Study: Advanced Technology More Problematic For Battery-Electric Vehicles

Battery-electric vehicle (BEV) owners experienced more problems with advanced technology than owners of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, according to the recently released 2023 U.S. Tech Experience Index (TXI) Study from J.D. Power.

According to J.D. Power, 17 of the 21 advanced features offered on both types of vehicles had more quality problems per 100 vehicles (PP100) for BEVs (excluding Tesla) than for ICE vehicles. Additionally, satisfaction was lower for BEVs across 86% of the advanced technology compared with those on ICE vehicles.

Features such as remote parking assistance (27.4 PP100 among BEVs versus 10.7 PP100 among ICE vehicles) and interior gesture controls (49.6 PP100 among BEVs versus 31.2 PP100 among ICE vehicles) had some of the largest gaps.

Findings were consistent across the J.D. Power 2023 Initial Quality Study (IQS) and 2023 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study. Total vehicle problems in the IQS were 46% higher among BEVs (excluding Tesla) than ICE vehicles, and satisfaction was lower among owners of BEVs across nine of 10 APEAL categories than among owners of ICE vehicles.

KEY FINDINGS … According to J.D. Power, new manufacturers like Tesla, Rivian, Lucid and Polestar are making a strong debut in the U.S. market in terms of advanced technology. While some brands have small sample sizes and state registration restrictions prohibit ranking, most of the innovation of these newer brands far exceeded that of traditional manufacturers, except for Genesis, and significantly outpaced the Innovation Index premium average of 588 on a 1,000-point scale.

While the innovation and technology offerings were high for new manufacturers, they did not provide a problem-free experience. Average problem levels for advanced technology among new manufacturers, except for Polestar, were well above the premium average of 24.3 PP100 and were among the highest in the industry.

In terms of accuracy, biometrics that monitor behavioral characteristics (such as eye movement) were less problematic than those that monitor physiological characteristics (facial recognition, for example) but were more annoying, according to S&P.

Regardless of the biometric type, owners said they do not consider them to be useful.

Fingerprint reader rated 7.24 on a 10-point scale, while facial recognition came in at 7.48 and direct driver monitoring scored 7.75. And, despite continued use, biometric technology had low desirability in terms of owners wanting them in their next vehicle compared with other forms of advanced technology.

Plug-and-charge technology was well-liked by owners even though new technology in BEVs often can be problematic. According to S&P, 72% of owners said they want the technology on their next vehicle, and, with just 6.0 PP100 and an overall satisfaction of 8.89 on a 10-point scale across the industry, plug-and-charge technology was well executed across most manufacturers and vehicle owners said called it a much-appreciated feature.

Among owners who said they use specific technology all the time, usage of much safety and ADAS technology declined slightly year over year. This was most noticeable for reverse automatic emergency braking (down 4 percentage points), safe exit assist (down 3 percentage points) and automatic emergency steering (down 3 percentage points).

While usage rates were still relatively high, J.D. Power called small declines across the technology a worrying sign that reinforced the need for automakers to remain diligent on providing a positive customer experience so that trust and perceived feature usefulness are not negatively affected.

Genesis ranked highest overall and highest among premium brands for innovation, with a score of 656. In the premium segment, Cadillac (533) and Lexus (533) came in second in a tie.

Hyundai ranked highest among mass-market brands for innovation with a score of 547. Kia (528) came in second and GMC (505) third.

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