Electric vehicle owners report higher than average number of new car problems

Electric vehicles have been gaining popularity for their environmental benefits and advanced technology, but a recent 2024 J.D. Power Initial Quality Study revealed that EVs fall far below gasoline-powered vehicles in terms of initial quality. In the survey, owners of new EVs reported more problems than owners of internal-combustion vehicles, with electric cars averaging 266 problems per 100 vehicles compared to 180 problems for gasoline and diesel vehicles.

**The Annual J.D. Power Initial Quality Study**

The Annual J.D. Power Initial Quality Study is based on owner reports of problems with new vehicles and assigns a score to individual models and brands based on problems per 100 vehicles. In the 2024 survey, J.D. Power surveyed 99,144 purchasers and lessees of 2024-model-year vehicles in the U.S. and incorporated data on repair visits to franchised dealerships for the first time. The results were not favorable for EVs, with electric vehicles averaging more problems than their internal-combustion counterparts.

**Concerns with EV Technology**

One of the main issues highlighted in the study was the dissatisfaction among owners with vehicle functions embedded in touchscreens. The removal of conventional controls like turn signal and wiper stalks in some EV models has not been well received by customers. Specifically, Tesla customers have expressed concerns about the lack of physical controls, prompting some to modify their vehicles by adding back traditional controls.

**Brand Rankings**

Among the all-EV brands included in the study, Polestar, Tesla, and Rivian were noted to have high average problems per 100 vehicles, although they did not qualify for rankings. Tesla, in particular, has had better performance in the past, but the study found that controls, displays, and tech features in EVs contributed to 30% higher problems per 100 vehicles compared to gasoline models.

**Comparison with Other Powertrain Types**

The study also compared EVs and plug-in hybrids with hybrids in terms of dependability, with findings suggesting that EVs and plug-in hybrids were more trouble-prone than hybrids. The 2022 Initial Quality Study by J.D. Power highlighted that EV powertrains are not particularly prone to problems, but it is the additional technology in EVs that poses challenges for owners.


Overall, the 2024 J.D. Power Initial Quality Study indicates that electric vehicles have room for improvement in terms of initial quality. While EVs offer significant benefits in terms of sustainability and performance, issues with touchscreens and control features need to be addressed to enhance customer satisfaction. As EV technology continues to advance, automakers will need to focus on improving the user experience and reducing the number of reported problems to attract more customers to the electric vehicle market.

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