Rivan impressed in late 2021 when it brought the first electric pickup to market. Now the upstart is impressing even more. The 2023 Rivian R1T just earned the highest ranking the J.D. Power Electric Vehicle Experience study has ever bestowed.
The study ranks EVs, getting its insights directly from people who have purchased them. Ranking criteria include 10 factors such as driving enjoyment, battery range (actual and accuracy of stated), cost of ownership, reliability, and ease of charging.
Even OEM-specific apps are part of the study. J.D. Power said, “these key behaviors and insights into current EV ownership will help OEMs assess where they rank, who is doing it best, and why.”
Rivan Scores Highest in EV Satisfaction Study
In its first year, the Rivian R1T pickup earned a satisfaction score of 794 out of 1,000. That outranked the Mini Cooper SE in second place with 782. (The compact EV did register the highest score in the Mass Market EV segment.)
Second place in the Premium EV segment was the Tesla Model 3, with a score of 759. Second in the Mass Market category was the Kia EV6 with 762. The Ford F-150 Lightning, the other electric truck, was in the Mass Market category and got a score of 723 — which ranked below the segment average.
Doug Betts, President of J.D. Power’s Automotive Division, pointed out that the R1T ranked highest in seven of the 10 factors that “influence the overall ownership experience,” including quality and reliability, cost of ownership, and driving enjoyment. He said the rankings reflect how well the Rivian truck has “resonated” with owners.
Other insights in the study showed the changing landscape of new EV owners. J.D. Power said first-time EV owners climbed 11 percentage points from the 2022 study to a total of 85 percent of all EV drivers. The results of the EVX study showed first-time buyers experienced more satisfaction than repeat buyers in only one area: quality and reliability.
Buyers Who Tow Had Higher Satisfaction
Buyers who used their EV trucks to tow showed higher overall satisfaction than those who didn’t. J.D. Power said EV truck buyers who towed had a 779 average score, while those who didn’t scored a 753.
Those who towed had a higher satisfaction with driving range, too, 635 to 617. Towers also had a higher satisfaction with range accuracy, at 707 to 680. That may come as a surprise for those worried that electric pickups were not up to the job. J.D. Power said that when automakers communicate the effect of towing on range, they meet owner expectations better.
Infotainment Systems a Big Issue
The study also showed that for the third year in a row, infotainment systems were the biggest problem for mass-market electric vehicle owners. That category showed 19.2 problems per 100 vehicles versus the most problematic for premium owners, squeaks and rattles, at 17.5.
“The electric vehicle landscape is changing quickly, and newer models are bringing in more mainstream, first-time EV buyers. Recent vehicle launches from both new brands and traditional automakers have had a profound effect on what factors are most important in the ownership experience. Today’s EV owners are looking for quality, reliability, driving enjoyment, safety, and technology features.”Brent Gruber, executive director of the EV practice at J.D. Power.
According to J.D. Power, Rivian just set the bar as high as it’s ever been set.