New electric cars may be less reliable than petrol and diesel models, survey suggests

New electric cars may be less reliable than petrol and diesel models, according to a survey.

A poll by consumer group Which? found that 31% of electric car owners reported a problem with their vehicle in its first four years.

That compared with 19% of people with petrol cars, and 29% with diesel cars.

The survey also found that faulty electric vehicles spend longer off the road – five days, compared with just three and four days for petrol and diesel cars respectively.

The survey appears to contradict the common perception that electric vehicles are more reliable than petrol or diesel cars because they have fewer moving parts.


But the most common faults with electric vehicles, according to the drivers surveyed, were software issues, not motor or battery problems.

The survey showed that the most reliable cars of any fuel type were full hybrids, which have a battery that is recharged from the main combustion engine.

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Electric vehicles are becoming increasingly popular, especially since the government announced that the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans will be banned in the UK from 2030.

Plug-in vehicles accounted for more than one in every six new cars registered in the UK last year, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

Which? home products and services editor Lisa Barber said there is a “significant opportunity” for car manufacturers to “up their game” and provide drivers with more reliable cars.

She added: “We know that drivers are keen to make the move to more environmentally-friendly cars but it is vital that they are getting a quality product.

“With EVs in particular, our research shows a premium price tag does not necessarily mean a reliable vehicle, so we would always encourage drivers to do their research ahead of such a significant purchase to see which cars and brands they can trust.”

More than 48,000 people told Which? about the nearly 57,000 cars they own and drive. This number included 2,184 electric vehicles.