|Hybrid vehicles, and those powered by electricity in one form or another, have good predicted reliability in the Consumer Reports 2012 Annual Auto Reliability Survey.
The survey predicts the reliability of 2013 models based on tracking of the reliability of vehicles up to 10 years old.
This year’s analysis is based on data from 1.2 million 2003-12 model-year vehicles leased or owned by Consumer Reports subscribers.
Magazine editors noted that reliability is a high point this year for all hybrids but the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid. It was the only one that had a worse-than-average rating for predicted reliability.
The Toyota Prius, the Prius V (the larger hatchback Prius) and the new Prius Plug-in were all above average in predicted reliability.
The Chevrolet Volt, a plug-in hybrid, also has above-average predicted reliability.
The all-electric Nissan Leaf has above-average predicted reliability, and the editors said it was the Nissan model with the best predicted reliability.
“There’s no rocket science to electric cars,” said Jake Fisher, director of automotive testing for Consumer Reports. “There were electric cars before there were gas-powered cars; it seems to be a reliable technology.”
And despite dire predictions about the longevity of nickel-metal hydride batteries and the high cost of replacing them in hybrid vehicles, there have been few problems.
“We’ve got Priuses out there with 200,000 miles on them and 12 years in service,” and if a battery has a problem, it is very inexpensive to fix, Mr. Fisher said.
“So the whole thing about the sky falling and the $10,000 battery hasn’t happened,” he said.
The jury is still out, however, on the longevity of the new lithium-ion batteries that power the Leaf, Volt and Prius Plug-in, he said.
Subscribers can view the survey results at the Consumer Reports Web site. Nonsubscribers will be able to get access to a preview of the survey there. The complete survey will appear in the December issue of the magazine, which goes on sale Nov. 6.