J.D. Power is known for its initial-quality rankings of new cars, but now the company has published a study specifically focusing on electric cars for the first time. The inaugural J.D. Power Electric Vehicle Experience Ownership Study ranked EV models based on ownership satisfaction, and looked at general customer attitudes toward electric cars.
The Tesla Model S ranked highest overall, and highest in the premium EV segment, with a score of 798 points out of a possible 1,000 points. The Tesla Model 3 took second place, with 790 points, while the average score for the premium segment was 782 points.
The Kia Niro EV was the highest-ranked mass-market electric car, with a score of 782 points. The Chevrolet Bolt EV was ranked second in this category, scoring 745 points, followed by the Hyundai Kona Electric (743 points). The average score for this segment was 730 points.
Range was the biggest factor. Most owners drive less than the listed range of their EVs, but still want to know that real-world range is close to what is advertised, Brent Gruber, J.D. Power senior director of global automotive, said in a statement.
2020 Tesla Model S
Tesla also bucked one important trend. Quality and reliability were the most important factors in the premium-EV ownership experience, according to the study. While build quality is often viewed as a Tesla weak point, that didn't seem to deter owners.
"While Tesla is seen to have poor quality, Tesla owners are more highly satisfied overall, indicating their willingness to overlook quality problems," J.D. Power said in a press release.
Lower cost of ownership than gasoline cars was also identified as one of the main factors for an EV purchase. It's also one of Volkswagen's main pitch points for the ID.4 crossover, but with higher upfront costs for EVs, it's not a concept everyone understands at first, either.