Tesla, Kia Rank Highly in J.D. Power's First EVX Ownership Study

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【Summary】The majority of early adopters claimed that they “definitely will” consider purchasing an EV in the future, while staying loyal to a brand isn’t a sure thing. J.D. Power just released its first U.S. Electric Vehicle Experience (EVX) Ownership Study and unsurprisingly, Tesla practically owns the segment.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Mar 02, 2021 7:30 AM PT
Tesla, Kia Rank Highly in J.D. Power's First EVX Ownership Study

The automotive landscape has changed dramatically in the past decade. The changes have required data analytics and consumer companies to introduce new ways to measure new vehicles and different factors. Case in point, J.D. Power just released its first U.S. Electric Vehicle Experience (EVX) Ownership Study, and unsurprisingly, Tesla practically owns the segment.

What Matters Most To EV Buyers

Before we get into scores and what they mean, here's what the EVX Ownership Study does. The overall score in the test, which is on a 1,000-point scale, is made by examining seven factors: accuracy of claimed battery range; battery range; availability of public charging stations; cost of ownership; driving enjoyment; ease of charging at home; and vehicle quality and reliability. Two major segments, including premium and mass market vehicles, were studied.   

J.D. Power's study found four major things. For consumers, range is the main thing that goes into purchasing a vehicle. Apparently, range plays a major factor in EV ownership even after the initial purchase is complete. The study found that consumers regularly drove less miles than an automaker's claim, but wanted to have the sense of security to know that they could drive further than needed.

Charging infrastructure is another factor that goes into satisfaction for EV owners. For owners of premium electric vehicles, satisfaction was 235 points higher than owners of mass market electric cars. J.D. Power believes a lot of this has to do with Tesla's public charging network.

The other things the study found include driver enjoyment – premium EVs were far more enjoyable to drive than mass market ones – along with savings over vehicles with internal combustion engines as being a main reason for buying an EV.

Tesla Leads The Way

When it comes to rankings, Tesla absolutely dominated. In the premium segment, Tesla has four out of the top six vehicles in the ranking. The Model S sits at the top with a score of 798, the Model 3 has a score of 790, the Model & has a score of 780, and the Model X has a score of 758. The average for the segment is 782. The other premium EVs include the Audi e-tron (686) and Jaguar I-Pace (669).

It's surprising to see Tesla top the list, as the automaker has had numerous quality issues. While J.D. Power specifically calls out the automaker's quality issues, owners stated that they were more highly satisfied with the brand's EVs and were willing to look past the issues. Also, Tesla has one of the best public charging networks on the market, which greatly boosted its score.

In the mass-market segment, the Kia Niro EV (782) leads the pack. It's followed by the Chevrolet Bolt (745), Hyundai Kona EV (743), Nissan Leaf (712), and Volkswagen e-Golf (696). In the mass-market segment, the average is 730. 

According to J.D. Power, 82 percent of early adopters say that they "definitely will" consider purchasing an EV in the future. But brand loyalty is hard for automakers to lock down.

"Brand loyalty can be fickle among EV owners," said Brent Gruber, senior director of global automotive at J.D. Power. "While early adopters of EVs say they'll remain loyal to EVs in general, staying with the same brand is not a sure thing. Auto manufacturers will have to keep EV owners and shoppers interested in their products beyond just the cost equation. With automakers expected to flood the market with EV launches during the next three years, to capture a share of the market they need to offer vehicles that evoke excitement and meet owners' broader needs."

To gather data for the study, J.D. Power reached out to 9,632 owners of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles from 2015 to 2021.

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