Are Electric Cars More Reliable Than Gasoline Cars?

Electric vehicles are more reliable than vehicles with internal combustion engines due to their fewer parts. Learn about how electric cars compare to gasoline cars in terms of reliability.

Are Electric Cars More Reliable Than Gasoline Cars?

Electric vehicles are more dependable than cars with internal combustion engines, as they have fewer components. The average engine contains hundreds of moving parts that require maintenance and replacement, while an electric vehicle relies on a battery, transmission, and engine. Electric vehicles (EVs) have fewer moving parts than gasoline-powered cars. According to proponents, this mechanical simplicity should lead to fewer part failures and to vehicles becoming more reliable over time. The Environmental Protection Agency states that charging a hybrid or all-electric vehicle can cause pollution at the power plant, but the total emissions from driving cars are lower than those of cars that run on gasoline.

Power's research revealed that electric vehicle owners often report great satisfaction with their cars despite reliability issues. The owners reported problems “related to battery packs, charging, electric drive motors and the unique heating and cooling systems that are required in vehicles that lack a conventional engine.” Electric vehicles should be more reliable than an internal combustion engine car because they have fewer moving parts and less complexity, Fisher said. However, when the MIT study calculated a comparison where electric vehicles lasted only 90,000 miles on the road instead of 180,000 miles, they were still 15 percent better than a hybrid car and much better than a gas-powered car. According to Consumer Reports, compared to hybrid and gas-powered cars and trucks, electric vehicles powered exclusively by batteries were the worst performing segment, apart from traditional full-size trucks. State and federal incentives and new environmental regulations have encouraged greater adoption of all-electric cars inside and outside the United States. Electric vehicles can also become greener over time as the energy supplied from clean or renewable resources, such as nuclear, solar and wind, increases. However, electric cars are actually much better in terms of their impact on the climate compared to internal combustion vehicles.

The most common problems occurred with the software, which took up to five days to repair, compared to a three-day repair for gasoline cars and four days for diesel engines. Battery electric cars may not emit greenhouse gases through their exhaust pipes, but some emissions are created in the process of building and charging vehicles. Over their lifespan, electric vehicles will generate less carbon emissions than cars that burn gasoline in almost any condition. New vehicle sales last year were a small but growing number that will increase in the next decade as car manufacturers release more offers and more consumers discover some of the advantages over gas-powered cars. Despite the simplicity of the powertrain, electric car owners report more problems during the first few years of ownership.

When they did the calculations for West Virginia, with a lot of carbon, the electric vehicle actually generated more carbon emissions than the hybrid, but even less than the gasoline car.