3 Things to Know Before Filing an EV Lemon Law Claim

May 28, 2024 by BBB AUTO LINE Team

Are you thinking about going electric? You are not alone. In 2023, electric vehicle (EV) sales hit record-breaking numbers, with nearly 1.2 million Americans opting to buy an EV. As manufacturers capitalize on this growing market and introduce a broader range of models, the momentum toward fully electric cars will only increase. Add in recent government initiatives aimed at expanding the network of charging stations across the country, and the message is clear: electric vehicles are the future. 

But with new technology comes new questions

You might be wondering how lemon laws differ from EVs to traditional gas-powered cars. The good news is that most lemon laws treat EVs the same as traditional vehicles. Whether you choose gas, electric, or hybrid, manufacturers must fix, replace, or refund serious defects impacting safety, value, or use. 

In fact, twenty-four of the world’s largest car manufacturers offer a free and easy way to resolve warranty and lemon law issues through BBB AUTO LINE, and it’s here to help if your shiny new EV (or any car) turns out to be a lemon.  

To understand your rights and options even better, check out these resources:

  1. Lemon Laws 101: Read this quick guide for a refresher on the basics of lemon laws. 
  2. Find Your State’s Rules: Every state has unique rules on lemon laws. Knowing the details for yours will make sure you can protect yourself. 

 

Now that you’re armed with this knowledge, let’s look into three key things you need to know about electric cars and lemon laws:

 

1. EV Battery Issues: Likely Not Covered by Lemon Laws 

While EVs come with standard warranties and a separate battery warranty from the manufacturer – usually covering batteries for 8 years or 100,000 miles, whichever comes first – that doesn’t automatically mean you can file a lemon law claim if your battery has issues. 

Most states’ lemon laws don’t cover separate warranties like the one for EV batteries. So, even if your battery acts up within the warranty timeframe, filing a lemon law claim might not be an option. 

Lemon laws have specific rules about what’s covered, and currently, only California includes coverage for separate warranties. Also, lemon laws have strict timeframes for filing disputes, which might be shorter than your battery warranty, depending on your state.

What does this mean for you? 

While the chance of needing a lemon law claim for a battery is low, thanks to extended warranties, knowing your options is essential. It’s best to check your state’s lemon law to understand your rights should something go wrong. 

 

2. The EV Repair Process Can Look Different 

While lemon laws remain applicable to EVs, the repair process can differ from traditional vehicles. Many EV manufacturers offer mobile service technicians who can fix issues directly at your home or workplace, even if you’re not there. 

For more complex repairs, convenient vehicle pickup and return services are often available, ensuring minimal inconvenience and disruption. Plus, EV manufacturers are leveraging technology to fix issues remotely, meaning your car is never out of sight. 

While the repair process may differ for EVs, the bottom line remains: if your car has a serious issue after multiple attempts to fix it, the manufacturer must make it right. 

 

3. Remote EV Fixes Makes Documentation Essential 

Keeping detailed records is crucial for any potential lemon law claim, even more so with EVs. With repairs happening at service centers, your home, or even remotely, carefully tracking everything is crucial to filing a claim. 

Make sure to document:

  • Every repair attempt: Date, location (including mobile service or over-the-air updates), description of the issue, work performed, and its outcome. 
  • Vehicle downtime: Dates your car was unavailable due to repairs, regardless of location.
  • Service records: Request details from the manufacturer on how they track repairs, including work descriptions, completion dates, and effectiveness notes.
  • Remote updates: Learn how the manufacturer handles remote fixes and whether they provide confirmation of completion.

 

Detailed documentation strengthens your case by demonstrating the severity and persistence of the issue, especially when repairs occur outside traditional service centers. 

Additional note: As EVs become more connected and data-driven, privacy concerns are emerging. BBB National Programs and BBB AUTO LINE are closely monitoring this issue and advocating for the responsible use of in-vehicle data. 

 

Need help with an EV warranty or lemon law issue?

Lemon laws involving electric vehicles can be complicated. If you have an unresolved dispute involving an EV defect covered by the manufacturer’s warranty, BBB AUTO LINE may be able to assist you. 

BBB AUTO LINE is one of the largest and longest-running out-of-court mediation and arbitration dispute resolution programs in the United States. For the past 40 years, we have helped consumers and businesses resolve vehicle warranty, lemon law, and class action disputes in a hassle-free, timely, and cost-effective manner. 

For your claim to be eligible for BBB AUTO LINE support, it must involve one of our participating manufacturers and fall within their eligibility guidelines. Additional requirements may also apply. 

To learn more about BBB AUTO LINE or to open a claim, go to bbbautoline.org or call us at 1-800-955-5100. 

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