TROY, MI—The Rivian R1T pickup truck ranks highest overall in a recent owner satisfaction study conducted by J.D. Power. Other electric vehicles scoring high marks include the Mini Cooper Electric, the Kia EV6, the Tesla Model 3 and the Ford Mustang Mach-E.
The rankings were determined by a number of factors, including accuracy of stated battery range, availability of public charging stations, battery range, cost of ownership;, driving enjoyment and ease of charging at home.
As more EVs become available for purchase, owners’ satisfaction with their overall experience is shifting to more traditional factors, such as quality and styling. According to the J.D. Power 2023 U.S. Electric Vehicle Experience Ownership Study, the shift is most evident in the premium and mass-market segments.
“The electric vehicle landscape is changing quickly, and newer models are bringing in more mainstream, first-time EV buyers,” says 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.”
Owners of mass-market EVs cite infotainment as the most problematic category (19.2 problems experienced per 100 vehicles). Among premium EV owners, the most problematic categories are squeaks and rattles (17.5) and exterior (13.6).
According to Gruber, the largest gap in satisfaction between owners of premium and mass-market EVs is availability of public charging, which is greatly influenced by the Tesla network of chargers.
In the mass-market segment, 68 percent of first-time EV owners claim that expected lower running costs and tax credits or incentives were the primary reasons for purchase. However, driving performance is the most frequently cited purchase reason (75 percent) among first-time premium EV owners.
“The EV marketplace is dynamic and the important factors that manufacturers need to watch will vary based on their history and experience,” notes Gruber. “First-time EV buyers who are more mainstream will compare their EV’s build quality to what they know about gas-powered vehicles.”
Despite the high ranking in the J.D. Power study, not all news is good for Rivian Automotive Inc., which assembles its vehicles in Normal, IL. The startup automaker recently recalled more than 12,000 R1Tpickups and R1S sport utility vehicles because of an air bag deployment problem.