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Most and least reliable electric cars

Electric car sales are soaring, but are they a sound choice when it comes to reliability, and which are the most and least dependable models?...

Most and least reliable electric cars

Sales of pure electric cars are up nearly 50% on last year, with 137,498 registered between January and the end of September 2022, compared with 92,420 in the same period in 2021. However, they're still relatively new additions to many brands' ranges, so you might be a bit worried about whether their technology can be relied on.

Overall, the answer appears to be 'yes', with owners of most of the latest models rating them very highly in our 2022 Reliability Survey

For the latest What Car? Reliability Survey, conducted in association with MotorEasy, we asked almost 25,000 car owners to let us know if their vehicles had suffered any faults over the previous two years. For those that had suffered a fault, we gathered information on how quickly the car was repaired and, crucially, how much it cost to be put right. These two criteria were used to create a unique reliability rating for each of 248 models from 32 brands. 

Electric cars achieved an average score of 90.9%. Here, we take a closer look at the data to reveal the most and least dependable electric cars aged up to five years old.

The 11 most reliable electric cars

11. Hyundai Kona Electric (2018-present)

Reliability rating: 89.1%

Hyundai Kona Electric

Although 26% of Kona Electric owners told us their car had suffered an issue, four out of five cars could still be driven and more than two-thirds of faults were rectified in a day or less. The main areas of concern were the 12-volt battery, interior trim and the sat-nav/infotainment system. More than 80% of repairs were carried out under warranty, and no bills topped £750. 

Read our full Hyundai Kona Electric review >>

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10. Renault Zoe (2013-present)

Renault Zoe 2022 front cornering

Reliability rating: 89.4%

Bodywork and non-motor electrical glitches were the most frequently cited issues with the Zoe, with 32% of cars having a problem. Even though some cars would no longer be covered by the manufacturer's warranty, 82% of issues were fixed for free. However, 9% of owners had to pay out more than £1500. More than 90% of cars could still be driven, and just over half of the faults were rectified in less than a week. 

Read our full Renault Zoe review >>

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=8. Audi E-tron (2019-present)

Audi E-tron 55 2022 nose

Reliability rating: 92.0%

The E-tron had quite a high fault rate; 29% of cars had some sort of problem. However, all work was done under warranty, so no owners were left out of pocket, and 75% of issues were sorted out in less than a week. Non-motor electrical issues accounted for 24% of all issues. 

Read our full Audi E-tron review >>

=8. Volkswagen ID 3 (2020-present)

Volkswagen ID.3 front shot


Reliability rating: 92.0%

Electrical issues, with the motor and other components, were the biggest concern for ID 3 owners, 35% of whom told us their car had suffered a fault. All remedial work was done under warranty, and nearly three-quarters of cars were back on the road in less than a week. 

Read our full Volkswagen ID 3 review >>

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7. BMW i3 (2013-2022)

BMW i3 2018 front cornering

Reliability rating: 92.8%

Twenty-three percent of i3s went wrong, according to owners, with the bodywork, non-motor electrics and suspension the most common areas of complaint. However, 91% of cars were put right for free and no one who had to pay shelled out more than £300. Three-quarters of issues were resolved in less than a week. 

Read our full used BMW i3 review >>

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6. Nissan Leaf (2019-present)

Nissan LEAF

Reliability rating: 93.9%

The current Leaf isn't problem-free; in fact, 27% of the cars we were told about went wrong, suffering issues with the motor, non-motor electrics and gearbox. However, all cars were fixed for free and nearly three-quarters of them were back on the road in a day or less. 

Read our full Nissan Leaf review >>

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5. Tesla Model 3 (2019-present)

Tesla Model 3 2022 front right tracking

Reliability rating: 94.4%

Although 26% of Model 3 owners reported a fault with their car, the most common (10%) were minor bodywork issues, followed by electrical gremlins with the motor and other electrical systems. Remedial work was swift and efficient; 60% of cars were repaired in a day or less and all work was carried out under warranty. 

Read our full Tesla Model 3 review >>

Electric Car of the Year Awards 2021 - Kia e-Niro

Reliability rating: 94.6%

Only 12% of the e-Niros we were told about had a problem, mostly with electrical systems including the motor. Repairs were slow, with more than two-thirds of cars stuck in the garage for more than a week. The good news is that 94% of work was done for free and no bills exceeded £200.  

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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, including with the motor electrics, but most were minor hiccups with the infotainment system and non-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. 

Read our full used Volkswagen e-Golf review >>

2. MG ZS EV (2019-present)

MG ZS EV 2022 front right tracking

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. 

Read our full MG ZS EV review >>

1. Nissan Leaf (2011-2018)

Nissan Leaf

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"

Read our full used Nissan Leaf review >>