Reliability is one of the most important things to consider when purchasing a vehicle. If you’ve ever considered buying an electric car, you may have wondered how these cars compare to a standard internal combustion vehicle in terms of reliability. How do they stack up?
Are electric cars reliable? Electric cars are extremely reliable. They have fewer moving parts which means there is a lot less that can wear down or break in comparison to regular internal combustion vehicles. In addition, electric cars have some of the highest reliability scores of all vehicles.
Obviously, this will vary from model to model but for the most part, electric cars are very reliable. While the technology behind these cars is still relatively new and ever evolving, the design is much simpler. Most of the reliability fears that exist around electric cars come from a lack of understanding of how they work. Let’s dive a little deeper into how these cars compare to normal internal combustion cars when it comes to reliability.
Reliability Of Electric Cars Vs. Gas Cars
In the world of internal combustion vehicles, there are certain names that are associated with reliability. For example, pretty much no matter who you talk to, they’ll tell you that Toyotas will run forever. That is because Toyota has worked hard to establish its platform around long-lasting and cheap to maintain vehicles. Now as a result, when many people go looking for a reliable vehicle, they immediately think of Toyota.
There are also specific models of vehicles that are known to be insanely reliable. One great example of this is the 5.9L twelve valve Cummins engine that was found in many Dodge trucks in the 90s. This engine in particular is known for being almost bulletproof. Even while being used as a work truck regularly, many of these trucks have made it over a million miles. That engine now goes down in history as extremely reliable.
So, when it comes to electric vehicles, people are interested in the very same things. How long will this car last me? Will it break down often? Will it be expensive to repair? Is it cheap and easy to maintain? As the electric car market has only really taken off as of recently, there is definitely cause for concern. Manufacturers are always developing new technologies and many startups are setting up manufacturing processes for the first time. As such, you may wonder if the quality of these cars is good enough to make them reliable.
As with gas cars, this varies from model to model and manufacturer to manufacturer. Electric cars have their own “Toyotas”, and they have their own lemons. First off, let’s dive into the pros of electric cars across the board.
One of the major bonuses of electric cars, is that they are actually far simpler than internal combustion engines. There are way fewer moving parts. As a results, there is a lot less that can wear out over time or even break. This means, there’s less to worry about while driving around. The strange noises, knocks, and other signs that come from wear with an internal combustion engine are much less likely to surface on an electric car. While there still are components that can break, they are far less complex and there are far fewer of them.
Another big perk is that electric cars in general require far less maintenance. There is no longer a need for things like motor oil which means that’s one less thing that you have to worry about. While electric cars still require maintenance, there is far less of it. This helps keep the cost of ownership and maintenance much lower.
On top of the standard maintenance of a vehicle, electric cars also have much less wear on the brakes. This is due to the regenerative systems on the vehicle that will take the kinetic energy from the motion of the vehicle and transform it into stored electricity. This means that when coming to a stop, your brakes don’t have to do all of the work. The regenerative system is doing a lot of the stopping. As such, your brakes last a lot longer. This also reduces the cost of ownership and maintenance.
When it comes to internal combustion cars, they function on entirely different principles. They obviously have a lot more moving parts that all require proper lubrication. As such, wear becomes much more of a concern. There are a lot more parts that can break and cause your car to break down. This also means that there is more maintenance, and it costs more to maintain and own the vehicle.
One of the huge upsides to internal combustion vehicles is their history. The internal combustion engine has been around for a super long time. While the technologies used in this engine have improved and changed over time, the concept has been around for a very long time. Additionally, the manufacturers that have been making these cars have been doing so for a very long time.
They have dialed in their manufacturing processes extremely well and generally have excellent quality control. This means that you can trust that the cars they are making will be, for the most part, consistent. Distances, gaps, and welds will all be pretty much the same from vehicle to vehicle. This helps improve reliability by removing a lot of defects from ever making it to the road.
Reliability Issues Of First Generation Electric Cars
As with anything, the first generation of electric cars was plagued with problems. This is for a variety of reasons. First of all, companies were unfamiliar with both the technology behind electric cars and also the requirements for manufacturing them. This can cause quite a few different reliability issues in cars.
It’s important that we recognize how impressive modern automotive manufacturing is. These modern facilities build extremely advanced and complex systems quickly and with minimal defects. On any model of car, all sizes, fitment, and performance are almost identical. You can buy a car knowing that this Toyota Camry will be pretty much the same as that Toyota Camry.
This is the result of decades of manufacturing improvements. This has allowed automakers to really dial in their manufacturing processes and also their quality control. As a result, you don’t have to worry too much about manufacturing quality. Obviously, cars still get recalled, but that generally isn’t a result of the manufacturing itself.
When it comes to electric cars, there are a lot of differences. Obviously, there are very different components on play and they need different equipment or skills in order to be installed. On top of that, a lot of new companies have started building their own electric cars. Tesla is a prime example of this. Now, Tesla is the name that comes to mind when thinking of electric cars. When they started, they began like most automotive companies.
This means that manufacturing was still a work in progress. As a result, their consistency from model to model was not great. If you parked two of the same Tesla’s side by side, there would be noticeable differences. The ways that the doors fit would be different, if you looked at the welds, they would be different sizes and in different locations, bolt placements were not the same, etc.
This is just a result of Tesla still being new to the manufacturing world. Whereas most of the big car companies we know have been doing this for decades. Tesla was and is still learning and every year and every new models that come out continue to improve their technology.
Today, the quality of a Tesla is fantastic, as you would expect. You can buy one and not worry about it’s build or it’s reliability. As with anything new, the first generation of electric cars experienced it’s struggles. As we are now long past those days, there is now little need to worry about second, third, or fourth generation electric cars.
What Attributes Make An Electric Car Reliable?
So, what exactly makes an electric car reliable? The first and often most looked at characteristic is longevity. People want a car that will last a very long time. Cars can sometimes be an an awful investment depending on the situation. If you buy a new car, it instantly loses value when you drive it off the lot. From there, every day that goes by and every mile that you drive, it’s value continues to drop. Any type of damage to a car can also drop its value significantly.
You can experience the same issue even when buying a used electric car. Your car is constantly depreciating, even electric ones. Eventually when you sell it, you likely will end up losing money. By definition, a truly reliable electric car is one that can last a long time. Some of the most reliable internal combustion cars of all time can be found on the road today with over one million miles on the engines (yep, it’s possible!). It’s likely we’ll start seeing that with electric cars in the near future.
One of the second most important factors would be how often the electric car breaks down. A car that frequently breaks down can cost the owner tremendous amounts of money, not to mention the time it takes to fix it up. While simple repairs may only cost a couple hundred dollars, major repairs, or replacements to things like the engine or transmission can cost thousands of dollars. Nobody wants to have their car break down. Certain car models are more prone to breaking down and will have much more breakdowns.
Another important thing to consider is the cost of repairs when your electric car breaks down. No matter how reliable your vehicle is, stuff will break down eventually. That’s just the way things are with mechanical components; at some point you will need to replace something.
Some cars are much cheaper to repair than others. This can be for two main reasons, the first being that the repairs on the vehicle are easier to perform. The engineers that designed the car have made it quick and easy to work on and have made components easier to access. The shorter time your car is in the shop, the cheaper it will be. The second reason is the cost of the parts. Cars come with parts from hundreds of different manufacturers. Some are more expensive than others. A car that is easy to work on and has cheaper parts, is a much more reliable car.
The last factor in what makes an electric car reliable is its cost to maintain. There are several things that you will need to do regularly on your electric vehicle and a lot of it can be done at a reasonable price. If regular maintenance isn’t routinely performed, bigger more expensive parts will begin to break down which, in turn, makes the owner much less likely to fix them since they’re more expensive. It’s hard to drive an electric car that has huge problems because of lack of maintenance.
What Is The Most Reliable Electric Car?
Now that we’ve discussed the reliability of electric cars, it’s time to answer the big question: what is the most reliable electric car? There are a lot of electric cars that are all extremely reliable. Tesla has made a name for itself as one of the most reliable electric car manufacturers and also one of the safest. Yet, they still aren’t the manufacturers of the most reliable car.
You may be surprised to hear that currently the most reliable electric car is the Chevy Bolt. This car doesn’t offer insane performance and isn’t super flashy, but it does offer the absolute highest customer satisfaction score of all electric cars. It is known for being incredibly reliable, having very few issues, and meeting all of the expectations of the customers. When you buy a Chevy Bolt, you get exactly what you are expecting. You get a quiet and comfy electric car that offers some exciting technology which is why it won the position of the most reliable electric car.
How To Maintain Reliability Of An Electric Car
So, what can you do to ensure that your electric car remains reliable? The absolute most important thing that you can do is keep up with your maintenance. As we’ve previously mentioned, there is far less maintenance on an electric car. As such, it’s easy to just forget about it entirely. There are still things that need to be maintained on your vehicle. As you stay on top of these things, your car will continue to operate as it should. This helps ensure that your vehicle stays reliable.
The second thing that you can do to ensure that your electric car stays reliable is to control your driving habits. Fast accelerations, hard braking, sharp turns, and hitting bumps hard all cause extra wear on your electric vehicle. While doing these things isn’t going to kill your vehicle immediately, consistently driving like this over time will cause things to wear out much faster and/or break. By taking it easier on your electric car, you can ensure that it lasts as long as possible and that you don’t have to experience any breakdowns.
The last thing that you can do to ensure that your car stays reliable is to take extra care of your battery. Your battery system is one of the most expensive components of your entire vehicle. Replacing the battery will be an expensive repair. By taking proper care of it, you can be sure that it will last as long as possible.
Specifically, the best things that you can do for it is to monitor your charge levels. You only ever want to charge your battery to about 80%. Any higher and it can cause extra stress on the battery and cause it to wear out faster. Likewise, you don’t want to let your battery charge level drop below 20%. This can also cause extra wear on your battery. By trying to always maintain the battery between 20%-80%, you can be sure that it will last as long as possible.