When buying a new car, reliability should be a primary determining factor. Electric cars have a confusing reputation from a reliability standpoint. While these vehicles tend to have top-of-the-line technology and efficiency features, many models are notorious for breaking down frequently.
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So, how can you avoid buying a lemon and ensure your electric car has the wherewithal to remain on the road? Here’s our advice on the most reliable electric vehicles of 2023.
But First: Are Electric Vehicles More Reliable Than Gas?
Research whether electric cars are more reliable than gas, and you’ll get mixed reviews. Some analysts state that electric vehicles require 10%-15% less maintenance than those with internal combustion engines, and this gap increases as you compare EVs to older vehicles. That’s explained in part because electric cars have fewer moving parts than those with gas engines, meaning there’s less to go wrong mechanically.
However, research is starting to show that you won’t always get what you pay for—at least with high-end electric vehicles. In fact, a Consumer Reports study found that cars in the $35,000-$45,000 range actually scored better on reliability metrics than those priced above $75,000. Industry darling Telsa scored second to last, beaten only in unreliability by Ford’s Lincoln.
That’s not to say that expensive EVs are built worse than budget-friendly models. You can actually attribute most of the blame to the high-tech gadgetry within them. Luxury EVs tend to have top-of-the-line features like touchscreen controls, large LED screens, and even the capacity for over-the-air software updates. However, these extra features offer more opportunities for things to go wrong, and much of this interior technology is new enough to be buggy still.
In this sense, you’re more likely to walk away with a reliable car if you skip the bells and whistles and instead commit to one with fewer parts to break down. That’s why our recommendations for the most reliable EVs all fall under the $50,000 price line.
The most reliable EVs: our top picks
Highlights: Budget-friendly Kia breaks its own mold with the Kia Niro, a high-end car that’s a winner for performance and reliability.
- EV Range: 113 MPGe, 253-mile range
- Battery Type: 64 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery
- Rated Power: 201 horsepower
- Price: starts at $39,450
Winning Consumer Report’s top placement for reliability, the Kia Niro EV is a car you can count on. It’s priced a little higher than the competition at $39,450 but has a reputation for reliability and quality production. While Kia used to be known as a budget-friendly car company, its vehicles now compete favorably against legacy brands.
This car is a versatile, all-electric hatchback with a Smart Power Tailgate and up to 63.7 cu. ft of cargo space. It has a 64 kWh battery that generates 201 horsepower over its 253 driving range, and the car can smoke past many other EVs with a 6.7-second acceleration to 60 mph.
Also included in the car is a driver-centric 20-inch touchscreen interface. Use if for navigation, convenience, entertainment, diagnostic help, and general vehicle information. Start the car with a Digital Key through your iPhone or Samsung Pass smartphone that lets you set permissions to lock or start the engine remotely.
While this model wouldn’t be considered luxurious, passengers will appreciate the ample legroom as the Niro boasts more interior space than a Tesla Model 3. It also includes thoughtful features like an interior climate control system that automatically shuts off when it detects an empty passenger seat, which saves the electric battery in the long run.
Highlights: Reliable yet powerful, the Chevy Bolt charges quickly and has a large drive range—making it ideal for daily use.
- EV Range: 120 MPGe, 259-mile range
- Battery Type: 65 kWh 350 V lithium-ion
- Rated Power: 200 horsepower
- Price: Starts at $25,600
The Chevy Bolt is largely responsible for putting electric cars on the map for the average consumer. Years later, it’s still a stellar pick for a daily-use vehicle. This small yet feature-packed all-electric hatchback will travel up to 259 miles, and you can add up to 100 miles to the battery in just a 30-minute charging session.
Though small, the car’s interior comes equipped with comfortable seats (and plenty of legroom in the rear!). It includes an easy-to-use 10.2-inch infotainment system with four energy screens for real-time driver information. Get updates on how your car’s energy is being used based on the terrain and customize charging based on your location, schedule, and even utility rates.
Adding to the car’s reputation for reliability, it comes equipped with industry-leading safety features like forward collision and lane departure warnings. Those who go premium will enjoy a 360-degree camera, blind-spot monitoring, and adaptive cruise control.
Despite its reputation as a commuter car, customer reviews share that the Bolt is a lot of fun to drive, thanks to a torquey, well-balanced build. Expect to go from 0 to 60 in 6.5 seconds. And beyond the car’s impressive performance, it also earns stellar ratings for reliability. In fact, Consumer Reports awarded it a perfect reliability score of 5/5 from 2017-2020.
2023 Kia EV6
Highlights: Though on the pricier side, the Kia EV6 is a car practically without compromise—it offers great range, fast charging, and plenty of cargo space.
- EV Range: 105-117 MPGe, 231-310 miles, depending on model
- Battery Type: 8.0-kWh and a 77.4-kWh pack, depending on model
- Rated Power: Between 167 and 577 horsepower, depending on model
- Price: starts at $48,500
Another winning Kia vehicle, the EV6 is a sporty SUV that showcases a powerful all-electric engine and a low center of gravity. The car is made from ultra-high strength steel to give it a lighter, stronger structure for better handling.
You can purchase the EV6 with a single motor mounted on the rear axle or with motors on both the front and back for AWD and faster acceleration. But even with one motor, you’ll still go from 0-60 mph in 4.6 seconds. Take advantage of the EV6’s versatile charging infrastructure, which works with both 400v and 800v DC fast chargers. In just 18 minutes of charging time with an 800v charger, you can add up to 217 miles to the car’s range.
The interior has dual 12.3-inch curved touchscreen displays for entertainment and in-the-moment driving information. Both are built with a blue light filter to reduce eye strain and driver fatigue on the road. Connect your smartphone or Apple watch to the vehicle through Kia Connect, and you can remotely control charging rates, set the interior temperature, and more.
And as with many 2023 models, you get a smart parking assist feature. When activated, the vehicle will automatically control the steering wheel and speed to get you safely into tight spots.
As an SUV, the EV6 doesn’t compromise on cargo space. Not only does it come with 50.2 cu. ft of trunk space, but you’ll also get extra front interior storage and a 2,300 lb towing capacity for traveling with your toys. From a reliability standpoint, Consumer Reports predicts the EV6 should fair better than the average car. It can handle tough terrain and has a driving range long enough to keep you out of a challenging situation. Plus, its quick charging time means this is an SUV you can take on vacation without hesitation.
Highlights: This hatchback electric car is an award-winning electric vehicle with super-quick charging capacities, meaning it’s guaranteed to get you where you need to go.
- EV Range: 120 MPGe, 258-mile range
- Battery Type: 64-kWh lithium-ion battery pack
- Rated Power: 201 horsepower
- Price: Starts at $33,550
As a subcompact car, the fully-electric Hyundai Kona is roomy enough for daily use and offers a hatchback for ample storage and easy access. This car doesn’t skimp on performance, as it travels up to 258 miles per charge. Regarding the interior, you’ll get heated front seats (standard on the 2023 model) and an infotainment system that’s compatible with both Apple and Android systems.
Despite its somewhat scrappy build, the car’s 64 kWh lithium-ion battery provides up to 201 horsepower and 291 lb-ft of torque. Running out of battery isn’t a serious concern, as the vehicle can recharge up to 80 percent in an hour.
The Kona is the winner of the 2019 North American Utility Vehicle of the Year, and it’s long been considered one of the best electric vehicles available for under $50,000. And along with its lack of tailpipe emissions, Hyundai itself is working to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045 through more efficient cars and technology innovations like hydrogen energy.
Safety-wise, this car is equipped with all standard features and many more—including blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alerts, lane following, drive attention warnings, and lane following. One drawback–this sporty car is known for its cramped rear row and small cargo hold.
Highlights: Both models of the Nissan LEAF offer a reliable vehicle that gives you the best of what electric power can offer. Keep your expectations realistic; considering the price, don’t expect a luxury vehicle.
- EV Range: 121 MPGe, 212-mile range
- Battery Type: 40 kWh lithium-ion battery
- Rated Power: 147 to 214 hp (based on engine size)
- Price: Starts at $28,040
Compact and efficient, the Nisson LEAF makes sense for city and highway driving alike. Don’t expect many luxury features at this price point, although the LEAF makes up for its lack of flash with solid performance and reliability.
But even so, this EV employs a push-button start, NissanConnect infotainment screen, automatic temperature control, and a wide range of modern safety features that make driving less precarious. These include Nisson ProPILOT Assist for help with highway driving and an Intelligent Around View Monitor that gives you a virtual 360-degree view of surroundings for easier parking in tight spaces.
Refreshed for 2023, the newest model Nissan leaf has a flashier exterior with a sporty front grille, redesigned bumper molding and headlamps, and a black finish. Within the car, you’ll find an eight-inch touchscreen, four USB ports, a four-speaker audio system, and a remote heating/precooling system for commuter comfort.
The amount of power per charge depends on the model: the standard LEAF has a 40-kWh electric motor that’s good for 150 miles, while the PLUS’s 62-kWh engine lets it push through to 226 miles with 250 lb of torque. This makes it mid-tier compared to other EVs, although relatively impressive for the price.
Highlights: A classic of hybrid cars, the Prius Prime offers the potential to run off both battery power and gas—although it does neither better than the competition.
- EV Range: 133 MPGe, 40-mile electric drive range
- Battery Type: 8.8 kWh 352 V lithium-ion
- Rated Power: 1220 horsepower
- Price: Starts at $28,220 for 2022 model (2023 model pricing will be announced Spring of 2023)
Now considered a classic in the world of plug-in electric vehicles, the Toyota Prius is still a good bet. The car is known for its fuel efficiency and impressive drive range, as it makes it up to 54 mpg with city/highway driving. Once you use up the car’s electric capacity, it switches to a gas engine, meaning you’ll never be stranded so long as a gas station is nearby. Thanks to a large cargo hold, upscale interior, and robust tech and safety features, it makes for a stellar daily use car.
As the battery is smaller than those in fully electric vehicles, it can charge from empty in just 5.5 hours on a 120-volt household outlet. For driver convenience, the Prius Prime includes a large 12.3-inch multimedia display to access everything from driving information to entertainment. Download a digital key to your smartphone for car access from anywhere.
The 2023 Prius comes with an updated Hybrid Synergy Drive that maximizes the performance of both the gas engine and electric motors. Plus, the car will make dealing with slow commutes easier with Traffic Jam Assist, which operates your gas and brake pedals for travel within stop-and-go traffic.
Just note that this car isn’t one for showing off from a speed standpoint, as it offers a less-than-impressive acceleration speed. Likewise, the car’s multiple fuel types mean there are more internal systems to go wrong. But even so, the Toyota line remains a standout in the industry for its reliability. The Prius Prime itself earns a Reliability score of 74 out of 100 from Consumers Reports, making it well above average compared to competitors.
Highlights: Indulge in an environmentally sound sports car with the Mach-E, Ford’s electric vehicle answer to the Mustang.
- EV Range: 90 MPGe, 247-mile range
- Battery Type: 68 or 88 kWh usable capacity battery
- Rated Power: 266-480 horsepower
- Price: Starts at $46,895
Designed in part as an homage to its sportier cousin, the Mustang, the Mach-E might just be fun enough to convince you you’re driving one. This vehicle started the development process as an electrified Focus, but Ford executives made the pivot to make a car that more resembled the cool factor of a Mustang.
Today, the Mach-E is Ford’s first fully electric vehicle. It’s a five-passenger SUV with AWD that Consumers Reports rates as more reliable than the average car. You’ll get a sporty feel with how it handles acceleration, though the car’s electric motor means it lacks that distinctive gas engine revving. Even so, it can reach 60 mph in an impressive 5.8 seconds. Or, invest in the GT model for a blisteringly-fast 3.8 seconds from 0 to 60.
The car also boasts a large battery pack that gives it close to a 250-mile range per charge, and the large center touchscreen adds an expensive feel. In fact, drivers may find it resembles the Tesla Model Y, Audi e-Tron, and Jaguar I-Pace from a luxury sports car standpoint.
The Mach E comes with a “frunk” or front trunk. This bonus space works for storing groceries and messy gear, and you can also fill it with ice to use as a cooler (the included drain ensures easy cleanup).
You can charge the Mach-E quickly, adding up to 52 miles of range in just ten minutes with a DC fast charger, or charge it from 10 to 80% full in under 45 minutes. But unlike these vehicles, the Mach E has a reputation for durability and reliability.