Which Electric Cars Offer The Best Warranties?
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.
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.
Here’s an overview of the warranty coverage included with 2019 model-year electric vehicles:
|Chevrolet Bolt EV||3/36,000||5/60,000||6/100,000||5/60,000||8/100,000|
|Honda Clarity Electric||3/36,000||5/60,000||5/Unlimited||3/36,000||8/100,000|
|Hyundai Kona Electric||5/60,000||10/100,000||7/Unlimited||5/Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Kia Niro EV||5/60,000||10/100,000||5/100,000||5/60,000||10/100,000|
|Kia Soul EV||5/60,000||10/100,000||5/100,000||5/60,000||10/100,000|
|Smart ForTwo Electric Drive||4/50,000||4/50,000||4/50,000||4/50,000||8/100,000|
|Tesla Model 3||4/50,000||8/100,000 (long range 8/120,000)||—||4/50,000||8/100,000 (long range 8/120,000)|
|Tesla Model S||4/50,000||8/Unlimited||—||4/50,000||8/Unlimited|
|Tesla Model X||4/50,000||8/Unlimited||—||4/50,000||8/Unlimited|