Most modern cars are gadgets on wheels, with several advanced features geared to keep owners safe and connected. Among them, battery electric vehicles (BEVs) are pushing technology to the next level with increasingly simplified architectures, fewer mechanical parts, and digital cabins.
However, BEV owners are facing more problems with advanced features compared to ICE vehicle owners, according to a new study. Satisfaction is low among BEV owners across 86 percent of modern features compared to ICE vehicles, reported JD Power in its 2023 US Tech Experience Index.
BEVs, excluding Tesla, face more quality problems per 100 vehicles (PP100) than their ICE counterparts. Certain features were particularly less favorable among BEV owners. For instance, remote parking assistance faced 27.4 problems per 100 BEVs, compared to 10.7 problems per 100 ICE vehicles.
The trend continues for interior gesture controls, which faced nearly 50 problems per 100 BEVs compared to 31.2 problems per 100 ICE vehicles. That said, biometrics monitoring behavioral characteristics like eye movement are “less problematic” than those analyzing physiological traits like facial recognition.
Other less favorable features stem from the advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) umbrella. Ratings for reverse automatic emergency braking, safe exit assist, and automatic emergency steering have marginally declined, as per JD Power.
“Success will be dependent on those manufacturers that can execute [advanced technologies] flawlessly while ensuring the user experience is the same for those who are tech-savvy and those who are not,” said Kathleen Rizk, senior director of user experience benchmarking and technology at JD Power.
The study further states that innovation is more substantial among newer manufacturers like Tesla, Lucid, Rivian, and Polestar than legacy carmakers. But the user experience isn’t problem-free. Average problems for high-tech features in BEVs (excluding Polestar) are notably more than the premium average of 24.3 problems per 100 vehicles.
The BMW iX and Mini Cooper got the award for one-pedal driving, while the Chevrolet Tahoe and Hyundai Sonata ranked highest in mass-market infotainment systems. The Chevrolet Corvette and Toyota Sequoia received the award for ground-view camera technology in their respective segments.
This study does not necessarily reflect user satisfaction across the US. The research, conducted between February and May 2023, is based on answers from 82,472 owners of MY2023 cars who were surveyed after three months of ownership. BEVs can improve over time with over-the-air upgrades, which might alter the experience after the first few months.