Across all vehicle types, between 1st July and 30th September, The Motor Ombudsman (TMO) accepted 1,348 new complaint submissions from motorists, up 10% from Q2. Within this statistic, consumer disputes about electric vehicles (EVs) declined compared to the previous three months. In fact, during the first nine months of 2023, just 851 complaints were raised with the TMO, which is under 1% of all new EV registrations in the UK annually. The TMO noted that it illustrated “a positive purchase and ownership experience for today’s EV adopters.”

When it comes to EVs, nearly a third of complaints were not about the car but about customer service and purchase issues. Impressively, complaints about an EV’s range accounted for just one per cent of complaints.

In terms of a new/used split, 57% of complaints stemmed from a new car, with the remaining 39% arising from used purchases.

Broken down by category, the issues encountered by consumers buying an EV were as follows:

  • Customer service and purchase issues (29%)
  • Chassis and motor issues (20%) - faulty suspension arms, corrosion on alloy wheels, and tyres in poor condition led the TMOs data.
  • Electrical and software issues (15%) - Traction system failures and poor connectivity levels were among the concerns reported by consumers.
  • Battery issues (10%) - Batteries failing and draining too rapidly were factors encountered by EV owners.
  • Interior and cabin systems issues (10%) - displays malfunctioning and problems with the internal fixtures.
  • Exterior issues (9%) - defective elements of the bodywork. These included scratched and incorrectly bonded windscreens and door trims coming loose.
  • Charging issues (6%) - Faults on this part of the vehicle included charging flaps, not opening and cables not engaging correctly, whilst intermittent charging also caused frustration for EV owners.
  • Range issues (1%) - Range concerns resulting from consumers failing to achieve the advertised distance for a full charge drove the fewest number of disputes during the third quarter (1%), falling five percentage points between quarters. 

Debbie McKay, Commercial Director of Motor Sales

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