Drivers use OEM apps, but aren’t enthused: JD Power study

Though more than half of EV drivers are using their OEM’s app at least 50 per cent of the time they are driving, they aren’t particularly enthused about the utility and speed of these tools. Mainly the apps are used to check range information and active charging status, but, “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.

J.D. Power’s OEM EV App Benchmark Study, released on Wednesday, illustrates that even though app usage by owners of gas-powered vehicles has increased during recent years, owners of electric vehicles (EVs) are still more likely to use their app on a more regular basis. But that doesn’t mean they are particularly happy about it. The study shows the industry faces ongoing challenges to provide a compelling customer experience. Acknowledging the increase of EV sales and model offerings, the study evaluates the all-important user experience with a brand’s smartphone app.

“Manufacturers need greater focus on these critical areas, creating a user experience which aligns with other frequently used consumer apps, says Norton. “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?”

Functionality is something these apps are also lacking. According to the study, of the 20 most common app features, 15 features were cited as desirable by 70 per cent of EV owners. Surprisingly, though, only eight features are widely available. There also are new advanced features—such as being able to use a phone as a key—that more owners want added to an app but are only being offered by a few manufacturers.

Dealers could be a part of helping to increase satisfaction, because “similar to the introduction of Bluetooth in vehicles several years ago, an EV app’s features need to be explained to owners by dealership personnel. Nearly one-third (32%) of owners say they have never used their EV app because they don’t know how to do so.”

According to the expert benchmarking that J.D. Power conducted, the top-performing EV apps are the FordPass, Tesla, MyHyundai, Kia Access and Genesis Intelligent Assistant. For more information about the Electric Vehicle Mobile App Study, visit

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