Study:First-Time EV Owners Satisfied with Their Choice

Jeff Youngs | Jan 31, 2022

Let's face it; humans are creatures of habit with a natural aversion to trying new things. This might explain why, even though the technology has existed for decades, U.S. consumers have, for the most part, failed to embrace battery electric vehicles (BEVs) in significant numbers. Whether it's range anxiety, cost concerns, fear of new technology, or lack of public charging infrastructure, BEVs have only recently started to win over new-car buyers. The good news? First-time BEV buyers seem to be very happy with the ownership experience.

2021 Tesla Model 3 Red Front Quarter View

"Making the initial leap of faith into owning a BEV is proving to be very satisfying," said Brent Gruber, senior director of global automotive at J.D. Power. "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."

According to the J.D. Power 2022 U.S. Electric Vehicle Experience (EVX) Ownership Study, satisfaction among first-time electric vehicle (EV) buyers (754 on a 1,000-point scale) is almost as high as it is for EV veterans (766)—those who have previously owned a BEV. The study measures EV owner satisfaction in both premium and mass-market segments and across 10 factors (listed 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
  • Vehicle quality and reliability

Interestingly, first-time BEV owners rate their vehicles higher than veterans in several factors: service experience (+48 points), driving enjoyment (+15), and styling (+8). Veteran BEV owners, meanwhile, have much higher satisfaction in terms of battery range (+78) and accuracy of stated battery range (+49), likely owing to their experience and knowledge with real-world vehicle range.

Key findings of the study include:

  • Range satisfaction is the top purchase reason among veteran BEV owners in both the premium and mass-market segments. Further, among those who say that range never affects their driving habits (vs. those who say it does), satisfaction improves 119 points in the premium segment and 107 points in the mass-market segment.
  • Overall satisfaction is higher among owners who say incentives are very easy to get (760) vs. among owners who say incentives are somewhat/very difficult to obtain (712).
  • With 26.2 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100), infotainment is the most problematic category for owners of mass-market BEVs. The top pain points for premium BEV owners are the exterior (14.6 PP100) and squeaks and rattles (13.4 PP100).

Tesla Model 3 Ranks Highest Overall; Kia Niro EV Ranks Highest among Mass-Market Brands

As it does with the news headlines, Tesla dominates the premium BEV segment rankings in the 2022 EVX Ownership Study, taking the top three spots. With a score of 777, the Tesla Model 3 not only leads the premium segment but it also ranks highest overall in the study. The Tesla Model Y (770) ranks second, followed by the Tesla Model S (756), though the latter scores below the segment average of 770.

The Kia Niro EV (744) takes top honors in the mass-market segment for a second consecutive year. It is followed in the rankings by the Ford Mustang Mach-E (741) and the Nissan Leaf (708), which comes in just below the segment average of 709.

J.D. Power is the source of information for this article. It was accurate on January 27, 2022, but it may have changed since that date.

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