Differing opinions about the durability of electric vehicles with conflicting marketing companies

Opinions seem mixed about the durability of electric vehicles (EVs), with two automakers coming out with conflicting claims about the reliability of the MOT based on their own data and observations.

Carwow claims that electric vehicles are more likely to pass their MOT tests.

But BookMyGarage claims that EVs have higher MOT failure rates than older gasoline and hybrid cars.

Research by Carwow shows that hybrids and electric vehicles are more likely to pass MoT tests on the first try than their gasoline and diesel counterparts.

Statistics obtained from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) via a Freedom of Information (FOI) request show that 14.84% of hybrids and 17.87% of pure electric vehicles failed the DOT at the first attempt between 2019 and 2021.

Gasoline vehicles averaged 20.07% failure rates over those three years, while diesels lived up to the field, with an average first-time failure rate of 23.11%.

fuel type

Number of exams, 2019-21

The number of failures

Ministry of Communications average failure rate *

hybrid

1,115,701

165611

14.84%

electrical

155.033

27701

17.87%

petrol

23,496,677

4,714,792

20.07%

diesel

25141752

5809650

23.11%

Hugo Griffiths, Article Editor at Carwow said: “It is positive to see hybrid cars and electric vehicles outperform their conventional petrol and diesel counterparts given how recently such vehicles have appeared on the market, and the fact that it has only been a few years since these will be the only types of cars that people will be able to buy new; that only bodes well in terms of future maintenance costs.”

Carow said that electric vehicles are likely to pass the Ministry of Communications test for the first time because they are subject to fewer checks as part of the Ministry of Transport. Gasoline and diesel vehicles are also subject to inspections of fuel lines, catalytic converters and diesel particulate filters; Since electric vehicles do not contain any of these elements, there are fewer chances for them to fail the test.

Hybrid vehicles are unlikely to fail the Ministry of Communications test for “noise, emissions and leaks,” according to the research.

Only 1.29% of hybrids that did not pass the DOT test failed in this category, compared to 6.46% for diesel vehicles, and 5.42% for gasoline vehicles.

Electric vehicles are more likely to have tire defects

While electric and hybrid vehicles are likely to pass the Ministry of Communications for the first time, they are more likely to fail to have tires that do not meet minimum legal requirements.

More than a third of electric vehicles (36.18%) that failed DOT had tires that did not meet the legal standards, while 33.24% of all failed hybrids had substandard tires.

As for diesel vehicles, the tire failure rate was 28.18%, while 25.94% of gasoline vehicles had faulty tires.

One possible reason for the tire failure rate of electric vehicles, Carowe said, is the instantaneous torque that these vehicles can deploy, which puts strong forces in the tires.

Likewise, electric vehicles tend to be heavier than petrol and diesel vehicles due to the weight of battery packs, with this extra mass also likely to cause tire wear.

Griffiths added: “Electric and hybrid vehicles are more likely to fail Department of Transportation tests for defective or damaged tires for road safety.

“This confirms what the narrative has been known for for years – that the instant torque and extra mass that electric vehicles bring is strong on tires – but should be a huge wake-up call for drivers to check their tyres.

“Those four spots of rubber may be unattractive and easy to forget, but they are the only thing keeping your car on the road, and the base tire tread, pressure and condition are checked regularly.”

The research also found that the likelihood of vehicles passing the DOT test with age is consistently lower, with the worst data success rate for nine-year-old diesel vehicles, of which only 65.81% passed the DOT on the first try.

Three-year-old hybrids had the best success rate, passing the test at 88.86%, while three-year-old gasoline vehicles were slightly more likely to pass the MoT for the first time than three-year-old electric vehicles.

Repetition rate at the age of three years

Repetition rate at the age of nine years

hybrid

11.14%

24.16%

EV

12.18%

25.54%

petrol

11.17%

31.71%

diesel

15.32%

34.19%

The statistics cover 49.9 million Ministry of Communications tests conducted on vehicles aged three to nine years during 2019, 2020 and 2021.

Electric vehicles are likely to fail the Ministry of Transport

However, research by BookMyGarage shows that electric vehicles have higher MoT failure rates than hybrids and gasoline vehicles of equivalent life.

The DVSA data, obtained through an FOI request, showed that electric vehicles have a failure rate of MoT of 11.4% for three-year-old vehicles, which rises to 21.8% for six-year-old vehicles.

At 11.2%, three-year-old hybrid vehicles are marginally less likely to fail, but six-year-old vehicles are 29% less likely to fail at a MoT than electric vehicles.

Gasoline vehicles have a failure rate of 10.7% after three years, which means they are 6% more likely to be exceeded than electric vehicles of the same age.

The study found diesel vehicles to perform the worst, with 15.1% of three-year-old vehicles failing. However, six-year-old diesel engines shared a failure rate similar to electric vehicles of 21.4%.

“One of the advantages of driving an electric vehicle is the reduction in maintenance required,” said Karen Rothberg, co-founder of BookMyGarage.

“Service intervals are typically longer than that of many petrol or diesel vehicles, and fewer components or fluids need to be replaced during the same service.

“However, this does not mean that electric vehicles are immune to safety defects.

“In fact, because electric vehicles are generally heavier than vehicles with internal combustion engines, the wear of some components – such as tires – can be greater.”

Tires are responsible for 22% of all EV MoT failures, compared to just 12% for all fuels.

Rothberg added: “Because electric vehicles require less maintenance, they are likely to make fewer visits to workshops, which means fewer safety inspections are carried out to check for potential defects.

“This data highlights the importance of regular maintenance and safety checks for electric vehicles, despite simpler service schedules, to ensure that any defects are detected before they become dangerous.”

The Freedom of Information request also revealed that an increasing number of electric vehicles are being tested each year. In 2021, nearly 76,000 electric vehicles were tested, a 36% increase from 2020 and a 68% increase from 2019.

However, with 337,002 electric vehicles registered in the past three years, this number is expected to rise over the coming years and garages will have to be willing to take on more maintenance and repair work on electric vehicles, BookMyGarage warns.

Dealers have been warned of inappropriately ramping up labor in their workshops as electric cars and trucks become commonplace or risk losing key customers.

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