Many believe that electric vehicles are better quality than gas and are emission-free, making them much better for the environment. However, two recent studies have shown that electric cars have more quality problems than gas cars and are no better for the environment.
J.D. Company For 36 years, Power has produced the annual U.S. Initial Quality Study measures the quality of new vehicles based on feedback from owners. The latest study, which for the first time included Tesla in its industry calculation, found that battery electric vehicles (E.V.s) and plug-in hybrids have more quality problems than gas vehicles.
According to J.D. Power, owners of electric or hybrid vehicles report more problems than owners of gas vehicles. The latest vehicles average 175 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100), hybrids average 239 PP100, battery cars – excluding Tesla models – average 240 PP100, and Tesla models average 226 PP100. With the average cost of an electric vehicle being around $60,000, which is about $20,000 more than the price of a gas car, it seems E.V. owners aren’t getting the value they deserve.
Some have blamed supply chain disruptions caused by pandemic-related lockdowns as the leading cause of electric vehicle quality problems. Electric car manufacturers have been looking for alternative (sometimes less optimal) solutions for producing new vehicles. However, the same disruption to the supply chain has also affected manufacturers of gas-powered cars. Still, the top three brands, as measured by overall initial quality, are all gas vehicle manufacturers: Buick (139 PP100), Dodge (143 PP100), and Chevrolet (147 PP100).
Some have pointed to design as contributing to the E.V.’s quality problems. According to David Amodeo, global director of automotive at J.D. Power, automakers see E.V.s as “the vehicle that will transform us into the era of smart cars,” and that’s why they’ve packed E.V.s with technologies like touchscreens, Bluetooth, and voice. Recognition. Electric car manufacturers also prefer to use manufacturer-designed apps to “control certain car functions, from locking and unlocking the doors remotely to monitoring the battery charge.” Increasing technical complexity also increases the likelihood of problems. Not surprisingly, E.V. owners reported more infotainment and connectivity issues in their vehicles than gas vehicle owners. Amodeo acknowledged that “there is much room for improvement” for electric cars.
Electric cars are worse for the environment.
In addition to quality issues, a new study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that electric vehicles are worse for the environment than gas-powered vehicles. By quantifying the externalities (both greenhouse gases and local air pollution) generated by driving these vehicles, government subsidies for the purchase of electric cars, and taxes on electric and gas mileage, the researchers found that “electric vehicles create a negative environmental benefit. About -0.5 cents per mile compared to comparable gasoline vehicles (-1.5 cents per mile for non-metropolitan vehicles).
Specifically, the researchers pointed out that although regulators treat them as “zero-emission vehicles,” E.V.s are not zero-emissions. Charging an electric car increases electricity consumption. Renewable sources cover only 20 percent of the country’s electricity consumption. The remaining 80 percent was created by fossil fuels like coal and natural gas, despite billions of dollars in green subsidies.
“The comparison between a gasoline and electric vehicle is really a comparison between burning gasoline or a mixture of coal and natural gas to propel the vehicle,” according to The American Economic Review.