EVs fare poorly in J.D. Power quality survey; Ram and Porsche top the rankings

One of the most popular talking points from EV evangelists is that they require less maintenance and are cheaper to operate than gas vehicles. The 2024 Initial Quality Study from J.D. Power suggests that might not be the case, however, as EV owners report many more problems than their gas-owning counterparts.

The organization rates vehicles based on the number of problems there are per 100 units (PP100). This year, the 38th year of the study, gas and diesel vehicles averaged 180 PP100, compared to 266 PP100 for EVs and PHEVs. J.D. Power noted that even Tesla, the EV juggernaut, failed to perform well in this year’s study, as its customers report issues with funky turn signals and wiper controls.

Ram was the top brand overall for initial quality, and Porsche was the top luxury brand.

Electric vehicles often have more advanced tech features than gas models do, which can complicate the early ownership experience. EVs clocked many more in-vehicle technology problems than similar gas vehicles, with 30 percent more problems reported for things like controls, infotainment, and more.

Other issues caused problems for both gas and electric vehicle owners. Advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) can cause false warnings, irritating drivers and causing stress unnecessarily. Rear-seat reminders, which sound an alert to check for pets, kids, and other items, added 1.7 PP100 to vehicle scores across the survey, and some owners reported thinking that the reminders related to seatbelts, not forgotten back-seat passengers.

Additionally, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto – two of the most popular new-vehicle features – were in the top 10 problems for new vehicle owners. Buyers said they’d had difficulties connecting their phones or keeping them connected, a significant issue when more than half of Apple users and 42 percent of Samsung users said they used the technologies.

While the survey illustrates that EVs are not problem-free, it shouldn’t be taken as an indication that the electric powertrain is the cause of the somewhat negative responses. Automakers pack electric models with the latest tech and go over-the-top with design and ergonomics to make them feel more futuristic and appealing, which can complicate the ownership experience. The trend shows no signs of slowing down, but J.D. Power’s study showed that it might be a good idea for automakers to pump the brakes a bit.

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