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2021 What Car? Reliability Survey: electric cars

We reveal the most – and least – dependable cars up to five years old, based on the experiences of more than 16,000 owners...

Nissan Leaf

Most reliable electric cars

1. Nissan Leaf (2011-2018)

Reliability rating 98.6%

What went wrong? Brakes 6%, non-motor electrics 6%

The original Nissan Leaf is ageing rather well. Although 12% of owners of previous-generation models reported faults, all of these were rectified for free by Nissan dealers. What’s more, all work was carried out in a day or less.

Owner’s view "This is my second electric car and I think they’re only getting better. Reliability has been excellent"

2. MG ZS EV (2019-present) 

MG ZS EV driving

Reliability rating 96.5%

Bodywork and steering were the only troublesome areas for ZS EV owners, who told us that 13% of their cars had suffered a fault in the previous year. The cost of repairs was covered by MG in all cases, and 60% of the faulty cars were put right in less than a week.

3. Kia E-Niro (2019-present)

Kia e-Niro 2020 front white

Reliability rating 95.8%

Among e-Niro owners surveyed, only 8% reported a fault. A small percentage of these issues concerned the main battery pack and the 12-volt battery, and there were niggles with some other electrical components. All repairs were done under warranty, but more than 70% of the cars were off the road for more than a week.

Least reliable electric cars

1. Jaguar I-Pace (2018-present)

Electric Car of the Year Awards 2021 - Jaguar I-Pace

Reliability rating 86.3%

What went wrong? Battery 13%, non-motor electrics 10%, sat-nav 10%, motor electrics 8%, air-con 5%, motor 3% suspension 3%

Owners told us that 30% of their I-Paces had suffered a fault, and that a staggering 75% of these stricken cars had been stuck in service departments for more than a week – some for more than a month. The only positive is that all the remedial work was carried out under warranty.

Owner’s view "It’s a great electric SUV, but the technology it comes with isn’t the most responsive or dependable"

2. Nissan Leaf (2019-present)

Electric Car of the Year Awards 2021 - Nissan Leaf

Reliability rating 89.7%

The latest Leaf has been stricken by far more faults than the original model; owners told us 45% of their cars had gone wrong, with problem areas including the electric motor battery, 12-volt battery and a range of other electrical systems. Although all cars were fixed for free, 9% spent more than a week in the garage.

3. Renault Zoe (2013-2020)

Electric Car of the Year Awards 2021 - Renault Zoe

Reliability rating 92.6%

Zoe owners said that 24% of their cars had been troublesome, with issues affecting the air-con, bodywork, electric motor and non-motor electrics. Although 75% of the faulty cars were fixed for free, the remaining 25% left owners with bills exceeding £1500, and 25% of them spent more than a week off the road.

Reliability of Electric cars aged up to five years old

Rank Make and model Score
1. Nissan Leaf 2011-2018 98.6%
2. MG ZS EV 2019-present 96.5%
3. Kia E-Niro 2019-present  95.8%
4. BMW i3 2013-present 94.1%
5. Tesla Model 3 2019-present 93.3%
6. Renault Zoe 2013-2020 92.6%
7. Nissan Leaf 2019-present  89.7%
8. Jaguar I-Pace 2018-present  86.3%