Kia’s EV Tied with Tesla for an Impressive Award

Electric vehicle owners were surveyed across several makes and models. Despite finding themselves in separate segments, Kia’s score emulates Tesla’s in overall satisfaction.
Written by Kerry Gibson
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Feb 4, 2022
A 2020 Niro EV parked outside
The South Korean automobile manufacturer
is surely celebrating after a recent survey suggests its Niro model is a top contender for owner satisfaction, alongside Tesla’s Model 3. An important achievement indeed, considering electric vehicles are a newly emerging market.
has been selling electric vehicles for 13 years now, the Model 3 since 2017 specifically. But Kia is relatively new to the game, as the Niro EV was only released in 2018.

Kia and Tesla owners have spoken

J.D. Power and PlugShare
researchers surveyed 8,122 owners of 2016 to 2022 electric and hybrid vehicle models to gather their data. Polling focused on 10 areas of EV ownership, most notably, cost, reliability, driving enjoyment and accuracy of advertised range. Scoring was done using a 1,000-point scale.
The Tesla Model 3 scored highest overall, and within its luxury class, at 777 points. The Kia Niro was not far behind with 744 points, a significant win considering it’s priced within the affordable class where the average score was 709.
With the federal tax rebate, the 2022 Niro EV starts at $32,490. By comparison, the base price for a 2022 Model 3 is $46,490. Tesla vehicles purchased after January 2020 are no longer eligible for the federal tax credit. This change was not applicable to many of the survey’s participants, as they would have bought their electric vehicles prior to this date. Researchers noted that overall satisfaction was higher for owners that found incentives easy to get, compared to owners who found them difficult to secure.

How do the Kia Niro and Tesla Model 3 compare?

In addition to the price difference, the two vehicles also diverge when it comes to body style. The Kia Niro is a crossover, while the Tesla Model 3 is a sedan. A hybrid version of the Niro is also available.
Survey results indicate that grievances varied across price classes. Owners of luxury EVs were more likely to complain about exterior aesthetic issues and rattling or squeaking noises. Problems with infotainment systems seemed more prevalent among owners of mass-market EVs.
Of course, not unlike their petroleum-powered counterparts, electric vehicles are just as susceptible to their own set of issues. It's reasonable to suspect these will subside over time as the emerging market of EVs gains in popularity.

Indicators for the future of EV

Another interesting discovery from the survey was that veteran EV owners were happier with their ownership experience than first-time EV owners. The data suggests there is an adjustment period to electric car ownership, especially as developments in convenience and infrastructure progress.
It’s clear that Kia will be a front runner in the EV race, alongside Tesla, as other manufacturers quickly start throwing their hats into the ring as well.
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