Simplicity, User Experience Key for EV Smartphone Apps

Christian Wardlaw | May 06, 2021

A new study by J.D. Power finds that Kia provides electric vehicle (EV) owners with the best smartphone app user experience, followed by Ford and Porsche. The three top-ranked apps are Kia Access, FordPass, and Porsche Connect.

FordPass EV Smartphone App Ranked Second JD Power

According to the inaugural J.D. Power 2021 U.S. OEM EV App Benchmark Study, EV owners are more than twice as likely to use the original equipment manufacturer’s (OEM) smartphone app than owners of vehicles equipped with an internal combustion engine (ICE). Furthermore, 41% of EV owners report using the OEM app more than half of the time or every time they drive their vehicle.

“These owners are looking for different features in a mobile app,” said Frank Hanley, senior director of global automotive consulting at J.D. Power. “With charging infrastructure still being developed and range anxiety having a significant effect on customer behavior, tasks like checking the battery level and monitoring the charging process are high priorities for EV owners.”

One finding of the study is that EV owners are new to their vehicle’s technology. To simplify the ownership experience, apps must be intuitive to use, offer a robust set of features and functionality, and put things in terms they can understand. For example, an app reminding EV owners that it is less expensive to recharge the car during off-peak electricity hours, such as overnight, is helpful.

For this inaugural study, J.D. Power surveyed 600 EV owners of 14 models on sale in the U.S. and five on sale in Europe. The study is based on a standardized evaluation approach based on 300 best practices for vehicle smartphone apps, including 60 that are EV-specific.

“With these automakers on the cusp of launching so many new EV models, they must be ready to adapt their apps to owners’ needs and invest in improving the digital experience,” said Fabian Chowanetz, manager of automotive consulting at J.D. Power Europe. “If not, loyalty and retention are at risk.”

J.D. Power is the source of information for this article. It was accurate on May 6, 2021, but it may have changed since that date.

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