EV owners report more new car problems than industry average


EV owners report more new car problems than industry average

  • Electric vehicles fall far below gasoline-powered vehicles in initial quality, in J.D. Power’s latest survey
  • Polestar, Rivian and Tesla weren’t ranked, but the survey didn’t score them highly
  • Owners don’t like vehicle functions embedded in touchscreens 

On average, owners of new EVs reported more problems than owners of internal-combustion vehicles in the 2024 J.D. Power Initial Quality Study.

The annual 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. This year, J.D. Power surveyed 99,144 purchasers and lessees of 2024-model-year vehicles in the U.S., and also incorporated data on repair visits to franchised dealerships for the first time. The results weren’t encouraging for EVs.

2024 Rivian R1S

Electric cars averaged 266 problems per 100 vehicles, compared to 180 problems per 100 vehicles for gasoline and diesel vehicles. The industry average for brands, across all powertrain types, was 195 problems per 100 vehicles. Mass-market brands averaged 181 problems per 100 vehicles, while premium brands were higher at 232 problems, which J.D. Power attributes to the often more-complicated tech features these brands deploy.

Among the all-EV brands included in the study, Polestar averaged 316 problems per 100 vehicles while Tesla and Rivian both average 266 problems. These brands didn’t qualify for rankings, but J.D. Power noted that Tesla’s initial quality was roughly level with that of EVs from traditional automakers.

Tesla Model 3 Performance

Tesla Model 3 Performance

Tesla has performed better in the past, J.D. Power noted, adding that the removal of conventional controls like turn signal and wiper stalks “has not been well received by Tesla customers.” Indeed, some of those customers are adding them back to the Model S, Model X, and the recently introduced Model 3 refresh, known as the Highland. But controls, displays, and tech features were a problem for EVs overall, the study found, with 30% higher problems per 100 vehicles compared to gasoline models.

These findings echo other recent J.D. Power studies. In its 2025 Vehicle Dependability Study, which looked at owner-reported issues in the first three years ownership, J.D. Power found that EVs and plug-in hybrids were more trouble-prone than hybrids. In its 2022 Initial Quality Study, J.D. Power emphasized that EV powertrains aren’t especially trouble-prone, but all the other tech is.

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