The Motor Ombudsman’s (TMO) latest complaint data regarding EVs from Q4 2023 is very interesting. Just 0.4% of all new EV registrations in the UK made a complaint; as the TMO noted, it illustrated “a positive purchase and ownership experience for today’s EV adopters.”

Broken down by individual categories, here is how the complaints lined up;

1. Customer service and purchase issues (29%)

Mirroring the trend seen throughout 2023, customer service issues at the point of purchase and during ownership remained the key driver of complaints about EVs during the final quarter of the year. They made up the same proportion of disputes as in Q3 (29%).

Concerns stemmed from factors such as a lack of transparency about vehicles with existing recalls at the point of sale, remedial recall work taking time to be carried out, administrative and documentation errors, and businesses supplying courtesy cars in substandard condition.

2. Chassis and motor issues (17%)

The proportion of complaints relating to the chassis and motor areas of the vehicle fell by three percentage points to 17% from 1 October to 31 December, down from 20% seen during the two preceding quarters. Examples of vehicle parts in this category that led to customer dissatisfaction included the suspension, tyres, and brakes, with failures, faults, and defects all in the spotlight during Q4.

3. Electrical and software issues (16%)

Problems resulting from electrical systems and software were up very slightly. EVs are so heavily reliant on electrical systems that when problems occur, they can cause more pronounced operational issues with vehicles.

4. Interior and cabin systems issues (11%)

Interior and cabin systems saw a one percentage point rise in the fourth quarter.

5. Exterior issues (8%)

Concerns encountered with the vehicle exterior dropped to 8%.

6. Charging issues (8%)

Disputes about an EV’s on-board charging system rose from 5% in Q2 to 6% in Q3.   Being unable to achieve advertised charging speeds was a point highlighted.

7. Battery issues (6%)

Battery issues fell by four percentage points from 10% in Q3 to 6%.

8. Range issues (5%)

Range concerns, which principally result from consumers not achieving the advertised distance for a full charge, drove the fewest number of disputes once again during the last quarter of 2023, mirroring what was witnessed in Q3. However, complaints increased in this area (from 1% to 5%).

What I find particularly interesting and useful to dealers and consumers is the low number of disputes about the core battery/charging./range issues that are likely to be so important to buyers considering making the switch to an EV.

Debbie McKay, Commercial Sales Director

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