Electric vehicle buyers report improved satisfaction, study finds

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The Tesla Model 3 ranked highest overall among first-time buyers

As the auto industry continues to put more of its chips into electric vehicles (EV), new research shows that first-time buyers of battery electric vehicles (BEV) are reporting positive experiences.

J.D. Power reports that satisfaction among owners who are new to BEVs averages 754 on a 1,000-point scale, which is comparable to the 766 average score among those who have owned a BEV prior to their current one.

But like anything, there are exceptions. For example, consumers posting reviews at ConsumerAffairs give Tesla an overall 3.8-star rating on a 5-star system. But lately, there have been several 1-star reviews of the EV automaker. Elissar, of Long Beach, Calif., told us that he bought a Tesla Model Y.

“On third day, the battery died,” Elissar wrote. "Tesla said it's not covered, asked for $1,500 to fix battery and coil…If the battery isn't covered on a Tesla, what is covered?

Robert, of La Vernia, Texas, likes his Tesla but is not happy with the company’s service.

“You have to schedule service through the app,” Robert wrote in a ConsumerAffairs review. “You never talk to a real person. You have to wait at least a month for a service date. This resulted in a complete failure of the suspension on our model S.”

Tesla Model 3 ranked highest

In the J.D. Power study, Tesla actually performed very well. The Tesla Model 3 ranked highest overall in satisfaction and highest in the premium BEV segment with a score of 777. The Tesla Model Y ranked second with a score of 770. Overall satisfaction in the premium segment also averages 770.

In the mass market segment, the Kia Niro EV ranked highest for a second straight year with a score of 744. The Ford Mustang Mach-E, with a score of 741, ranked second. Overall satisfaction in the mass market segment averaged 709.

“We know from our research that many consumers have concerns during the purchase consideration process with aspects like battery range and vehicle charging,” said Brent Gruber, senior director of global automotive at J.D. Power. “However, once someone has purchased a BEV, they’re pretty much hooked.”

Gruber said the study found that there have been recent improvements in EV batteries and driving ranges. He estimates that those upgrades have improved satisfaction with the vehicle type, particularly with veteran owners. 

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