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2023 What Car? Reliability Survey: Most and least reliable electric cars

In our annual Reliability Survey, we ask readers to rate the dependability of cars aged up to five years old. Here we list the most and least reliable electric cars in the UK...

Mini Electric vs Peugoet e208

With new models and even brands entering the electric car class all the time, and competition only going to increase further, this is one of the most exciting sectors of the new car market.

This year we have data on 29 electric models. And when it comes to reliability, they are mid-league, scoring 90.4% in 2022 and 90.9% this year.

How the research was carried out

The annual What Car? Reliability Survey, conducted in association with MotorEasy, polls thousands of car owners about the reliability of their cars. The latest survey gained 21,7 32 responses and that enabled us to report on 178 models (up to five years old) from 32 brands. 

All car owners are asked to tell us if their car suffered any faults over the previous 24 months. For every car that has suffered a fault, we ask 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.

The 2024 What Car? Reliability Survey is live, tell us about your car now

Most reliable electric cars

1. Mini Electric (2020-present)

Mini Electric 2022 front

Reliability rating 97.6%

What went wrong? Battery 7%, motor electrics 7% 

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.

Owner’s view: “I’ve had only one minor fault that was fixed under warranty.”

2. Volkswagen e-Golf (2014-2020)

Volkswagen e-Golf front - 19 plate

Reliability rating 97.2%

The Volkswagen e-Golf is less prone to problems than the regular Volkswagen 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.

3. Nissan Leaf (2019-present)

Nissan Leaf 2022 front

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 (2020-present)

MG5 EV 2022 front right tracking

Reliability rating 96.1%

The MG5 is the highest-scoring model from this relatively new brand. 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/infotainment system. 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. 

5. Cupra Born (2022-present)

CUPRA Born driving on road front three quarters

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. 

6. Kia Niro EV (2019-present)

Kia Niro EV front cornering

Reliability rating 94.6%

Bodywork and electrical systems caused the most grief for the 15% of Kia Niro EV owners who told us their cars had gone wrong. There were also a small percentage of issues with the 12-volt battery, brakes and charging system. Although Kia covered the cost of 94% of repairs, 6% of owners had to pay between £751 and £1000 to get their cars fixed. Half of the cars reported on were out of action for more than a week. 

7. Volkswagen ID 3 (2020-present)

Volkswagen ID 3 used electric family car front

Reliability rating 94.3%

One in five of the Volkswagen ID 3 electric cars in our survey had a problem. The vast majority were with non-motor electrical systems, including the sat-nav/infotainment system. There were also some troubles with the bodywork and transmission. It's reassuring to know that Volkswagen 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. 

8. Tesla Model 3 (2019-present)

Tesla Model 3 electric executive car front cornering

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 causes for concern. Tesla paid for remedial work in 97% of instances, leaving a small percentage of owners with bills of up to £750. Sixty percent of issues were sorted out in a day or less and only 15% of cars spent more than seven days in the workshop. 

9. Polestar 2 (2020-present)

Polestar 2 front right driving

Reliability rating 92.0%

Polestar started life as the pure electric offshoot of Volvo, and it's been recently establishing itself as a standalone brand. The Polestar 2 had a high percentage of faults - 42% of owners reported issues with their cars - 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 or repairs were completed in a day or less. 

10. Peugeot e-208 (2019-present)

Peugeot e-208 2021 front cornering

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. 

Least reliable electric cars

1. Porsche Taycan (2019-present)

Porsche Taycan used electric performance car front

Reliability rating 66.5%

What went wrong? Air-con 31%, non-motor electrics 31%, sat-nav/infotainment 15%, battery 8%, brakes 8%, motor electrics 8%, interior trim 8%

The Porsche Taycan is one of the fastest electric cars you can buy, but it’s not one of the most reliable. Of the cars in our survey, a hefty 46% went wrong, with owners citing the air-con and infotainment system as the main trouble spots. All remedial work was done for free, but two-thirds of the stricken cars were out of action for more than a week.

Owner’s view “My car is off the road with a failed heater matrix, and Porsche cannot predict how long the repair will take.”

2. Hyundai Ioniq Electric (2016-2022)

 Hyundai Ioniq Electric

Reliability rating 75.5%

With a high fault rate of 41%, the Hyundai Ioniq Electric suffered far more issues than its petrol and hybrid siblings (3%). The 12-volt battery was the biggest headache, followed by motor and non-motor electrics. Although all repairs were done for free, 60% of faulty cars were stuck in a workshop for more than a week.

3. MG4 EV (2022-present)

MG 4 EV front tracking

Reliability rating 76.1%

Bodywork and non-motor electrical issues were the main complaints from the 37.5% of MG4 owners who told us that their car had gone wrong. Although 80% of the afflicted cars were fixed for free, 20% of owners faced bills of £1000 to £1500, and 70% of the cars were laid up for more than a week.

4. Kia EV6 (2021-present)

Kia EV6 2023 nose

Reliability rating 83.4%

Slow and sometimes costly repairs drag the score of the Kia EV6 down. Only 24% of the cars we were told about went wrong, with the 12-volt battery, motor and other electrical systems to blame. However, 64% of faulty cars couldn't be driven, and 85% of them spent more than a week in the garage. Although 86% of remedial work was done for free, the remaining cars cost between £751 and more than £1500 to put right. 

5. Tesla Model S (2014-2022)

Tesla Model S front

Reliability rating 83.9%

The sheer volume of troubles reported by Tesla Model S owners is the reason it sits in the bottom 10: 42% of the cars we were told about had at least one problem. The most common culprits were the bodywork, interior trim and sat-nav/infotainment system. The silver lining is that all cars could still be driven, half were repaired in a day or less. Just as reassuring is the fact that 86% of work was paid for by Tesla and no repair bills topped £300. 

6. Vauxhall Corsa Electric (2029-present)

Vauxhall Corsa Electric front right driving

Reliability rating 87.4%

Most examples of the Vauxhall Corsa Electric were pretty dependable; owners told us only 7% of their cars went wrong. However, 58% of cars were rendered undriveable by their faults, and 44% of them sat in the workshop for more than a week. There were issues with the battery, bodywork, brakes, motor and various electrical systems. The only redeeming feature is that Vauxhall covered the cost of all repairs. 

7. Renault Zoe (2019-present)

Renault Zoe front right tracking

Reliability rating 89.2%

The Renault Zoe doesn't promise its owners problem-free travels: 22% of the cars in our survey had at least one fault. The 12-volt battery was the main gripe, and there were also issues with the air-con, bodywork, brakes and non-motor electrics. All cars were fixed for free, but repairs were slow - three quarters of cars spent more than a week in the workshop, and 43% of cars couldn't be driven. 

8. Volkswagen e-Up (2020-present)

Best small electric car for value - Volkswagen e-Up

Reliability rating 90.9%

Slow repairs bring the score of the Volkswagen e-Up down: half of the cars we were told about were out of action for more than a week. A reasonable 21% of owners reported issues with their electric city cars, with problems occurring with the aircon, battery and sat-nav/infotainment system. On a positive note, 75% of cars were fixed for free and where there were bills to pay, they were all less than £100. 

=9. BMW i3 (2013-2022)

BMW i3 2018 front cornering

Reliability rating 91.1%

The BMW i3 was the brand's first foray into the pure electric world, and it's proving a fairly dependable option. According to our survey, 21% of i3s had a fault, but two thirds of issues were fixed in less than a week. The main problem areas were the bodywork, non-motor electrics and suspension. While 77% of remedial work was done for free, some owners paid up to £300 and 8% had to find up to £1500. 

=9. Hyundai Kona Electric (2018-present)

Hyundai Kona Electric front right driving

Reliability rating 91.1%

Four out of five of the Hyundai Kona Electric models we were told about didn't suffer any faults, but those that did were slow to repair and sometimes costly. Three-quarters of faulty cars couldn't be driven and a third were in the garage for more than a week. While Hyundai covered the cost of 78% of repairs, some owners had to find up to £750 to get their cars fixed. There were issues with the 12-volt battery, air-con, brakes, interior trim and sat-nav/infotainment system. 

To read the reliability data for other car classes follow these links:

All cars and SUVs here
Most reliable small cars
Most reliable family cars
Most reliable executive cars
Most reliable luxury cars
Most reliable small SUVs
Most reliable family SUVs
Most reliable large SUVs
Most reliable seven-seaters
Most reliable electric SUVs
Most reliable sports cars
Most reliable car brands
Most reliable diesel cars

Reliability of electric cars aged up to five years old

Rank Make and model Score
1 Mini Electric (2020-present) 97.6%
2 2013-2020 Volkswagen e-Golf 97.2%
3 Nissan Leaf (2019-present) 96.9%
4 MG5 EV (2020-present) 96.1%
5 Cupra Born (2022-present) 95.6%
6 Kia Niro EV (2019-present) 94.6%
7 Volkswagen ID.3 (2020-present) 94.3%
8 Tesla Model 3 (2019-present) 93.9%
9 Polestar 2 (2020-present) 92.0%
10 Peugeot e-208 (2019-present) 91.2%
11 Hyundai Kona Electric (2018-present) 91.1%
12 2013-2022 BMW i3 91.1%
13 Volkswagen e-Up (2020-present) 90.9%
14 Renault Zoe (2013-present) 89.2%
15 Vauxhall Corsa Electric (2019-present) 87.4%
16 2014-2022 Tesla Model S 83.9%
17 Kia EV6 (2021-present) 83.4%
18 MG4 EV (2022-present) 76.1%
19 2016-2022 Hyundai Ioniq Electric 75.5%
20 Porsche Taycan (2019-present) 66.5%

About the report author

Claire Evans has spent more than 30 years working as a motoring journalist, and has spent much of that time working on consumer issues. In the 1990s, she was the advice columnist for Carweek magazine, helping car owners with all sorts of automotive issues.

She also worked on the motoring desk for Which? for six years, overseeing the running of the charity's annual used car reliability survey.

Claire launched the What Car? Reliability Survey in 2017, and since then has used the data collected each year to help thousands of buyers choose the most reliable new cars and SUVs, as well as the most dependable used cars.

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