We are told EVs are very “reliable”, do not break down easily etc because of the electric motor.
Doesn't change your assumptions but the reality with Tesla has been just the opposite. Warranty costs at Tesla were running twice as high as the Big 3 automakers per vehicle. Tesla has a quality control problem and the cars are loaded with electronics which are buggy.
We won't know for sometime whether well built EV's are more reliable than an IC car. Fact is now IC engines are very reliable. The drive train of a EV can be more complex. By example regenerative braking which is often used. Tesla recommends brakes be annually cleaned and lubricated. Build quality is lacking at Tesla, it will be interesting to see how reliability plays out with the other automakers like GM, VW. Some big recalls already on GM's part for issues, a billion plus spent on the Bolt fire issue.
Hundreds of failures of Tesla drive train components have been publicly reported, who knows what the actual incidence rate is. This may be unique to Tesla and their design and quality issues. Tesla motors forums are full of drive train related failures. What is unique about Tesla owners is they take it for granted that failures are inevitable, part of owning a EV, they are the beta testers of the world. That is totally unlike a pissed of consumer at GM or Ford that has a failure.
Here some of the common issues Model 3 owners are facing:
Studies have found (U.S. Dept of Transportation commissioned study in 2019) that after owning a EV the retention rate isn't great, a high number return to IC vehicles.