The J.D. Power 2023 U.S. Customer Service Index (CSI) Study reveals that electric vehicle drivers are less satisfied than internal combustion engine vehicle owners when it comes to the service experience.

According to the study, as EVs are sold in higher volumes year after year, the number of zero-emissions vehicles reaching dealerships for repairs has also increased, but with recall rates more than double among battery-powered cars compared to their gasoline or diesel counterparts, customers are understandably unsatisfied after a service appointment.

J.D. Power says that because of this, customer service satisfaction among owners of EVs is 42 points lower (on a 1,000 points scale) than among owners of ICE cars. Moreover, the knowledge (or lack thereof) of the service advisors continues to be a problem among EV owners who rated this particular issue with 8.01 points (on a 10-point scale), compared to 8.59 points among owners of ICE vehicles.

As a result of these lower scores among EVs, the overall customer service satisfaction score (ICE cars included) has declined for the first time in 28 years, from 848 points in 2022 to 846 points in this year’s study.

“As the electric vehicle segment grows, service is going to be a ‘make or break’ part of the ownership experience,” said Chris Sutton, vice president of automotive retail at J.D. Power. “The industry has been hyper-focused on launches and now these customers are bringing their electric vehicles in for maintenance and repairs. As training programs for service advisors and technicians evolve, EV service quality and customer experience must address both the vehicle and the unique customer needs. The EV segment has the potential to spur massive convenience improvements in how customers service their vehicles—but we’re not seeing the benefits yet.”

The study, now in its 43rd year, provides a numerical index ranking of the highest-performing automotive brands sold in the United States, which is based on the combined scores of five measures: service quality (32 percent importance), service advisor (19 percent), vehicle pick-up (19 percent), service facility (15 percent), and service initiation (15 percent).

Another annoyance for all car owners in the United States is the longer wait times for service appointments, which have increased steadily since 2021. Now, a premium vehicle owner has to wait 5.6 days on average before their car is taken in for a repair, while mass-market vehicle drivers have to wait 4.8 days, with labor, loaner vehicle availability, and parts shortages among the main causes for the longer wait times.

Gallery: J.D. Power 2023 U.S. Customer Service Index (CSI) Study

As for the brands themselves, Tesla and Rivian – which are EV-only carmakers – are nowhere to be found on any of the charts and aren't even mentioned in the official press release. However, Lexus (which makes the RZ), Porsche (with the Taycan), and Cadillac (which makes the Lyriq) are the top three premium brands, with the Japanese carmaker getting 900 points out of 1,000. Porsche got 880 points and Cadillac was close behind, with 879 points. In the Mass Market Brands category, Mitsubishi, Mazda, and Buick are the top three names.

The 2023 U.S. Customer Service Index Study is based on responses from 64,248 registered owners and lessees of 2020 to 2022 model-year vehicles, with answers gathered from August through December 2022.

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