“The electric vehicle landscape is changing quickly, and newer models are bringing in more mainstream, first-time EV buyers,” Brent Gruber, executive director of the EV practice at J.D. Power, said concerning the results of the J.D. Power 2023 U.S. Electric Vehicle Experience (EVX) Ownership Study that were released at the end of February this year.
The EVX Ownership Study revealed that it is the Rivian R1T that topped the charts in the U.S. premium segment and the MINI Cooper Electric that won in the mass-market segment.
According to the study, it is the Rivian R1T that garnered a satisfaction score of 794 out of 1000 points in the survey scale. The R1T took the honor in its first year of eligibility for the study. Forty points separate it from the Tesla Model 3 (759), which ended in second in this category.
“Owners have high levels of satisfaction with the driving enjoyment and interior/exterior styling factors,” the report narrates.
The MINI Cooper Electric ranks highest in the mass market segment, scoring 782 out of 1000. This result is supported by the highest satisfaction score of any EV model in the study’s highest-weighted index factor, quality and reliability. The Kia EV6 (762) ranks second and the Ford Mustang Mach-E (742) ranks third.
“Recent vehicle launches from both new brands and traditional automakers have had a profound effect on what factors are most important in the ownership experience. Today’s EV owners are looking for quality, reliability, driving enjoyment, safety and technology features,” Gruber said of the results.
New owners of current models have higher satisfaction
The survey also concluded that during the vehicle selection process, more shoppers are being drawn to EV ownership versus fossil fueled (ICE) cars. The host of new product offerings is attracting new owners at a more rapid rate, as the percentage of first-time BEV owners in the segment jumped to 89% from 67% last year.
However, the more crucial finding is that satisfaction among first-time BEV owners in terms of vehicle quality and reliability is higher compared to those who already own BEVs. This finding may also be in relation to the quantum leaps in improvements in current technology (software, interior comforts, drivetrain, and battery).
“The EV marketplace is dynamic and the important factors that manufacturers need to watch will vary based on their history and experience. First-time EV buyers who are more mainstream will compare their EV’s build quality to what they know about gas-powered vehicles,” Gruber explained.
The study notes how “in the mass market segment, 68% of first-time BEV owners say that expected lower running costs and tax credits/incentives were the primary reasons for purchase, while driving performance is the most frequently cited purchase reason (75%) among first-time premium BEV owners.”
Other significant findings
Availability of public charging stations splits the premium and mass markets. Tesla’s network of chargers impacts this perception. Among premium BEV owners, satisfaction with public charging availability is 589, while satisfaction among mass market BEV owners is 341.
EV truck owners who have used their vehicles to tow are more satisfied, possibly due to the need for moderate towing and managed expectations. Overall satisfaction is higher among EV truck owners who have used their vehicle for towing (779) than among owners who have not (753). This can be broken down to satisfaction with driving range — higher among owners who have towed (635) — and satisfaction with accuracy of stated range (707 vs. 680, respectively). Truck manufacturers that proactively communicate the effect that towing has on range — like they do with gas mileage — seem to help set owner expectations
What is EVX all about?
The J.D. Power EVX study was conducted in collaboration with PlugShare, the leading EV driver app maker and research firm. EVX sets the standard for benchmarking satisfaction for EV ownership experience. It does this by using critical attributes that affect the total or overall score for both BEV and PHEV. Over 7,000 respondents from the US were surveyed.
The study was fielded in from August through December 2022 and covers award-eligible models in the premium segment, which has grown from four to five year over a year, while award-eligible mass market models have nearly doubled (from six to 10). Satisfaction among owners of premium EVs averages 756, while satisfaction among mass market EV owners averages 730.
According to J.D. Powers, “the overall EVX ownership index score measures electric vehicle owner satisfaction in both premium and mass market segments. The 2023 study includes 10 factors (in alphabetical order): 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.”
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