If you have been following trends in the automotive industry, you may have noticed the insurgence of electric cars, also known as electric vehicles (EVs). For the past decade, we have seen car manufacturers introduce their EV model with confidence to the world. Electric motors are both a useful and environmentally friendly concept, but does that alone make it reliable? We will examine the top 5 most reliable electric cars from 2019 and explain what makes up electric car reliability ratings.
An Introduction to Electric Cars
Electric cars have been around since the early 1900s, albeit not massed produced. They were actually preferred over steam or gas powered vehicles. Then during the 1920s, the dominance was the gasoline internal combustion engine which is still very popular on the road today. One of the concerns of these gasoline-powered engines is the carbon footprint from burning fossil fuel through emissions.
Electric vehicles require an electric charge from an electric grid source, such as a utility company. Even if it is from a power plant, coined "dirty electricity," the collective impact of the carbon footprint is still less than using gasoline engines. Also of concern for gasoline powered engines is the maintenance and upkeep of so many parts. It seems something always needs to be filled or replaced. The beauty of electric vehicles is the streamlined, simplistic engineering of rechargeable batteries, electric motor, the controller and the electronics. They look stylishly modern and futuristic in many regards.
As top California, USA-based luxury electric car maker and now leader in the industry, Tesla is dedicated to changing the status quo about how we view electric vehicles and why it is important to make the switch from fossil fuels to electric vehicles. Its CEO and cofounder Elon Musk recently stated that he wants to save the world environmentally by using sustainable transportation, such as the electric vehicles his company engineers at Tesla.
Public persona is shifting to hybrid and electric vehicles with many other car companies following suit with their debut electric models. But the predominant concern still exists. Is this form of transportation reliable? We have created a car reliability ratings system to put our top 5 most reliable electric cars from 2018 to the test.
About Electric Car Reliability Ratings
Electric Vehicle Motor and Maintenance
According to Consumer Reports, electric vehicles' "reliability has been stellar thus far." They are less complex mechanically than gasoline-powered cars. An automatic transmission has as many as 10 single forward gears compared to a single forward gear in an electric transmission. An electric vehicle has some maintenance but not nearly as much as a conventional gasoline automobile with constant maintenance for dozens of parts needing to be changed. Swapping spark plugs, drive belts and pumps for a battery-run motor still has some reliability concerns, though, such as the driving range performance and battery degradation.
Electric Vehicle Batteries
While a gasoline-powered automobile can drive upwards of around 300+ miles on one tank of gas, the electric vehicle range varies. It can be as low as 100 miles or more which makes the going the distance reliability in need of improvement even if there are electric vehicles that can surpass the gasoline automobile range. Consumer Reports has set the standard for the battery to be 200 miles per charge for electric vehicles on the market. It also all depends on the battery life and how long they will last.
Battery packs are prone to degradation and swapping them out for a new one can be extremely costly (in the thousands of dollars). However, automakers have federal battery standards to adhere to such as guaranteeing electric vehicle batteries last for 100,000 miles or at least 8 years. Consumer Reports says that electric vehicles have long term reliability if adhering to proper maintenance and if that's the case "any EV can easily keep running for 200,000 miles or more."
A lot of the basis of Consumer Reports and J.D. Power ratings and reviews stem from electric vehicle owner-survey feedback. Unfortunately, a hindrance is a lack of consumer reviews and such small sale numbers that not enough data is collected because an electric vehicle is not sold nationwide.
Top 5 Most Reliable Electric Cars in 2019
We have compiled a list of the top 5 car reliability ratings for 2018. Let's look into the ratings behind each of these electric vehicles and see which one fared better or worse!
Since its introduction in 2010, the Nissan Leaf has been a pioneer for affordable electric vehicles. Consumer Reports has rated its models "the most reliable EV of the decade rated above average" with a reliability rating of 4/5. J.D. Power gave the Nissan Leaf an average rating of 3/5. The battery charge range for the 2018-19 Nissan Leaf is 152 miles which lowered the road test performance because it did not live up to the Consumer Reports 200 miles per battery charge standard.
A year-old model from 2017 had reports from owners of problems with the in-car electronics. Otherwise, this is a fairly and consistently well rated.
Since it debuted in 2014, the BMW i3 and BMW i3 REX started with an average reliability rating and has consistently improved to earn the highest score yet of 89% from Consumer Reports. Now ranked among the elite, the BMW i3 and BMW i3 REX has been mechanically sound---and the interior problem-free---according to owner surveys. The new 2019 BMW i3 model has a range of 153 miles per battery charge which falls short of Consumer Report's requirement of 200 miles or better battery charge.
That is where the BMW i3 REX comes in; it is the range extender version that has a small gasoline engine making it a plug-in hybrid vehicle with a range of over 200 miles. The high reliability score from Consumer Reports places it among the best.
Since the Toyota Prius Prime debut in 2017, there haven't been any reported problems from owners of this electric mode and hybrid system vehicle. Consumer Reports gave the Toyota Prius Prime a superior 91% score, landing the car a stellar ranking of number 3 amongst all vehicles and number 1 amongst plug-ins. It is exceedingly reliable due to the fuel economy of 133 miles per battery charge and 54+ miles per gallon.
You can drive in electric mode until you reach the 25 mile rang then switch to the hybrid system which leads to a combined fuel economy range of 640 total miles. Charging the battery is efficient and reliable, too, with charging at the comfort of your home's standard outlets. The Toyota Prius Prime is called "the most practical plug-in vehicle on the market" for a reason.
Since its introduction in 2012, the sleek and luxurious Tesla Model S has proved its reliability with consistent owner surveys and Consumer Reports rating the electric vehicle 4/5 for the past six years. As Tesla's best seller, the Model S earned an above average rating for reliability across the board (including the large interior tablet and complex electronics and software).
The Reliability Report is out for 2019 from Consumer Reports, and the Tesla Model S, once the choice of leading electric vehicles, has been downgraded without recommendation because of "a decline in reliability involving the Model S suspension system." Tesla has identified and fixed the problem but only after the owner surveys and reliability ratings were conducted by Consumer Reports. The Tesla Model S has been on the road for many years proving its long-term reliability and is still highly sought after with a somewhat enthusiastic and exclusive fan base.
Debuting in 2017, the Chevrolet Bolt EV is a relatively new electric vehicle following in the path of the Chevrolet Volt, its predecessor. It also happens to be Chevrolet's top-rated vehicle. Consumer Reports gave it a high reliability rating at 4/5 which is unusual for a newer model. The basis for the high reliability score is the impressive mechanics, however, what scored below average is the electric car's interior electronics. J.D. Power issued the Chevrolet Bolt EV an average 3/5 rating for reliability.
Once Chevrolet improves the in-car electronics, it will be ranked as a highly reliable electric vehicle.
An electric car reliability ratings show how owners of electric vehicles are satisfied with the performance, quality, and value of their electric vehicle. Electric car reliability ratings give other owners or interested buyers insight into how long an electric vehicle will hold up and whether it will require repairs for problems causing personal and financial inconvenience. It is important to research electric car reliability ratings because it will provide an indicator which make and model of electric vehicles is best for long-term investment. Reliability is also crucial to a car's reputation, especially when it comes to resale value and buyer demand.
Electric vehicles such as the top 5 we have provided insightful car reliability ratings for are paving the way for a new world, one with efficiency, quality in design, futuristic looks and environmental friendliness. The Toyota Prius Prime is our top pick for both reliability, practicality and affordability with the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Bolt EV following closely behind. The top luxury electric vehicle is the BMW i3 (REX) for its stylish looks, impeccable reliability, and affordability. The Tesla Model S follows behind due to its exclusivity and some mechanical issues. But we still love Musk's vision that the automobile industry is indeed saving the world and the environment, one electric vehicle at a time.
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Last update on 2021-10-26 at 13:26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API