Over the years I have seen some poor examples of Tesla build quality and I’ve also spoken first hand with some of the teams that were responsible for sorting these issues, I have seen first hand the rate of improvement over the years, however, Tesla still gets stereotyped as being poor build quality wise and whilst this is sometimes warranted (US panel gaps 🙄) often it’s not the case anymore. During my recent research of other electric vehicles to replace our Hyundai Kona EV & live alongside our Tesla Model S I thought it was quite interesting to note down common problems that I spotted in other manufacturer groups/clubs/forums, below are my findings.
Before we start I think it’s important to point out the following:
- I’m picking out faults on purpose here, I’m sure the vast majority of cars overall are well-liked or even loved by their owners.
- I’m sure the same negatively aimed analysis could be done for all brands, types of vehicles and fuel types have their own problems, no car is perfect and there will always be problems of some description with all cars.
- I’m not suggesting for one minute these issues are common on all vehicles, issues will vary wildly between vehicles, build dates, countries, the pickiness of owners and equally this list is not exhaustive I’m sure I’ve missed plenty of issues that might have now been sorted on newer models or simply weren’t being discussed at the time I looked.
- The fact these are all-electric vehicles is just because that is my passion/focus and I wouldn’t be seen dead in a petrol/diesel car so I’m not comparing these vehicles in this analysis.
- I do think it’s important to factor in the time in which these companies have been building cars compared with Tesla, that said the vast majority of these vehicles are fairly new to the market and like anything that’s new it will often take a few iterations to iron out the kinks.
- I’m not suggesting that Tesla are perfect, I know first hand Tesla that isn’t always the case and sometimes you can have two vehicles that were built in the same week but one with problems and one without.
- Don’t let this list put you off buying an EV, even the worst EV is likely superior in many ways to the petrol/diesel equivalent.
- I believe it’s important to not be blindly focused on stereotypes and equally realise that the grass isn’t always greener on the otherside, which in my opinion, proves that Tesla has done something quite incredible with many aspects of their vehicles (even if they’re not always perfect).
App issues, software bugs, crap dealers, sluggish screen, paint problems, long part delays and bricked cars after software updates.
Rattles, 4G/App issues, bumpers slightly dropping causing bonnet panel gaps with dealers unable to help so owners DIY’ng fixing, QI wireless phone charging issues for iPhone 12 (no ETA on fix), mist in rear lights, paint marks, gloss black interior scratches and OTA updates nuking the cars (owners told to only update the cars when not charging).
App Connectivity, Carplay issues, central locking errors, virtual mirror problems, rattles, dealerships catching up / reluctant to understand the cars, battery problems, 3-week wait for parts, cars in for multiple weeks at service (e.g. 5 weeks for 1 issue) and charging problems.
Poor dealers, charging issues, H288 Wiring Harness (7 day fix), data doesn’t work when moving countries (e.g. touring EU) and connectivity issues when on 4G.
CCS problems (could just be the networks), App Connectivity, Fitment of rear Q window chrome, rear spoiler not seating properly, paint problems, phone connectivity and software bugs.
Navigation updates bricking the nav, Frozen door handles (shhh Model 3 owners), rear door handle scratches, app really slow, windows not fully closing, paint defects and static shocks when leaving the car (when it’s dry).
Phantom braking, rattles, poor brakes, drivetrain failures, poor grip (thanks to the skinny wheels) which also can lead to difficult to replace situations in puncture scenarios, pesky rear doors.
Phantom Braking, 12V battery problems, sat nav crashing and poor dealer handover/inspections.
Charging issues when rapid charging & phantom braking.
Hyundai Kona EV
Recall on main battery pack, tyres wearing out quickly, rattles, dealer network not always that clued up,
12V failures, AC charging failures, heater doesn’t work when charging, poor dealer networks, the app is fickle and 50kW charging still the standard!
MG ZS EV
Software updates which ended up reducing the usable range by 50% and then requiring owners to condition the battery for weeks to recover some of the range.
Fiat 500 EV
Infuriating software glitches on the launch model, delivery dates all over the place, app is fickle