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Rivian R1T, Mini Cooper Electric owners happiest with their EVs



The J.D. Power 2023 U.S. Electric Vehicle Experience (EVX) Ownership Study is out, and there's change at the top. With the swelling adoption of electric vehicles in the U.S. over in the past two years especially, the third year of the EVX study changes focus to first-time EV buyers. Those two factors encouraged change at the top of both premium and mass-market segments. Among premium EVs, the Rivian R1T pickup scored overall victory in its first year of eligibility with a satisfaction score of 794 out of 1,000. The Tesla Model 3 takes second place with 759 points. Tesla had won the top two premium spots in the study in 2021 and in 2022.

The average score in the premium segment was 756. The Tesla Model Y (754), Audi E-Tron (735), and Polestar 2 (724) filled out the list of the five eligible models this year.

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Among the ten eligible mass-market vehicles, the Mini Cooper Electric nabbed the overall win by scoring 782. The Kia EV6 came second with 762 points, keeping Kia in the top two; the Kia Niro EV won the mass-market segment the previous two years. The Ford Mustang Mach-E (742), Hyundai Ioniq 5 (738), and Volkswagen ID.4 (735) completed the top five, the Niro EV (733) in sixth. All were above the segment average of 730. The four models fell below the segment average were the Ford F-150 Lightning (723), Chevrolet Bolt EUV (716), Chevrolet Bolt (711), and Nissan Leaf (698).

How are the scores derived? J.D. Power worked with EV app maker and research firm PlugShare to get owner responses in ten areas: 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; safety and technology features; service experience; and vehicle quality and reliability.

Brent Gruber, executive director of the EV practice at J.D. Power, said, "Recent vehicle launches from both new brands and traditional automakers have had a profound effect on what factors are most important in the ownership experience. Today’s EV owners are looking for quality, reliability, driving enjoyment, safety and technology features."

The Mini, in fact, scored highest of any premium and mass-market EV in the study’s highest-weighted index factor, quality and reliability. And in a surprise finding about electric pickups, owners who tow were an overall 24 points more satisfied about their ownership experience than owners who hadn't towed.

Mass-market EV owners have the same primary complaint as ICE vehicle drivers: Infotainment. Premium EV owners are most vexed by squeaks and rattles. And there's a large satisfaction gap when it comes to public charging, premium EV owners returning a 589 satisfaction score, mass-market owners returning a score of 341.

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