J.D. Power’s Five EV Observations

The automotive arm of consulting firm J.D. Power has been observing the automotive world for years and has been observing EV’s progression, both for its own clients and for the consumer.

Tuesday, July 9, the firm released a few EV-specific observations. Some observations will be obvious to those in the know, but it they are still interesting, even if just to realize how uninformed part of the public may be if such a consulting firm feels the need to state them.

Electric vehicles (EVs) are arriving in dealer showrooms in increasing numbers, and car companies are working overtime in order to make them appealing as daily drivers for the average consumer.

According to J.D. Power, automakers should focus on reducing consumer pain points related to the following five factors:

Price

According to the J.D. Power 2012 Electric Vehicle Ownership Study, nearly half of EV buyers want to stop visiting gas pumps and eliminate gasoline expenditures from their budgets. But the data shows that electric vehicle owners paid, on average, a $10,000 premium compared with a conventional car with a gasoline engine. Unless you’re planning on keeping your vehicle for 8-10 years, you will likely not realize any cost savings by purchasing an EV.

Size

Most electric cars are small, and the packaging of the batteries can impact both passenger room and cargo space. New technologies are in development to reduce battery size while increasing battery power and range, but for now, it simply isn’t feasible for most families to fully switch to electric.

Reliability

Consumers have expressed concern about the reliability of electric cars, and some models have demonstrated reduced range in cold weather as well as reduced battery capacity as the vehicle ages. These factors may make leasing an electric car more appealing than buying one.

Range

A fully electric car can be driven only for short distances before its owner needs to find a place to plug it in and recharge the battery. Therefore, people with predictable commutes and regular schedules are the best candidates for electric vehicle ownership.

Charging

Using a standard household power outlet, it takes a long time to recharge an electric car; usually overnight. That’s why owners frequently upgrade to a 240-volt home quick-charger, which costs about $1,500, according to the Electric Vehicle Ownership Study. Charging away from home is a concern, too, from finding a charging station to obtaining an open berth in order to hook up and recharge the vehicle.