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2022 What Car? Reliability Survey: electric cars

Our exhaustive annual survey rates the dependability of cars aged up to five years old, based on the experiences of nearly 25,000 owners...

Nissan Leaf

Most reliable electric cars

1. Nissan Leaf (2011-2018)

Reliability rating 98.9%

What went wrong? Brakes 5%, non-motor electrics 5%

The original Nissan Leaf is proving more dependable than the latest version; the latter is the sixth most reliable electric car with a score of 93.9%. Only 9% of owners of previous-generation models reported faults, and all of these were rectified for free by Nissan dealers. What's more, all work took a day or less to complete. 

Owner’s view "My car’s been reliable and dealers are good"

2. MG ZS EV (2019-present)

Best used electric small SUV 2022 - MG ZS EV front

Reliability rating 95.5%

Although 15% of ZS EV owners reported faults (in areas that included the 12-volt battery, steering, bodywork and non-motor electrics), four out of five cars could still be driven. MG covered the cost of all remedial work, too, but 60 % of the stricken cars were in the garage for more than a week. 

3. Volkswagen e-Golf (2013-2020)

Volkswagen e-Golf front - 19 plate

Reliability rating 94.7%

Almost a third of the e-Golfs in our survey had problems, but most were hiccups with the infotainment system, non-motor electrics and motor electrics. All remedial work was done for free, so no owners were left out of pocket, but a third of the problems took more than a week to remedy. 

Least reliable electric cars

1. Tesla Model S (2014-present)

Tesla Model S front action - 69-plate car

Reliability rating 78.9%

What went wrong? Bodywork 21%, non-motor electrics 15%, suspension 10%, sat-nav 8%, interior trim 5%, air-con 3%, battery 3%, motor electrics 3%

The Model S has one of the highest fault rates in our survey, with 44% of the cars we were told about going wrong. Problem areas included the bodywork, sat-nav/infotainment system, interior trim, non-motor electrics and suspension. Three-quarters of repairs were done for free, but some owners paid out up to £1500, and 45% of affected cars were out of action for more than a week. 

Owner’s view "Build quality and reliability are very poor, and the heater doesn’t always work, which makes it difficult to demist the windscreen"

2. Jaguar I-Pace (2018-present)

Jaguar I-Pace front

Reliability rating 81.5%

A range of maladies afflicted 36% of the I-Paces we were told about, with the main areas of concern being the 12-volt battery, non-motor electrics and the sat-nav/infotainment system. These issues kept two-thirds of cars out of action for more than a week, although 98% of them were rectified for free under warranty. 

3. Hyundai Ioniq Electric (2016-present)

 Hyundai Ioniq Electric

Reliability rating 84.4%%

The 12-volt battery, non-motor electrics and sat-nav/infotainment system were the main areas reported by the 20% of Ioniq Electric owners whose cars went wrong. The issues left 21% of the cars undriveable, and two-thirds spent more than a week off the road. All work was done for free, though. 

Reliability of Electric cars aged up to five years old

Rank Make and model Score
1. Nissan Leaf (2011-2018) 98.9%
2. MG ZS EV (2019-present) 95.5%
3. Volkswagen e-Golf (2013-2020) 94.7%
4. Kia e-Niro (2019-2022) 94.6%
5. Tesla Model 3 (2019-present) 94.4%
6. Nissan Leaf (2019-present) 93.9%
7. BMW i3 (2013-2022) 92.8%
=8. Audi E-tron (2019-present) 92.0%
=8. Volkswagen ID 3 (2020-present) 92.0%
10. Renault Zoe (2013-present) 89.4%
11. Hyundai Kona Electric (2018-present) 89.1%
12. Hyundai Ioniq Electric (2016-present) 84.4%
13. Jaguar I-Pace (2018-present) 81.5%
14. Tesla Model S (2014-present) 78.9%