Electric Vehicles Have ‘Embarrassing’ Number of Quality Issues Compared to Combustion Engines: 2022 Study

Electric Vehicles Have ‘Embarrassing’ Number of Quality Issues Compared to Combustion Engines: 2022 Study
An employee works on a Ford Motor Co. F-Series truck on the assembly line at the Ford Dearborn Truck Plant in Dearborn, Mich., on Jan. 26, 2022. (Jeff Kowalsky/AFP via Getty Images)
Naveen Athrappully

Battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) have turned out to have more problems than internal combustion engines (ICE), according to a new study by data analysis and advisory firm J.D. Power.

While ICE vehicles averaged 175 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100), this jumped to 239 among PHEVs and 240 among BEVs, a June 28 press release of the J.D. Power 2022 U.S. Initial Quality Study stated. Lower scores represented higher-quality vehicles.

The BEV assessment does not include Tesla models. Tesla PP100 data are shown separately from the BEV average since “the predominance of Tesla vehicles could obscure the performance of the legacy automakers that have recently introduced BEVs," J.D. Power stated.

Tesla models, which were included in the industry calculation for the first time, averaged 226 problems per 100 vehicles.

Overall, there was an 11 percent increase in problems per 100 vehicles, with the industry average hitting 180 PP100. Vehicle problems reached a record high in the 36-year history of the study. J.D. Power blamed disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, including personnel dislocations, record-high vehicle prices, and supply chain issues.

“In general, initial quality has shown steady improvement throughout the history of this study, so the decline this year is disappointing—yet understandable,” said David Amodeo, director of global automotive at J.D. Power, according to the press release.

“Automakers continue to launch vehicles that are more and more technologically complex in an era in which there have been many shortages of critical components to support them.”

Electric Mishaps

The report comes amidst a couple of electric vehicle recalls in recent weeks due to manufacturing defects. In June, Toyota Motors recalled 2,700 bZ4X SUVs globally. Toyota launched the bZ4X, the company's first mass-manufactured all-electric car, just a few months before the recall.

During sharp turns and sudden breaks, a hub bolt used in these vehicles was at risk of coming off, warned Japan’s safety regulator.

“It’s embarrassing,” said Christopher Richter, an analyst at CLSA, according to Reuters. “People have waited so long for Toyota to get a mass-market battery electric vehicle … and just a few weeks after they get it in the market there’s a recall.”
The same month, Ford recalled 48,924 Mustang Mach-E electric vehicles after discovering a defect with the car batteries that could lead to a loss of power while driving.
A study of 13,000 people from 18 countries published in May found that Americans were the least likely to buy an electric vehicle. While over 73 percent of Italians, 69 percent of Chinese, and 63 percent of South Koreans were committed to buying an EV, only 29 percent of Americans shared the enthusiasm.