Is poor range from an electric car grounds for rejection?

My wife and I wanted to replace a three year old EV. We went to a dealer and bought a brand new EV which was essentially the same as the old one. The new car was the next generation of the same car advertised with the same range but this time with a heat pump which was said to extend the range, especially in cold weather. It was advertised as having a range of 285+ miles.

The new car performed much worse in terms of range, especially in cold weather.

The old car had a real world range of about 240-250 miles. But the new and "improved" car with the heat pump had a range of barely 200 miles in cold weather. As we have a regular trip of about 200-210 miles we need to do, this means the new car is simply not suitable. As a result we rejected the car within a week of having it and gave it back to the dealer.

After many months of "discussion", the dealer is refusing the rejection.

What are our rights? Can we reject the car due to its poor performance in terms of range?

Asked on 31 July 2023 by Simon

Answered by David Ross
Vehicle range falls into something of a grey area in respect of the Consumer Rights Act, as assuming the vehicle is not faulty it needs to come under the factor of being 'fit for purpose'. You could argue that because the vehicle's range is actually less than your previous model it does not meet this criteria, but car manufacturers have the caveat that range or fuel consumption will vary depending on driving style, atmospheric conditions and so on.

If you have not done so already we would recommend sending a letter by recorded post to the dealer and the manufacturer's head office reaffirming your wish to reject the vehicle, and outline in detail the reasons why including that the vehicle range is less than your previous vehicle and that it does not meet your requirements.

If your request is still refused you will need to seek legal advice, but the same issue applies in that there is no guarantee your case will be successful.
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