Electric vehicles (EVs) are fraught with a variety of glitches and are among the least reliable vehicles made today, according to a new study by Consumer Reports (CR), the popular bible of product quality.
Along with full-size pickup trucks, all-electric vehicles are the most prone to problems both large and small, the magazine’s survey of more than 300,000 EV owners found.
There are two reasons for the problems, CR said.
First, most major automakers are relatively new to EVs and are still working out the bugs; many are coding their own software programs, a field in which car makers have little proven expertise.
Second, EV buyers tend to be techies, so makers are packing their vehicles with the latest apps, gadgets, and gizmos to dazzle potential shoppers.
Not all of them work as planned, especially when they make demands on the same computer chips at the same time.
“Automakers are using EVs as a technological testbed for whatever new technology they want to try out,” Jake Fisher, CR’s chief of vehicle testing, said to CNBC. “By having all this new technology, there’s a lot of potential problems with them.”
Many of the problems are associated with “infotainment” systems, the video screens on the dashboard that show maps, play music, and handle other chores.
But those aren’t the only problems.
Tesla recalled more than 59,000 cars in July because of malfunctions in the software that is supposed to automatically notify authorities in case of an accident.
The company also issued 10 separate recalls from last December into February this year.
One was to fix a bug in a windshield defroster that shut off the system before the job was done; another was in Tesla’s software that allowed some self-driving cars with an “aggressive” software setting to roll past stop signs.
Just this month, Tesla recalled another 40,000 cars because hitting a bump such as a pothole or speed bump was turning off the power steering system.
J.D. Power’s 2022 quality survey among more than 85,000 new-car owners found a whopping 226 problems reported per 100 all-electric vehicles, meaning that every EV had an average of at least two problems worth mentioning.
Only nine of the 33 vehicle brands surveyed had improved in quality this year over last, according to the survey.
TRENDPOST: Demand for EVs is climbing, which will accelerate automakers’ attention to getting the electronics and software right—not only to boost customer satisfaction as a competitive edge, but also because recalls are embarrassing and expensive.