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I know, I know... this is such a broad question that I won't get a definitive answer. But thought it might be interesting to read people's general opinions.

I'm planning on buying a used EV (Ioniq 28 hopefully!) next year to replace my current leased EV (e-Golf). My plan will be to keep running it for years and years, so outside its warranty period. My thinking has been that as it's an EV, a warranty is theoretically less important to have anyway as it should be more reliable than an ICE. Fewer moving parts, less to go wrong. The only big worry would be battery health, but that's something you could keep an eye on and make a decision to sell early while the car still has value if it starts heading in a direction that worries you.

But is this fair to say, or is it just an urban legend? Maybe EVs have other, complicated components that are just as likely to fail as something big in an ICE vehicle could? And maybe if these things do fail, they'd be more expensive to repair as only specialist dealers would be able to?

What do you think? Am I lulling myself into a false sense of security by thinking "it's an EV, it's unlikely to go expensively wrong relative to an ICE vehicle, not having a warranty isn't a big risk" or is that a fair assumption?
 

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I think perhaps it's fair to say EVs are generally more reliable than ICE... because there's less mechanically to go wrong?

If something DOES go wrong though, it's generally a case of replace the entire component rather than repair... If a major component fails this could run into the thousands without a warranty.

Time will tell, I suppose...

I suspect the batteries will (on the whole) last longer than the vehicles themselves...
 

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Theoretically they are more reliable (less moving parts and less hot and stressed components).

I think this is a problem with all modern cars not just EVs. They are not designed to be repaired easily. You have to replace complete modules rather than individual parts.
The cost of replacing a faulty heater unit for example can write off an older car.
 

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These may be useful:
EVs
2020 What Car? Reliability Survey: electric cars
Hybrids
2020 What Car? Reliability Survey: hybrid cars

What's interesting is that the "bad" hybrids are much better than the "bad" EVs. That's counter-intuitive, since the hybrid has a battery AND and engine, so more to go wrong.

For what it's worth my own feeling is that the BEV OEMs are still getting to grips with the tech and it'll be a few years yet until things settle down and there's likely to be variable quality until they get into their groove.

Also agree with other's comments about needing to replace modules - my Zoe is apparently a nightmare if you have a wee front end shunt and the whole charging loom needs to be replaced (or something like that).

General advice seems to be sure to keep the original warranty alive for as long as possible to dodge the big bills.
 

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Tesla Model 3 LR AWD 19" FSD; Renault Zoe Q210 22kWh
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On our Zoe we had the fan go for the heating. Caused by the drainage tubes on the windscreen rain channel getting blocked and then overflowing and causing corrosion on the fan.
That would of been an expensive replacement but the garage managed to repair it with some tlc. It's also about to go in for some suspension issue that has cropped up.
M3 has been spot on other than some delivery issues.

So the batteries and motor may be more reliable but the rest of it is just a car. The Zoe after all is a Renault and will suffer from all the normal issues that a Renault will get.
All the ICE cars I have had in the past have been very reliable in the engine department. Yes there is more maintenance, i.e. oil change, filters etc but I've not had one blow up or anything major mechanically since my classic mini days.

So my conclusion. They are just as reliable, there is just less maintenance compared to and ICE vehicle. Bits will still go wrong in all the usual places.
 

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What's interesting is that the "bad" hybrids are much better than the "bad" EVs. That's counter-intuitive, since the hybrid has a battery AND and engine, so more to go wrong.
I guess a lot of the ICE side of things is fairly well established tech, so you'd hope that it is at least mechanically sound (or at least as good as the ICE cars from the same brand). The new bit is the EV side and the bit that links the two, which is still a bit new but not hugely complicated (software is probably a nightmare, but the hardware isn't particularly fancy). The Golf GTE comments seem to back this up, with reported issues being:
  • Exhaust (ICE)
  • Gearbox/clutch (DSG with an extra bit on it, but not specific enough to say if it is the DSG or the extra bit at fault)
  • Infotainment and sat-nav (same as ICE models)
  • Non-engine electrics (probably same as ICE models, unless they're referring to the EV stuff, it isn't clear).
So it kind of reads like the problems with the Golf GTE are basically the same as the problems with the ICE Golf.
 

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Kia e-Niro 4 MY20
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Whilst the core technology of ICE is really sorted and very reliable, if maintained, the recent attempts to stay in line with emissions regs has seen more complexity come in. Diesels are now quite prone to problems it seems. Petrols have trended towards low CC, three cylinder blocks and then a turbo so a bit more complexity than was typically the case a few years ago. Lots of turbo actuator problems on the ubiquitous VW 1.0 tsi engine for example.

Some will get it right, some won't. All those power electronics need to stand up to service life. A lot of the modules are not really likely to be repairable. See @mikeselectricstuff tear down of some Zoe modules

I'm hopeful we'll see long term reliability. The things that have caused me the most pain over that last few years have been failed turbo, clutch and dual mass flywheel, diesel injectors, EGR valves. It's going to be interesting to see what the common EV specific failures are and when they occur.
 

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In my opinion, EV's are no more reliable or no less reliable than an ICE, a lot of it is "you pays you money and takes your chance". If something goes wrong, then it's just bad luck and that can apply equally to an EV of ICE.

There is certainly on paper, more potential for things to go wrong in a ICE, with things like engines, gear box, fuel tanks and exhaust systems, but these are usually bullet proof and rarely go wrong as they are produced on quality controlled systems.


With older vehicles the question should be not about reliability but about efficiency and emissions

As ICE vehicles get older it gets less efficient due to engine wear and tear, this increases emissions, possibly to a degree that the vehicle fails the MOT test. EV's are zero emissions so will never suffer this fate, so ultimately in the end a EV will win out in the reliability stakes. But perhaps might suffer reliability issues with battery degradation and defective cells, that's life I suppose, you can't have your cake and eat it.
 

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I also forgot to count the electrons...
Aaah, but they get replaced by others on a very regular basis, so you don't notice them wearing out! :)
 

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These may be useful:
EVs
2020 What Car? Reliability Survey: electric cars
Hybrids
2020 What Car? Reliability Survey: hybrid cars

What's interesting is that the "bad" hybrids are much better than the "bad" EVs. That's counter-intuitive, since the hybrid has a battery AND and engine, so more to go wrong.
Well our RHD Chevy Volt has been amazing, no big bills out of warranty, with just the well known "gearbox bearing" fault being the only major failure, fixed under warranty. 106k miles now, still on factory exhaust and front discs and pads. Changed the 12v battery recently trying to self rectify a small fault, it had not failed. Everything works and it passed its 6th MOT last month, it has never failed one yet.

Been truly remarkable how reliable it has been with daily use over 8 years. Been to the main deal once since 2018, last month to have new sensor fitted. Recently done my 1st full self service, oil and all filters, oil cabin and airbox, for under £50.

The only ICE we have ever owned in the last 20 years that comes close was a 2002 BMW 320i SE LPG, which was a daily runner 2007 to 2014 with 100k miles on the clock. All the diesels we ever had had some big bills, die to 30k+ miles a year for work.
 

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no
 

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They'd better be after all the Beta testing I went through with my first Zoe! The number of warnings on the dashboard was frightening.

As well as 3 flatbeds, I had:

Several weeks free rental of ICE cars plus associated fuel repaid (which I would definitely preferred not to have had)

£500 compensation

and a 4 year service agreement for my second Zoe.

So glad there are now so many other makes to choose from.
 
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If a driver looks after their battery then degradation should be minimal. Some cars are easier to look after than others. For example if you charge your car to 100% and leave it like that for a long time is not a good plan. Similarly dropping the charge down to 0% and leaving it like that for a long time is a very bad idea. Most people stick in the normal sweet spot of 20-80% for most of the car's life as an easy rule of thumb.

It comes down in part to buying the car with range that works for you, come rain or shine, winter and summer. So if you have a high-mileage car then the need to push the boundaries of SOC to the limits are less likely. If you have a car with low mileage (compared with your needs) then you are likely to push the SOC to the limits more often.
 
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