What Car? recently carried out a reliability survey of all the electric cars on sale in the UK today. With new models and brands entering the electric car market all the time, the competition is only going to increase as this is one of the most exciting sectors of the new car market. This year there is data on 20 electric models in two categories – ‘most reliable’ and ‘least reliable’. And when it comes to reliability, they are mid-league, scoring 90.4% in 2022 and 90.9% this year.

The Reliability Survey, conducted in association with Motor Easy, polls thousands of car owners about the reliability of their cars. The latest survey gained 21,732 responses and that enabled us to report on 178 models (up to five years old) from 32 brands.

All car owners were asked to say if their car suffered any faults over the previous 24 months. For every car that has suffered a fault, they were asked in what area the issue occurred, plus how much it cost to repair and how long it spent in the workshop. This information is used to create a reliability rating for each model and brand where we have a large enough response rate.

A few surprises here - for instance, the best selling EV is the Tesla 3 but it only comes eighth in the list and the best EV on the market, the Porsche Taycan is the least reliable of them all! We will look at this again next year to see if such unreliability damages their sales.


Reliability rating 97.6%

The Mini Electric is proving just as dependable as the brand’s petrol-powered models. Only 7% of survey respondents reported any issues with their cars, with none being serious enough to render any cars undriveable. Mini covered the cost of all remedial work, and although no cars were fixed in a day, all were back on the road in less than a week.


2  VW e-GOLF
Reliability rating 97.2%

The VW e-Golf is less prone to problems than the regular VW Golf of the same age, with a fault rate of 14% (versus 26% for petrol versions). All cars remained driveable, and the only problematic areas were the brakes and infotainment. All faults were fixed for free; half were sorted out in less than a week, while the rest took longer.


Reliability rating  96.9%

The Nissan Leaf is the most reliable Nissan model in our survey. Only 9% of Leaf owners reported a fault with their cars, in areas that included the gearbox, interior trim, electrics and steering. All problems were fixed for free, 40% of them within a day. The remaining 60% of cars spent more than a week in a workshop, though.


4  MG 5
Reliability rating  96.1%

Owners told us that only 15% of their MG5s went wrong, with issues relating to the electric motor the biggest bugbear. There were also complaints about the bodywork and sat-nav/infotainmen. All cars could still be driven, but half of them took more than a week to put right. The good news is that MG covered the cost of all repairs.


Reliability rating  95.6%

Electrical glitches were the most common complaint of Cupra Born owners, who told us 18% of their cars had a fault. The problem areas were the air-con, non-engine electrics and sat-nav/infotainment system. All cars remained driveable, and four out of five were fixed in less than a week, with Cupra stumping up for all associated bills.


Reliability rating  94.6%

Bodywork and electrical systems caused the most grief for the 15% of Kia Niro EV owners. There was also a small number of issues with the 12-Volt battery, brakes and charging system. Kia covered costs of 94% of repairs; 6% of owners had to pay £751-£1,000 to get their cars fixed. Half of the cars reported on were out of action for more than a week.


7  VW ID3
Reliability rating  94.3%

One in five of the VW ID3 electric cars in our survey had a problem. The vast majority were with non-motor electrical systems, including sat-nav/infotainment. There were also some troubles with the bodywork and transmission. It’s reassuring to know that VW paid for 92% of remedial work, though, and all of those who had to pay for repairs were asked for £200 or less. Most cars could still be driven, and two-thirds were put right in less than seven days.


Reliability rating  93.9%

The Tesla Model 3 is a hugely popular car, and the good news is that it’s streets ahead of the Model S when it comes to reliability. Owners told us 26% of their cars had a glitch, with bodywork and non-motor electrics the most common concerns. Tesla paid for remedial work in 97% of instances, leaving a small number of owners with bills of up to £750. 60% of issues were sorted out in a day or less and only 15% of cars spent more than seven days in the workshop.


Reliability rating  92.0%

Polestar started life as the electric offshoot of Volvo, and it has recently established itself as it’s own brand. The Polestar 2 had a high ratio of faults – 42% of owners reported issues – but most were fixed swiftly and at no cost to owners. The sat-nav/infotainment system created the biggest headache, followed by the 12-Volt battery and non-motor electrical systems. All cars were fixed for free, though, and two thirds of repairs were completed in a day or less.


10  PEUGEOT e-208
Reliability rating  91.2%

Electrical issues were the biggest cause for upset with the Peugeot e-208. Overall, 31% of the cars reported on had a fault, and 23% of them were with the electrics. The positive news is that Peugeot paid for all remedial work, the not so good news is that 60% of cars took more than a week to fix and 20% were rendered undriveable by their faults.



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