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J.D. Power: Most EV smartphone apps leave much to be desired


Modern drivers depend on smartphone apps to manage charging and other vehicle functions. However, it will probably be no surprise to learn that a recent study from consumer insight specialist J.D. Power found a low level of customer satisfaction with the apps provided by various EV-makers.

The recent OEM EV App Benchmark Study gauged EV owners’ experience with their brands’ mobile apps. More than 1,000 EV owners of 15 different EV models in the United States were surveyed in March 2022.

Some of the findings:

  • Drivers of legacy vehicles use automaker apps, but EV drivers use theirs more—over 50% of EV owners said they use their brand’s app at least half of the time they drive.
  • Many apps lack features users would like to have—15 features were cited as desirable by 70% of EV owners, but only 8 of these are widely available. Some advanced features—such as using the phone as a key—are only offered by a few automakers.
  • Dealers are doing a poor job explaining apps to buyers—32% of owners say they have never used their EV apps because they don’t know how.
  • Automakers’ dreams of earning ongoing revenue from owners are probably fantasy—Power found that users stop using their EV apps when a free trial period expires. Owners say they’re not willing to pay for a manufacturer’s EV app.
  • The top-performing EV apps, according to Power’s respondents, are the FordPass, Tesla, MyHyundai, Kia Access and Genesis Intelligent Assistant.

“For the most part, owners are still very dissatisfied with the functionality and speed of the EV apps that are on the market,” said Jason Norton, Senior Manager of Global Automotive Consulting at J.D. Power, “Manufacturers need greater focus on these critical areas, creating a user experience which aligns with other frequently used consumer apps. For instance, banking customers would probably not wait 60 seconds to view their account balances on their bank’s app, so why would EV owners wait that long to confirm that their vehicle doors are locked?”

“New EV startups need to better understand consumer expectations, ensuring that their mobile apps meet the standards of established EV manufacturers like Tesla and other brands that already put a lot of work in their digital offerings,” said Fabian Chowanetz, Director of Automotive Consulting at J.D. Power Europe. “Many of these new players in the EV market are not providing the necessary app content that owners are seeking. For example, owners want the ability to find charging stations, set up the charging process and information on electric driving or advanced technology.”

Source: J.D. Power