Tesla leads rankings in new EV owner satisfaction survey
Most new buyers of electric vehicles are finding EV ownership to be a positive experience, and “BEV veterans” are even more pleased with their purchases. Those are among the findings of new survey by J.D. Power, which also found that the two top-ranked models were Teslas.
Above: Tesla Model 3 at Supercharger station (Flickr: Marco Verch)
The US Electric Vehicle Experience (EVX) Ownership Study was conducted in October and November 2021 in collaboration with PlugShare. Respondents included 8,122 owners of 2016-2022 model-year battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), and were divided into premium and mass-market segments.
The study found that satisfaction among owners who are new to BEVs averaged 754 on a 1,000-point scale, and 766 among “BEV veterans” (those who are on at least their second EV).
The study asked drivers about 10 factors: accuracy of stated battery range; availability of public charging stations; battery range; cost of ownership; driving enjoyment; ease of charging at home; interior and exterior styling; safety and technology features; service experience; and vehicle quality and reliability.
“Making the initial leap of faith into owning a BEV is proving to be very satisfying,” said Brent Gruber, J.D. Power’s Senior Director of Global Automotive. “We know from our research that many consumers have concerns during the purchase consideration process with aspects like battery range and vehicle charging. However, once someone has purchased a BEV, they’re pretty much hooked. What will keep first-time owners coming back to buy another BEV is the compelling experience with the safety and technology features, lower service and maintenance costs, and pure driving enjoyment.”
In the premium segment, the Tesla Model 3 was the highest-ranking model overall, with a score of 777. Model Y ranked second with 770, which was equivalent to the average satisfaction score in the premium segment.
In the mass-market segment, the Kia Niro EV ranked highest for a second consecutive year, with a score of 744. The Ford Mustang Mach-E ranked second with 741. Overall satisfaction in the mass-market segment averaged 709.
More than two-thirds of respondents received a purchase incentive. Some 79% of these took advantage of the federal tax credit, but only 59% of that group said it was very easy to receive. “Many EV incentives and rebates have to be handled by owners,” Gruber said. “Dealers can facilitate the process for first-time owners by providing necessary links and forms and then walk the customer through the steps for claiming the federal and state tax credits.”
When it comes to quality and reliability, infotainment systems were highly problematic for owners of mass-market BEVs (26.2 problems experienced per 100 vehicles). “Quality and reliability are extremely important factors to which manufacturers will have to pay close attention,” Gruber said. “As the EV market matures, EV owners will compare the build quality to ICE models. Our research finds that...problems experienced are often related to technology- and feature-laden models. There’s essentially more to go wrong.”