EVs struggle with reliability due to charging, battery issues - Consumer Reports survey

FILE PHOTO: Electric vehicle Circutor chargers are pictured in a supermarket parking lot in Teia, north of Barcelona, Spain, October 31, 2023. REUTERS/Albert Gea/File Photo

(Reuters) - Electric vehicles continue to grapple with poor reliability due to charging and battery issues, a survey by an influential U.S. non-profit organization showed on Wednesday, even as consumers are buying them at a breakneck pace.

On average, new EVs had 79% more problems than gasoline-powered vehicles, Consumer Reports' 2023 Annual Auto Reliability survey showed. Hybrid vehicles had fewer issues than gasoline ones, while plug-in hybrids had 146% more problems.

Electric pickups were found to be the least reliable while compact cars, sports cars and small pickups were among the most reliable in a ranking of 19 categories.

"For the legacy automakers, (EVs) are really new technologies, so they don't have a lot of experience with batteries, charging and motors." Jake Fisher, senior director of Auto Testing at Consumer Reports, said in an interview with Reuters.

Fisher advised consumers to lease EVs as their technology was still evolving in North America.

The survey ranked Tesla at 14th place on issues related to its body hardware, paint and trim, and climate system used in its battery-powered vehicles.

But the Elon Musk-led EV maker was the second best among U.S. automakers, behind General Motors' Buick, as per brand rankings released on the basis of vehicle reliability.

There were fewer problems when it came to Tesla's motor, charging technology and battery, the report said.

Mercedes-Benz and Stellantis' Chrysler brands were ranked 29th and 30th, respectively.

Asian carmakers dominated the top-10 places with Lexus ranking first and Toyota second.

Consumer Reports survey covers 20 problem areas including engine, electric motors, transmission and in-car electronics. The organization gathered data on more than 330,000 vehicles from the 2000 to 2023 model years, with a few newly introduced 2024 models.

"Even with monumental shifts in the auto marketplace, what matters most to consumers remains the same: finding safe, reliable cars," said Marta Tellado, President and CEO of Consumer Reports.

(Reporting by Nathan Gomes in Bengaluru; Editing by Shweta Agarwal)

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