It can be hard to convince the haters of the virtues of electric cars, unless those people are Californians, or those people were already on board with the concept to begin with. But according to a new study, once people do make the leap they tend to stay.
JD Power said it was the first time it did the study, which it calls the Electric Vehicle Experience (EVX) Ownership Study, and which I will hence be referring to as “the study.” The study asked electric car owners various questions related to how satisfied they are with their EVs. Not surprisingly, owners said that range was the most important thing to them, along with how good or bad the charging network is, and cost savings over the life of the vehicle versus a gas car.
More interestingly, brand loyalty does not seem to be much of a thing in the EV world, at least among people who weren’t as satisfied with the EVs they ended up with. Most of those people also say they will buy another EV.
The study finds that 95% of EV owners whose overall ownership satisfaction exceeds 900 points say they will purchase another EV. Nearly two-thirds (64%) of these owners say they “definitely will” repurchase the same brand. However, likelihood to repurchase the same brand lessens as satisfaction declines. Among owners whose satisfaction is between 600 and 750 points, 77% indicate they “definitely will” purchase another EV—although their likelihood of repurchasing the same brand is only 25%.
The point scores in that paragraph are referring to individuals’ responses, not the index score for specific models, but you can probably guess who scored highest in the aggregate. I invite you to examine the following bar charts from the study:
The story seems to be, then, that a lot of Nissan Leaf and Chevy Bolt owners aren’t necessarily smitten with their Leafs or Bolts but that also hasn’t ruined electric cars for them for good. The worst news is probably for Audi and Jaguar, which went directly at Tesla and both finished behind. Most Tesla owners, meanwhile, seem perfectly happy with their decision, with one caveat:
While driving enjoyment varies significantly by segment (892 for premium BEV and 758 for mass market BEV), only in the mass market segment does driving enjoyment outweigh quality and reliability. Quality and reliability is the most important factor of the premium electric vehicle ownership experience. It’s notable that, while Tesla is seen to have poor quality, Tesla owners are more highly satisfied overall, indicating their willingness to overlook quality problems.
Quality issues have dogged Tesla for years, and if that hasn’t sunk them at this point it probably never will. And the idea that legacy automakers can beat Tesla if they simply try gets ever more dubious.