The Kia Niro EV has been ranked number one among mass-market brands in the J.D. Power 2021 Electric Vehicle Experience (EVX) Ownership Study. For this inaugural study, J.D. Power surveyed nearly 10,000 electric vehicle (EV) owners on factors including cost-of-ownership, battery range, and driving enjoyment to determine the likelihood of repurchasing and recommending an EV.

The Kia Niro EV opens a world of possibilities for drivers who are drawn toward popular crossovers but also want the benefits electric vehicles offer. With 291 lb.-ft. of torque and four drive modes, the Niro EV’s robust electric powertrain gets drivers where they need to go – quickly – while enjoying advanced technology and connectivity in a stylish package that fits every lifestyle.

"At Kia, we are committed to delivering a world-class ownership experience, and as the brand prepares to introduce several new electric vehicles by 2025 under our Plan S strategy, we are proud that our current lineup is already successful among existing and potential EV drivers,” said Sean Yoon, president and CEO, Kia Motors America, Kia Motors North America. “We are honored to win the mass-market category in the EVX Ownership Study, which reinforces our leadership goal in the future mobility industry.”

The overall EVX ownership index score measures electric vehicle owners’ satisfaction (on a 1,000-point scale) in premium and mass market segments across seven factors: accuracy of stated battery range; availability of public charging stations; battery range; cost of ownership; driving enjoyment; ease of charging at home; and vehicle quality and reliability.

Following are key findings of the 2021 study

  • It’s mostly about range: When deciding which electric vehicle to buy, the most-often-cited factor in the purchase decision is battery and driving range. Even after the purchase is made, range is still a critical element of the ownership experience. In both premium and mass market segments, accuracy of the stated battery range and actual battery range experienced by the owner account for about 20% of owners’ overall satisfaction. “Even though most owners drive less than the stated range of their vehicle’s battery, they still want to know that the actual battery range is close to the stated battery range,” Gruber said. “It’s still about peace of mind.”
  • Where to plug in: The public charging infrastructure is a key determinant of satisfaction for EV owners of both premium and mass market brands, yet significant differences exist between the two groups. Satisfaction among owners of premium battery electric vehicles (BEVs) with availability of public charging is 235 points higher than among owners of mass market BEVs, largely due to Tesla owners’ higher level of satisfaction with the Tesla public charging network. Regionally, satisfaction with the availability of public charging infrastructure is highest in the West (616) and lowest in the West North Central region (563), which includes Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota. Satisfaction with the availability of public charging is 305 points higher among Tesla owners than among owners of other brands.
  • Driving enjoyment vs. quality concerns: 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.
  • Show me the savings: Owners of both premium and mass market EVs agree on one reason for choosing electrification over internal combustion engines (ICE): the expected lower operating costs of an electric vehicle. Cost of ownership is a key driver in the purchase of an EV that typically has fewer parts to maintain, has less frequent service requirements and results in lower fuel costs than ICE vehicles.


Study Rankings

Kia Niro EV ranks highest in the mass market BEV segment with a score of 782. Chevrolet Bolt (745) ranks second and Hyundai Kona EV (743) ranks third. Overall satisfaction in the mass market segment is 730.

“I’m very pleased to present an award to Kia for highest EV ownership satisfaction in the mass market segment,” said Brent Gruber, Senior Director, Global Automotive at J.D. Power. “As the growth of vehicle electrification continues to shape the future of the of the automotive industry, the Kia Niro EV represents a standout model that checks all the right boxes for owners.”

The U.S. Electric Vehicle Experience (EVX) Ownership Study is driven by a collaboration with PlugShare, the leading EV driver app maker and research firm. This study sets the standard for benchmarking satisfaction with the critical attributes that affect the total or overall EV ownership experience for both BEV and PHEV vehicles. Survey respondents for the inaugural study include 9,632 owners of 2015-2021 model year BEVs and PHEVs. The study was fielded in October-November 2020.

For more information about the U.S. Electric Vehicle Experience (EVX) Ownership Study, visit https://www.jdpower.com/business/automotive/electric-vehicle-experience-evx-ownership-study