How Reliable Is an Electric Car Engine?


The CarsDirect editorial team is dedicated to providing our readers with the latest on new and used cars, expert opinions on which vehicles make the grade, and all the fun stuff in between.

, - July 29, 2019

How reliable is an electric car engine? Will an electric car need regular repair or is it liable to run without trouble for several years? The technology of electric cars is still very new and most people know very little about the reliability of an electric engine. With the vehicles being so expensive, no one wants to be pouring money into repair bills anytime in the immediate future. However, electric car engines are far more reliable than their gas counterparts.

Moving Parts

It's the moving parts in a regular gasoline or diesel engine that tend to fail over time and can include anything from the pistons to the belts. The great advantage of an electric car engine is that it has no moving parts so these cannot fail in the same manner.

Since wearing parts can sometimes be the most expensive repairs on a car, owners of electric vehicles will find themselves saving large sums of money on repairs. That's not to say an electric car doesn't have parts that can fail, but these aren't found in the engine. Instead, they will be in other areas such as the wheels or the brakes. Unfortunately, this is inevitable with every vehicle on the road.


A dead battery in a regular car means the vehicle won't start and that's especially true for an electric car which relies on the battery to run actually the electric car engine. However, unlike most cars, it's not a simple job of putting another battery in an electric car.

Nissan Leaf

The batteries are extremely heavy and bulky and often weigh over 1000 pounds. Replacing them is a professional job that will require towing the electric car to a garage capable of doing the work. Batteries for electric cars are also incredibly expensive and initial testing has indicated that they will usually require replacing within the first three years of use.

What Can Fail on an Electric Car Engine?

Essentially, there are two possible points of failure on an electric car engine and these are the battery and the connections. The battery problem is one that no amateur mechanic can handle and the same applies to problems with connections. These can be extremely complex and will need specialized equipment to trace any defects.

Unlike gasoline or diesel cars, which can sometimes limp to a garage even with some engine problems, a broken connection on an electric car engine is going to bring it to a standstill. With an engine problem on an electric car, the vehicle simply won't go. However, there have been relatively few problems with connections on electric cars to date and battery failures have been surprisingly rare.


At present, the big weakness of most electric cars is the fact that they can't travel too far or for too long on a single battery charge. To fully charge a battery back up can take up to 8 hours or more. These limits mean that if stuck in a traffic jam with the engine on, the charge level will keep falling until the charge in the battery expires. If this happens, you are well and truly stuck.

As electric cars become more widespread, this is likely to become the biggest factor affecting electric engine reliability. The country will need to invest in building a network of public charging stations in urban and rural areas. Thankfully, this is about the only area where electric car engines fail a reliability test.

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The CarsDirect editorial team is dedicated to providing our readers with the latest on new and used cars, expert opinions on which vehicles make the grade, and all the fun stuff in between.

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