Photo courtesy of Tesla

A recent study conducted by J.D. Power and PlugShare found that first-time battery-electric vehicle (BEV) owners are satisfied with their switch from other propulsion systems.

The J.D. Power 2022 U.S. Electric Vehicle Experience (EVX) Ownership Study asked recent and previous BEV owners about their overall ownership satisfaction. On a 1,000 point scale, first-time owners rated their experience at an average 754 points, which is comparable to the 766 scored by BEV veterans. The study defined BEV veterans as individuals who owned at least one electric vehicle prior to their current one.

Tesla Model 3

The 2022 EVX ownership index was expanded from previous studies to include 3 additional factors-- bringing the total to 10. Those factors are: 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 (new in 2022); safety and technology features (new); service experience (new); and vehicle quality and reliability.

Among those factors, it was found that, on average, first-time owners rated higher in service experience (+48), driving enjoyment (+15) and styling (+8) when compared to BEV veterans; however, returning owners rated higher levels of satisfaction with battery range (+78) and accuracy of stated battery range (+49). J.D. Power hypothesizes this can be attributed to veterans having a better point of reference regarding real-world range figures, whereas first-time owners face a learning curve with their first BEVs.

Ford Mustang Mach-E

“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.”

Gruber went on to comment that first-time owners will keep coming back to BEV segments thanks to the compelling experiences they have with the safety and technology features, lower service and maintenance costs, and “pure driving enjoyment.” New BEVs being made by traditional brands is also helping to attract new owners, said Gruber.

In a related finding, 96 percent of owners whose overall ownership satisfaction exceeded 900 said they would purchase another BEV in the future, with 62 percent of those owners saying they “definitely will” purchase from the same brand. For owners whose ownership satisfaction rated below 600 points, 78 percent of first-timers and 89 percent of veteran owners said they “definitely will” consider buying another BEV, but the likelihood to purchase from the same brand drops to 6 percent.

The study concludes with the following key findings:

  1. Range satisfaction is a key purchase reason. As EV batteries and driving range technology continues to improve, veteran owners cite this aspect of ownership as a top purchase reason. 

  1. Incentives-- when easy to get-- improve satisfaction. 68 percent of EV owners received an incentive. Overall satisfaction was higher among owners who said those incentives were easy to get (760 points), whereas those who said they were hard to get averaged a lesser rating (712 points).

  1. Quality and reliability vary in premium and mass market segments. The most problematic category for mass market BEV owners was infotainment (26.2 problems per 100 vehicles). Premium BEV owners complained most about the exterior (14.6), and squeaks and rattle (13.4).


Kia Niro

 Another fun fact discovered by the study were which vehicles were top rated in both the premium and mass market segments. For the premium segment, Tesla took the top spot with their Model 3 sedan, scoring 777 points. Then Tesla took the second spot with their Model Y SUV, with a total score of 770. The mass market segment was spearheaded by the Kia Niro EV, having scored 744 points, followed closely by the Ford Mustang Mach-E, which scored 741 points.