Over the last decade, the popularity of “green” cars has skyrocketed. In particular, consumers in California in recent years have been purchasing more electric and hybrid vehicles. The top-selling models are produced by manufacturers that include Ford, Nissan, and General Motors.

However, if you buy one of these “green” vehicles from one of their manufacturers or dealers, and if your electric or hybrid vehicle “goes yellow” and turns out to be a “lemon,” you will need the advice and insights of an experienced California lemon law attorney.

How can you know if the electric or the hybrid that you’ve been sold is a lemon? How can the law – and a good California consumer attorney – help you if you’ve been sold a lemon? Read on to learn the answers to these questions. Help is available for consumers who’ve bought lemons.

How Popular Are “Green” Vehicles in California?

California leads the nation in electric and hybrid vehicle purchases. In fact, more than half of the electric and hybrid vehicles that are sold in the U.S. are sold in California. That’s one reason why it is so important for consumers in California to know their rights under the state’s lemon law. 

Even though electric and hybrid vehicles are considered advanced, it is still possible that an electric or a hybrid vehicle may be a lemon. California’s Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act – the lemon law – offers legal protection to consumers who find that they’ve purchased a lemon.

Hybrid and electric vehicle manufacturers have a duty to protect the general public and to produce vehicles that are reasonably safe and reasonably free of defects. When a vehicle manufacturer fails to meet that duty, consumers in California have recourse under the lemon law.

What is the Definition of a “Hybrid” or “Electric” Vehicle?

“Hybrids” are vehicles that use an electric motor along with a gasoline engine to keep fuel consumption to a minimum. “Electric” vehicles use no gasoline at all and run entirely on a rechargeable battery.

The advanced technology behind hybrid and electric vehicles offers a number of benefits, but advanced technology also creates more opportunities for a vehicle to be a lemon. For example, hybrids and electric vehicles have sensitive electronic components that are sometimes defective.

If you lease or purchase an electric vehicle or a hybrid vehicle in this state, and if it keeps needing repairs – even after several trips to the repair shop – that electric or hybrid vehicle is probably a lemon, and you should speak to a lemon law attorney without delay.

How Does the Law Determine Which Vehicles Are Lemons?

A lemon is defined as a vehicle with persistent, serious mechanical problems that the authorized dealer consistently fails to remedy. You must have repeated repair efforts that are covered under the dealer’s or manufacturer’s warranty before you can file a claim under the state’s lemon law.

Under the California lemon law, when a vehicle manufacturer is unable to repair a vehicle – after a reasonable number of repair efforts – the manufacturer may be legally obligated to replace or buy back the vehicle, provided most of the repairs occurred during the manufacturer’s warranty period. 

Exactly how does the California lemon law protect consumers? The law holds manufacturers accountable for gasoline-powered vehicles, hybrids, and electric vehicles that they cannot fix under warranty. The law provides that a vehicle manufacturer must buy back a lemon or replace it.

If You’ve Been Sold a Lemon, What Steps Should You Take?

California’s hybrid and electric vehicle owners are entitled to the same consumer protections that all other vehicle owners enjoy in this state. If you have been sold a lemon in California, you should arrange to speak right away with an experienced California lemon law attorney. 

San Diego attorney Sotera L. Anderson has settled hundreds of lemon law claims for her clients throughout California. She is a former attorney for vehicle manufacturers, and with more than nineteen years of legal experience, she knows what it takes to prevail on a consumer’s behalf. 

If you have been sold a hybrid vehicle or an electric vehicle that is a lemon – with repairs under warranty – seek an attorney’s help right away. Do not let the deadline pass for filing a claim under the lemon law. Schedule a consultation with an experienced consumer attorney at once.

Don’t try to go it alone if you need to negotiate with the manufacturer of your hybrid or electric vehicle. You ought to be represented from the beginning by an experienced consumer lawyer who will protect your rights and who will negotiate the best possible settlement on your behalf.

What Defects Are Typical With Electric and Hybrid Vehicles?

Whenever you buy a vehicle in the state of California – any vehicle – keep and securely store the sales receipts, repair receipts, and any related paperwork. This is the documentation that you will need if you have to file a claim against the vehicle’s manufacturer under the lemon law. 

Every vehicle needs occasional repairs, but if your hybrid or electric vehicle continues to have the same problem, it is likely that you have a claim under the lemon law. Some of the more common, persistent problems encountered by hybrid and electric vehicle owners have included:

  1. battery failures
  2. electrical system malfunctions
  3. control panel defects
  4. braking system problems

The California lemon law protects you by ensuring that your vehicle’s manufacturer stands behind the warranty – including the warranties for hybrid vehicles and electric vehicles.

What Will It Cost to File a Claim Under the Lemon Law?

If you believe that your hybrid or electric vehicle is a lemon and that you have a claim under the lemon law, it costs nothing to speak to an experienced California lemon law attorney like Sotera L. Anderson. Your first consultation is free, and there’s no obligation.

Additionally, if your lemon law claim against the vehicle’s manufacturer prevails, the manufacturer has to pay your attorney’s fees and costs.

How Will a Lemon Law Attorney Help You?

California’s lemon law is quite complicated. You will need a lawyer who has considerable lemon law experience. Your attorney will hold the vehicle’s manufacturer accountable and will ensure that you receive what you are entitled to under the lemon law.

Most lemon law claims in the state of California can be resolved within ninety days. If your green vehicle turns yellow in this state, it is your right to seek a buyback or a replacement – and to put the lemon law to work for you – with a good attorney’s help.