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EVs have more problems than traditional cars

Illustration of a gas pump facing off against an electric vehicle plug.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

New EVs have nearly 40%(!) more problems than internal combustion cars and trucks, according to J.D. Power's latest annual survey on initial vehicle quality.

Why it matters: EVs' entire value-proposition is that they're cheaper in the long run and easier to maintain.

By the numbers: Battery electric vehicles experienced 240 problems per 100 vehicles in the 2022 model year.

  • Combustion vehicles: 175 problems per 100 vehicles.
  • Plug-in hybrids fared no better, with 239 problems per 100 vehicles.

Where's Elon?: The battery electric figure excludes Tesla because of the enormous volume of Teslas sold compared to relatively new offerings from legacy automakers.

Yes, but: Tesla models averaged 226 problems per 100 vehicles. Ouch.

Reality check: These figures, of course, are for "initial quality." The core argument about EVs' long-term quality and reliability may still stand.

  • At the top of the J.D. Power survey on initial quality: Buick, Dodge and Chevrolet — makers not exactly known for long-term dependability.
  • By contrast, Lexus placed fifth, Toyota 14th.

Bottom line: The average cost of an EV has climbed to $54,000 — $10,000 more than the average combustion car.

  • We don't envy the folks shelling out that amount or more, then finding themselves back at the shop for service within a year.

💭 Our thought bubble: Building a car is hard, and most non-Tesla EVs are new to the market — so some of this is likely growing pains.

  • But while the heavy emphasis is "initial quality," short of EVs spontaneously combusting, it's hard to imagine a worse headline for the industry, especially as EVs keep fighting consumer skepticism and recent price hikes.
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