Which Electric Cars Offer The Best Warranties?

JAN 18 2019 BY JIM GORZELANY 17

THEY AFFORD PEACE OF MIND KNOWING YOU’RE COVERED IF SOMETHING GOES WRONG, BUT PAY ATTENTION TO THE FINE PRINT.

One of the benefits of buying a brand new electric vehicle is getting a warranty from the manufacturer that covers the cost of any necessary repairs because of component failure for a set period. Warranty coverage is typically expressed as extending for a set number of years or miles from the original purchase date (for example, 3 years/36,000 miles), whichever comes first.

Warranty terms can vary significantly from one brand to another. Longer coverage is always better, especially if you’re in the market for a recent vintage used electric vehicle like those listed here on MYEV.com. That’s because all or part of the remaining time/miles on a vehicle’s warranty coverage usually extends to a second owner, albeit with certain restrictions.

WHAT’S COVERED

Like other vehicle types, an EV’s warranty coverage is broken down into two major components, comprehensive and powertrain coverage. Comprehensive (“full”) coverage applies to parts and labor costs for covered repairs. Powertrain coverage is usually in effect for a longer period and applies specifically to major mechanical components like the electric motor and transmission. Not typically covered is scheduled maintenance service, wear-and-tear items like brake linings and windshield wiper blades, and failure caused by abuse or improper maintenance.

Importantly, federal regulations mandate that an EV’s battery pack, arguably its most costly component, be covered for at least eight years or 100,000 miles. For its part, Hyundai extends this to lifetime coverage on the new-for-2019 Kona Electric.

Automakers’ warranties also include specific coverage against corrosion. However, this applies to body panels that have been completely “rusted through,” and not to mere paint bubbling. In addition, many manufacturers include roadside assistance programs with value-added features that rival the benefits of auto-club memberships.

THE FINE PRINT

Be aware, however, that every new-vehicle warranty contains exceptions and exclusions. For example, some automakers only cover an EV’s battery pack against total failure, while others, including BMW, Chevrolet, Nissan, Tesla (Model 3) and Volkswagen will replace it if it reaches a specified reduced capacity percentage, usually 60-70%, while under warranty.

Some brands will transfer whatever remains of the original warranty to a second owner, while others may impose limitations on this. For example, the 10-year powertrain warranty on Hyundai, and Kia models applies only to the original buyer, with a subsequent owner receiving whatever remains of five years’ coverage from the date on which it was originally sold.

Also, select components, most notably tires and dealer-installed accessories, can have separate warranties backed by the original-equipment manufacturers, and come with their own exclusions.

Be sure to check the fine print at the dealership or via the manufacturer’s website (usually under an “owners” tab) to get the full story on any model you’re considering.

COMPARING COVERAGE

Here’s an overview of the warranty coverage included with 2019 model-year electric vehicles:

ModelBasic

Coverage

Powertrain

Coverage

Corrosion

Coverage

Roadside AssistanceBattery

Coverage

BMW i34/50,0004/50,00012/Unlimited4/Unlimited8/100.000
Chevrolet Bolt EV3/36,0005/60,0006/100,0005/60,0008/100,000
Fiat 500e4/50,0004/50,0005/Unlimited4/Unlimited8/100,000
Honda Clarity Electric3/36,0005/60,0005/Unlimited3/36,0008/100,000
Hyundai Kona Electric5/60,00010/100,0007/Unlimited5/UnlimitedUnlimited
Jaguar i-Pace5/60,0005/60,0006/Unlimited5/60,0008/100,000
Kia Niro EV5/60,00010/100,0005/100,0005/60,00010/100,000
Kia Soul EV5/60,00010/100,0005/100,0005/60,00010/100,000
Nissan Leaf3/36,0005/60,0005/Unlimited3/36,0008/100,000
Smart ForTwo Electric Drive4/50,0004/50,0004/50,0004/50,0008/100,000
Tesla Model 34/50,0008/100,000 (long range 8/120,000)4/50,0008/100,000 (long range 8/120,000)
Tesla Model S4/50,0008/Unlimited4/50,0008/Unlimited
Tesla Model X4/50,0008/Unlimited4/50,0008/Unlimited
Volkswagen eGolf3/36,0005/60,0007/100,0003/36,0008/100,000

Categories: Chevrolet, General, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Nissan, Tesla

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17 Comments on "Which Electric Cars Offer The Best Warranties?"

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Very informative. Thanks!

Reported right here on IEV, 80% lease EVs (55% lease PHEV)…If it’s a “cheap” lease, you’re usually better off leasing and can often raise the annual mileage to 20K…Depreciation and degradation be damned!

Yes, that’s what I preach to my peeps in Cali n I’ve been doing this whole decade. Only lease till range is over 400 miles n quick charge to > 80% from zero < 40 min.
Just too many factors that often bring the epa estimated range down to a real world range near half the range estimate whether it’s speeding, heating/cooling cabin or batteries, excessive load or simply charging to less than 90% when quick charging. Of course right now my current bolt is slow as hell charging at any level.

If you lease because range issues then you are doing it for the wrong reason.
I never had an issue even with the short 83 mile range i have on my eGolf. I lease because it’s just cheaper than owning the car. It only costed me $5200 for 3 years after credits, always in warranty, always driving a car with the latest safety features and if you don’t like it you only put up with it for 3 years. What’s not to like?

Those lease deals aren’t available in many states and I wonder who is eating the losses on those? I probably pay more in depreciation buying my used 2015 i3 than many do leasing a new one, but I can’t get that kind of deal in my state.

My point is, leases are such a high percentage as people won’t pay money for the current crop of EVs (Tesla excluded). This is artificially inflating the sales of those EVs and basically proving to the market that “EVs are not profitable”. Glad we have Tesla to prove them wrong. As people say, Tesla could increase sales a lot by leasing, but not sure how much it would help profit yet (not until production is higher). I think they will use those as demand drivers in the future, but not yet.

*for U.S.

I think the powertrain n battery coverage in CA is 10/150k miles.

Seems like the new Kona ev and any model S/X would make for great high mileage commuters and rideshare vehicles with the unlimited battery coverage warranties they have.

“In California, automakers are required to warranty EV batteries for 10 years or 150,000 miles. … A 2016 review by the Department of Energy found that the most common EV battery warranty at the time was 8 years or 100,000 miles.” Aug 30, 2018
Forbes

Kudos to Hyundai for giving the Kona unlimited battery coverage with no max in time. No one else comes close to that right now.
I presume VW will have some outstanding warranty coverages for their upcoming new bevs to try n convince the public that VW is in the bev biz for the long haul. They have a lot of bad diesel deeds to try n make up for.

Let me guess: “does not cover battery capacity degradation”?

Very few do…but there is a % cut off.

I thought Hyundai warranty isn’t transferable because it is limited to original owner ONLY.

Also, can’t be used for commercial applications…. Hmm, Lyft and Uber count against that?

What’s missing is battery capacity warranty. Above listed are for dead battery scenarios, not 35% down or whatever percentage they happen to cover. It’s also unknown the duration for capacity warranty; they may not be 8yr/100K miles for all.

– One of the most important values is missing: What’s the percentage of the battery capacity that is guarranteed?! It’s even mentioned in the article in one sentence, but no values in the table?! (BTW: Renault Zoe with rented battery 75% and Smart IIRC 80%, at least in Germany)
– I always thought that the Roadside Assistance is _only_ valid if you don’t miss the maintenance interval and you go to an authorized repair shop then (which can be quite expensive, sometimes even more expensive than for ICE car). So some people will prefer giving money to an automobile club instead…

notting

Be sure to check the fine print indeed. While happy with my Leaf I did ready how the battery warranty actually works. If it falls below 70% SOH within the warranty period Nissan can opt to simply repair the pack enough to bring it above 70% capacity. Not tremendously re-assuring.

70% is a lot better than I got with my 2007 Honda Civic Hybrid battery. Honda reprogrammed my car after 2 years giving it lower MPG (overall 50 when new, 42 after 2 years). After 5 years, my battery’s capacity was down to 16% and my MPG was down to 38. Honda said there was no official guarantee, but that they would replace it when it got down to 15%.

What about capacity warranties on the main battery? That is the biggest issue or concern for most EV drivers. IE I had a KIA SOUL EV and the battery dropped 20-30% over night after just 2 years. KIA did cover it but took over a month. All 20 of their vehicles in the Phoenix area failed. Ours even has the controller shut down twice in traffic from over heating. That is not even stated in a warranty.
A LEAF we had also lost lots of capacity over 10-15% a year but the Nissan capacity update didn’t cover us. In FACT after 4 years they would not even test the capacity for free. I’ll never own a LEAF again with no liquid cooling or a KIA-Hyundai EV.