The reliability of electric vehicles is one of the most important considerations for a business buyer.

Like petrol-run vehicles, electric vehicles come with a warranty if you buy them new. The RAC’s survey of the market suggests that five to eight years for a warranty is standard, though some manufacturers fall either side of this.

So, as long as you’re buying an electric vehicle new, you’ll likely be covered by the warranty if anything breaks that shouldn’t – provided the manufacturer is at fault and not you.

Still, whilst these warranties will protect you from major financial outlay as a result of a fault, there is more at stake if your business vehicles need frequent repairs. You might lose productivity or valuable business hours whilst your vehicle is being repaired, for example.

Here’s how electric vehicles stack up, reliability-wise.

Are Electric Vehicles Reliable, Generally?

Generally, electric vehicles offer a good degree of reliability compared to their petrol counterparts.

There are fewer moving parts in an electric engine, and electric vehicles wear down the brakes much less than petrol vehicles. This means maintenance costs are generally low, simply on the basis that there are fewer components that can go physically wrong.

Equally, the exact degree of reliability you get from an electric vehicle will depend on make, model and age.

TESLA’s groundbreaking Model S is forward thinking, futuristic and broke the mold in terms of what electric vehicles could do at the time – but has a relatively high number of faults for an electric vehicle. On the other hand, the Model 3 is famously reliable (with a ‘What Car?’ rating of 99.4%).

Look towards newer models for peace of mind here. Electric vehicle tech has come on such a long way in such a short space of time that there’s a noticeable difference between older and newer vehicles.

Are Electric Vehicles More or Less Reliable Than Petrol Vehicles?

Well-respected car reliability surveys put electric vehicles in at least the same ballpark as petrol vehicles. In some categories, they even have a slight advantage.

According to What Car?’s annual reliability survey, electric vehicles have a reliability rating of 85.7%-99.4%. This takes into account:

  • The number of new models with faults
  • Whether the vehicle could still be driven with these faults
  • How long these faults took to fix

Other groups surveyed included:

Electric cars’ reliability range is nearly identical to many of these categories, and even has the edge on luxury cars and family cars.

Obviously, this isn’t a perfect comparison. Electric vehicles are found in all of these categories and aren’t a distinctive use group in themselves. Equally, it does give you a rough idea of what to expect (and highlight some near failsafe options like the Tesla Model 3 and the Hyundai Kona).

Should I Be Worried About Battery Degradation?

The more you charge your electric vehicle’s battery, the less efficient it becomes. This is a gradual process, but as a business user it’s worth bearing in mind before making a purchase.

Also important: electric vehicle tech is developing at the rate of knots! What if by buying an adequate vehicle today, you missed out on a more cost-effective battery with a stellar range a couple of years down the line?

One solution to this problem is leasing your battery from the manufacturer. You use it for a per-month fee and trade it in for a better model as it starts losing capacity.

Battery lease isn’t available on all electric vehicles, but those that offer it retain a significant appeal to business users. Renault, for example, offer battery leasing on electric van models – as a result, their Kangoo model regularly tops best-selling lists across Europe.

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