Electric Vehicle Reliability

Discussion in 'General' started by Domenick, Oct 23, 2017.

  1. Domenick

    Domenick Administrator Staff Member

    Chevy Bolt Is Chevrolet’s Most Reliable Vehicle

    Consumer Reports is out with its latest car reliability study, which gives us a chance to visit the oft-repeated statement that electric vehicles are more reliable than their internal combustion counterparts.

    Here, in the case of the Chevy Bolt, we find this to be true. Though the Chevy brand only ranked 18th in reliability overall, its Bolt was its most reliable model (the Camaro was its least). That's great new for Bolt buyers.

    Not so great are the electric reliability marks for other marques. BMW's i3 got ranked its least reliable model. BMW was 5th overall, so reliability is strong across the brand, with its 2 series taking the lead. Taking that into consideration, the i3 probably is pretty good when compared with models from other brands, but it's a little weak within it.

    (From what I've read, though, the i3 seems to be pretty well for owners. There have been some problems, expected when you have a new vehicle, constructed in a new way with new materials -- the i3 has a carbon-fiber body shell -- but since the motor mount issue has been dealt with, it seems solid for most owners.)

    Which brings us to the Tesla Model X. Ranking a lowly 21st place overall -- actually up 4 places -- with only two models the X has been notorious for issues with its falcon wind doors. Especially early on.

    Ultimately, Elon believes in the power of engineering, so while he's unlikely to put these doors on the upcoming Model Y crossover, the X's of the future will probably have them. Hopefully more reliably engineered ones.

    Anyway that's three of top EV brands. The Leaf is neither the most or least reliable Nissan.

    All that to say, it's probably wise to take proclamations of EV reliability with a grain of salt. Yeah, they have a lot fewer moving parts, but the components and software they lean on don't have the century of development that internal combustion vehicles do. Also, as we see with the Model X, problems aside from drivetrain can arise when new companies get into the game and try novel approaches to various aspects of automobiles.
     
  2. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    Sadly, that's not the case here at all. Consumer Reports has apparently abandoned its tradition of reliability reports based on actual consumer surveys, and is now giving forecasts -- no better than guesses -- about what a car's reliability is going to turn out to be.

    CR sends out surveys to car owners on a yearly basis. We'll have to wait a few more months before even the earliest buyers can report on a year's experience driving a Bolt EV.

    Shame on CR for shooting its reputation in the foot, repeatedly, with the way it's covering Tesla cars and now the Bolt EV. CR appears to be more interested in riding the coat-tails of popularity of these new EVs, plus creating confusion and controversy with the way it repeatedly -- and apparently arbitrarily -- raises and lowers its ratings for the Model S and Model X. Coverage in such an inconsistent and controversial manner is most definitely not how CR established its reputation. Seems those currently in charge of the magazine are more willing to increase circulation at the expense of CR's reputation. How long is that business strategy going to last?

    Well, it worked for the National Enquirer... :rolleyes:
     
  3. Domenick

    Domenick Administrator Staff Member

    A lot of Tesla owners are very happy with their cars and have zero problems. Others are not so lucky, as we see in the video below of a guy with a lot of minor quality issues. Of course, if you shell out $100,000 for a car, ideally there would not be any issues. If there are, you probably won't be happy about them.

    This is one area Tesla really has to get better at. The quality bar needs to be raised. Maybe they're as good or better than a lot of companies, but if they want to hold onto their first-mover advantage, they have to produce better cars than their competitors. Now, maybe some Mercedes customers have these sorts of issues too. That doesn't matter. Mercedes is an old, well-trusted company, while Tesla is new and very much in the spotlight. Videos like this pop up and they get the attention of short sellers eager to move $TSLA share price, or writers who, for whatever reason, have it in for Tesla. They take this negative signal and amplify it out of proportion.

    But enough of me and my stupid opinions....roll tape!

     
  4. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    I've never owned a car as expensive as a Mercedes or a Tesla Model S/X. But what I read from a lot of people posting to the Tesla Motors Club forum is that more expensive cars generally have more issues with things going wrong, and higher maintenance expenses. Cheaper cars have fewer things on/in them which can go wrong. There have also been a lot of people posting to that forum who claim that the annual maintenance expense for Tesla cars is significantly lower than for cars of comparable price which they have owned in the past.

    Of course, there are always going to be exceptions, no matter what car you own. States don't have "lemon laws" without needing them.

    Consumer Reports nitpicks about Tesla's cars, in what appears to be a very unnecessary and almost obsessive fashion. The worst was when CR actually moved the Model S from "recommended" to "not recommended" just because Tesla delayed its promised OTR update of the ABS (Automatic Breaking System). I mean, seriously? How many people would change their decision to buy a car just because they would have to wait for a few weeks before the ABS started working?

    I also "ding" CR for comparing Tesla's cars to all the cars it reviews, without noting the very real fact that more expensive cars in general tend to need more maintenance. Comparing a Model S to a Honda Accord... well, yeah, the MS is probably gonna require more maintenance, and yeah, the Accord is a more reliable car. But maybe, just maybe, if the Accord had as many whiz-bang features and hi-tech doohickeys on it as the Model S does, then it wouldn't be so reliable! Duh! Yet Consumer Reports completely ignores this reality.

    Let us keep one thing in mind: For all its contradictory, alternately praising and then dis-recommending of Tesla cars, CR has never changed one thing: Tesla consistently tops CR's own customer satisfaction surveys, year after year. It seems those who buy Tesla cars are, in general, very happy with them. That doesn't mean nobody is unhappy; as I said, lemons happen, even occasionally to Tesla. But I find it ridiculous that CR would give a "not recommended" rating to cars which get consistently higher customer satisfaction ratings than cars from any other auto maker! Obviously actual Tesla owners do not, in general, mind all that much occasionally having to take the car in for service... or having a Tesla tech come and pick up the car, and drop it off when it has been serviced. (That perk is one of many reasons why Tesla has such a high customer satisfaction rating!)

    * * * * *

    Now, all that said, I do agree with Domenick on this: Tesla does need to improve the reliability of its cars. Tesla has come a long way on that over the past few years, but they need to keep improving it.
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2017
  5. Counterpoint

    Counterpoint New Member

    I put a lot of faith into True Delta, which is essentially a crowdsourced car information platform. They list reliability as number of repair trips (not counting regular maintenance) per 100 cars per year, as reported by their members. According to their ratings, the Tesla Model X has off-the-charts bad reliability, and the Model S is very unreliable too. BMW i3 reliability is between fair and poor. On the flip side, the Chevy Volt has good reliability (no Bolt info yet) and the Nissan Leaf has exceptionally good reliability. So it seems that some electric (and plug-in hybrid) vehicles are inded more reliable and some are worse.

    As I'm a Tesla fan, I hope they improve their reliability as the company becomes more established. Given their capacity for over-the-air updates and the importance of software in the cars, this seems entirely possible. However, they also can use that system to take away features, which is why Consumer Reports downgraded the Model S (until the features were re-enabled).
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2017

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