Every year, the German car club Adac publishes statistics on passenger car breakdowns. The 12 V battery is still the most important source of problems for motorists across the Rhine. Including the electric models, the aging of the first copies of which was especially noticeable in 2021.
Blame it on the pandemic
Already last year, Adac had highlighted the influence of the Covid-19 pandemic on the number of reported breakdowns in Germany in passenger cars, all energy sources combined.
The figures for 2021 increase by 3.1% compared to the previous year: 3,492,335 calls received by breakdown services, compared to 3,385,699 in 2020.
Despite this increase, the volume of complaints is still 7% lower than that recorded in 2019. 9,268 interventions by German yellow vests have been carried out daily. With a record 21,627 premieres on February 15, 2021, when the cold was furious.
12 V battery
On the other hand, the verdict of problem-solving professionals has not changed throughout the Rhine: the complementary battery is still the main cause of the breakdowns in passenger cars. The rate is also incredibly stable: 46.2%, compared to 43.6% in 2020. Compared to 41.8% in 2019.
Under negative temperatures, lead accumulators hardly withstand several weeks of immobilization. When they are aging, a night with harsh temperatures can be enough to cause a lack of power to start the combustion engines. The latter are also more difficult to release under these conditions, under the effect of the thickening of the lubricating oil.
Adac estimates the average life of a 12 V battery at 5-6 years. The German car club notes that the longevity of this equipment can be improved by maintaining the power level using a safety charger connected to the garage if necessary.
Second cause of confirmed breakdowns in 2021, which strongly affects petrol and diesel cars, whether or not they are hybrid or even rechargeable: engine problems due to injection systems, ignition and various sensors (15.5%, compared to 16% in 2020). .
Then, with 14.8%, there are anomalies found in the steering, brakes, transmission, body or chassis. Dry breakdowns and punctures were not counted.
For its new statistics, Adac only kept the new cars registered between 2012 and 2019, and produced at least 10,000 copies in at least one year in this stretch.
Triple breakdowns in electric cars
In 2020, calls to German breakdown services in connection with a breakdown in an electric car were few. Only 9,000 interventions out of the 3,385,699 outings made that year. The specific share of electric vehicles accounted for only 0.27% of the applications received.
Adac had warned, however, that this exceptional situation reflected, even more than the reliability of the connected vehicles, its still relatively low age. ” Expect age-related wear and tear on electric cars in the coming years “, the association had warned.
So here we are, as calls related to electric cars have almost tripled (+ 178%) in 2021. With a volume of 25,000 cases, the share of interventions dedicated to them has risen to 0.72%. The rate remains low. But it has to do with the very significant growth of the recently launched electric models on the roads: about 356,000 units in 2021, and 194,000 in 2020.
Few problems with VE components
Also for electric cars, the main cause of the breakdowns has been the battery of the accessories. Adac has already highlighted the increase in the number of electronic devices on board to explain the greater vulnerability of 12 V batteries. A phenomenon that especially affects connected vehicles. They are often equipped with additional, high-end devices.
In 2020, these equipments, which still most frequently contain lead, accounted for 54% of the sources of breakdowns in electric cars. For 2021, the German car club has not provided figures, nor has it indicated so far the other causes that affect these models. General electricity and lighting accounted for 15.1% of calls recorded in 2020, and tires for 14.2%.
However, the body confirms that specific components of electric cars such as battery, motor or charging technology were rarely responsible for the problems encountered. Only 4.4% of cases in 2020.