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J.D. Power: Tesla Model 3, Kia Niro EV Rank Highest in Electric-Vehicle Ownership Satisfaction

tesla-model-3-angle-blue-dynamic-exterior-front-oem Tesla Model 3 | Manufacturer image

A new J.D. Power study ranks the Tesla Model 3 highest both overall and among premium electric vehicles for owner satisfaction, while the Kia Niro EV takes the top spot among mass-market EVs.

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The 2022 U.S. Electric Vehicle Experience Ownership Study study measured 10 factors, up from seven in this study a year ago. Carryover categories are the accuracy of stated battery range, availability of public-charging stations, actual battery range, cost of ownership, driving enjoyment, ease of home charging, and vehicle quality and reliability. New categories for 2022 are interior and exterior styling, safety and technology features, and service experience.

Ownership Satisfying in General

The study found that both first-time and repeat EV buyers exhibited similar levels of satisfaction overall, though the groups differed in terms of what they found most satisfying. For first-time buyers, ratings for service experience, driving enjoyment and styling were higher than for repeat buyers. The latter group, meanwhile, rated battery range and the accuracy of stated range much higher than did first-timers.

As for whether that satisfaction would lead to repeat purchases from the same brand, it might not surprise you to learn that owners who reported high satisfaction with their EV were likely to purchase another EV, likely from the same manufacturer. Dissatisfied owners were still likely to purchase another EV but extremely unlikely to buy one from the same manufacturer.

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What Makes Buyers Satisfied?

Two key factors drive overall ownership satisfaction, according to the study: range satisfaction and ease of getting incentives. Both premium and mass-market EV buyers rated range as their most important purchase consideration. When owners reported that range did not affect driving habits, overall satisfaction scores improved by 119 points (on a 1,000-point scale) in the premium segment and 107 points among mass-market EVs.

According to the study, 68% of owners received some sort of incentive for purchasing their EV. Those who found the incentives easy to get rated their overall satisfaction higher than those who found incentives harder to come by.

What Makes Buyers Dissatisfied?

Key drivers of dissatisfaction vary by segment. Among mass-market EVs, the most common problems reported involved the infotainment system. Premium buyers, however, reported more problems with the exterior and squeaks and rattles. (The premium segment includes Tesla vehicles; see what we thought of the build quality on the Model Y we recently purchased.)

Overall Rankings

Ranked on a 1,000-point scale, the average satisfaction score is 770 for premium EVs (which is to say, those from luxury brands) and 709 for mass-market EVs. Here are the vehicles ranked in each segment and their overall scores:

Premium

1. Tesla Model 3 (777 points)

2. Tesla Model Y (770)

3. Tesla Model S (756)

4. Audi E-Tron (718)

Mass-Market

1. Kia Niro EV (744)

2. Ford Mustang Mach-E (741)

3. Nissan Leaf (708)

4. (tie) Hyundai Kona EV, Volkswagen ID.4 (692)

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