Home Entertainment The electric car less reliable than the thermal car

The electric car less reliable than the thermal car


VS’is a widely held idea that an electric motor, with very few moving parts, is more reliable than a combustion engine and its transmission. This is undoubtedly true, but what interests the consumer is the whole car and the immobilizing breakdowns. And there, the well embellished image cracks. According to a study by the British consumer magazine Which?, which questioned 48,034 owners of 57,853 cars on their reliability, it appears that, for the most recent (up to 4 years), the rate of breakdowns in the twelve months preceding is 31.4% for vehicles electrical.

According to the same criteria, the study reports 29% of breakdowns for diesel models and “only” 19% for gasoline. Obviously, there are important variables depending on the make and model in each category, but the trend is there. In reality, electric cars seem simple, but they are complex for all the on-board electronics and for their more elaborate software. These are new areas of intervention in after-sales and, despite the training of mechanics, it is computer specialists that are now needed to flush out the fault when it occurs.

And, when we know the difficulty in repairing a smartphone or a computer – we generally send it to the scrap –, there is every reason to be alarmed by this fragility. It does not spare thermal engine cars either, which are also becoming more and more electronically managed. It is also to prepare the next stage of the semi-autonomous car. But, at this stage, nothing in common with the electrified car.

The double penalty

This one indeed suffers a double penalty since, according to the unlucky ones struck by a breakdown, this one left them without a car, immobilized on average five days before finding the solution. In the frequency of failures, the software comes first, then the 12 V battery, which is not the propulsion battery, and finally the electric braking aids with their energy recovery system.

Obviously, the new technology still calls for a few adjustments which seem to indicate that this electric car has been pushed forward too soon. From a niche car, it has become, in the minds of some leaders, a global solution, which reflects a manifest excess of confidence. However Which?, in its list of results by brand and model, identifies a wide dispersion of results.

The model least affected by breakdowns is the Korean Kia e-Niro, with 6.2% of defects but above all 1% of immobilizing breakdowns. Tesla is, on the other hand, in the caboose, confirming the conclusions of other studies of the same kind. A hope, all the same, among the electric ones, the hybrids equipped with two propulsion systems operating alternately or in tandem are doing the best. Who said the thermal was dead?