bolt and Nissan Leaf fare better. Consumer Reports has since removed the Kia and Audi from its recommended list of BEVs, the Model Y remains, Consumer Reports also notes that battery and drivetrains are also rare points of failures for most BEVs.
Especially in the case of the Porsche Taycan, even US-based Autoblog commented that downgrading of the Taycan’s reliability rating seems a bit of a harsh decision, considering Porsches generally score well in Consumer Reports’ reliability studies.