These choices, according to the analytics company, reflect a shift in EV customer satisfaction to more traditional factors like quality and styling, now that more and more EV models have become available to car buyers.
The Winning Factors
This was the Rivian R1T’s first year of eligibility, and with a score of 794 out of 1000, it ranked highest overall in satisfaction for premium EV owners. Rivian’s owners were especially satisfied by the interior and exterior styling factors and overall driving enjoyment. MINI Cooper Electric received the highest mass-market score of 782, and it was noted especially by owners for quality and reliability.
“The electric vehicle landscape is changing quickly, and newer models are bringing in more mainstream, first-time EV buyers,” said Brent Gruber, executive director of the EV practice at J.D. Power. “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.”
The survey looked at 10 factors that included battery range, cost of ownership, and driving enjoyment. Here’s a look at the top three winners in each category.
1. Rivian R1T (Score of 794)
MSRP Range $73,000–$85,000
The R1T is a five-passenger electric crew-cab pickup. The 135-kWh battery supplies an EPA-rated driving range of 328 miles. Individual motors powered by each wheel give it off-road capability, and it features an uncluttered, high-tech vibe. The R1T has a large front trunk and an innovative transverse tunnel between the cab and bed for storage.
2. Tesla Model 3 (Score of 759)
MSRP Range $38,990–$50,990
This compact sports sedan is the California start-up’s least expensive and most popular model. Unlike its competitors, Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series, it consumes no gasoline. The excellent driving range spans from an EPA-rated 263 to 353, depending on the version. The model offers a comfortable interior and seating, and can access Tesla’s prolific Supercharger fast-charging stations.
3. Tesla Model Y (Score of 754)
MSRP Range $43,990–$52,490
The Model Y is the SUV version of the Model 3, sharing key underpinnings and features. It’s quick and agile and can also use Tesla’s supercharging network. The AWD Long Range version has an EPA-estimated 330-mile driving range. The Model Y is taller and roomier than the Model 3, with better rear-seat room and a versatile hatchback layout. Configurations include both five- and seven-passenger seating.
These cars rounded out the top five:
Audi e-tron (score of 735)
Polestar 2 (score of 724)
Mass Market EVs
1. Mini Cooper Electric (Score of 782)
The Mini Cooper SE is based on the Hardtop 2 Door but features an electric motor and battery. It offers less range than other EVs in 2023 — just 114 miles on a full charge, according to the EPA, but in a car that’s nimble, stylish, and, of course, easy to park. It’s also less expensive than most other EVs.
2. Kia EV6 (Score of 762)
MSRP Range: $42,600–$61,600
This SUV features quick acceleration and sporty handling with plenty of interior room. It offers sleeker styling than the typical hatchback and is compatible with the latest high-rate charging stations. It delivers as much as 310 miles on a single charge, according to EPA estimates.
3. Ford Mustang Mach-E (Score of 742)
MSRP Range: $42,995–$59,995
The Mach-E looks and drives a car of the future. This SUV features an engaging driving performance, zero tailpipe emissions, and over-the-air software updates on a large center touchscreen. The wagon-like Mustang delivers up to 314 miles of range and hits 60 mph in 5.2 seconds in all-wheel-drive trim.
These cars rounded out the top five:
Hyundai Ioniq 5 (score of 738)
Volkswagen ID.4 (score of 735)
Key Findings of the 2023 Study
Mass market EV owners cite infotainment as the most problematic category (19.2 problems experienced per 100 vehicles). For premium EV owners, the most problematic categories are squeaks and rattles (17.5) and exterior (13.6).
The largest gap in satisfaction between owners of premium and mass-market EVs is the availability of public charging, which is greatly influenced by the Tesla network of chargers. However, Tesla is reportedly opening access to its chargers to a wider range of car manufacturers starting in 2024, which should help narrow that satisfaction gap.
Changing Landscape of First-Time EV Owners
The study shows an increase of 11 percentage points from 2022 in the rate of first-time EV ownership. But, the mass market EV segment is attracting new owners at a more rapid rate than the premium segment due to a host of new offerings, with a jump from 67% to 89% in 2022.
That said, satisfaction among those first-time owners is higher than veteran EV owners in only one category: vehicle quality and reliability. They were motivated to buy an EV based on expected lower running costs and tax credits/incentives. For first-time premium EV owners, however, driving performance was the most frequently cited reason for purchase.
Current EV owners, with high levels of satisfaction, tend to be strong advocates and will, therefore, play an important role in the expansion of electrification. According to J.D. Power car ratings, however, broad adoption of EVs will depend upon more than just appealing cars.
They suggest it’s just as important that automakers and suppliers understand the key components of satisfaction and frustration among current EV drivers and find new ways to improve the ownership experience.
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