Are Electrified Car Owners Happier?
The American Consumer Satisfaction Index (ASCI) measures customer satisfaction across over 40 different types of products, including automobiles. It surveys over half a million customers annually, and reports customer satisfaction on a scale of 0 to 100. And its latest survey focused on automobiles shows that hybrid and electric car drivers are generally more satisfied with their cars than those who own gasoline-powered vehicles.
Based on interviews with close to 9,000 drivers chosen at random and contacted between July 2022 and June 2023, the ASCI’s data shows that drivers of electric and hybrid cars love their vehicles. But the study also highlighted that there continue to be some barriers to EV adoption in the U.S.
EV Reliability Lower, Tech Satisfaction Higher
While states across the country continue to offer tax rebates for EV drivers to increase adoption, public charging infrastructure continues to be a concern. That’s true even for those who already have an electric car. Indeed, EV owners, despite their overall satisfaction with their vehicles, ranked lower for reliability and dependability, and charging issues contributed to those lower scores. Early adopters of electric cars were more tolerant of vehicles’ issues and their performance relative to expectations, but as adoption increases, more mainstream buyers are less patient with technical challenges. Overall, EV owners ranked their cars as superior in the realms of technology and warranties.
Hybrid Owners Very Satisfied; Toyota Leads Pack
Hybrid owners, on the other hand, were very happy with many more aspects of their ownership experience. They ranked their vehicles high for quality, value, and dependability. In fact, Toyota, the hybrid market leader, had the overall highest score of any brand in the survey, with 84 percent – 5 percent higher than its score last year. Owners ranked their Toyota hybrids high for mileage, dependability, and quality for the price.
Ranking just behind Toyota among mass-market brands were Subaru, with a score of 82 percent (up 3 percent versus 2022), followed by Honda (81 percent, up 5 percent), and Mazda (80 percent, up 3 percent). On the other hand, Nissan’s score slipped 1 percent to 76 percent, while Volkswagen dropped 3 percent to 75 percent.
Tesla Ranked Best Premium Brand
Among premium-priced vehicles, Tesla, the EV market leader, and Lexus were tied for the highest rankings. Lexus dropped 1 percent from 2022’s score to 83 percent, while Tesla climbed 4 percent to achieve the same score. Cadillac was right behind, up 3 percent at 82 percent, followed by Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz, all of which were tied at 80 percent.
Interestingly, the study noted that more and more younger buyers are choosing luxury cars, and overall, they were more satisfied with their purchases compared to younger buyers purchasing mass-market vehicles. Tesla was one of the dominant brands for younger buyers choosing luxury cars, who ranked technology as the driving factor for their purchase decisions.
Hybrids and EVs: Satisfaction at Pre-Pandemic Levels
Looking at historical trends, the ASCI’s results show that owner satisfaction with Hybrids and EVs has rebounded since the pandemic, with scores back to 2019 levels. Nearly every aspect of owners’ experience — including performance, safety, dependability, mileage, and warranties — ranked higher than in 2020-2022, and despite higher prices and interest rates, the perception of value has improved as well.