Electric vehicles owners report the lowest rate of satisfaction with the important features of automaker-branded apps, according to J.D. Power.
Usage of such apps has increased, according to the J.D. Power 2023 U.S. OEM EV App Report. Even though usage by owners of gas-powered vehicles has increased, EV owners are still likely to use their apps more often, especially for viewing active charging status or checking range information.
More than two-thirds (68%) of EV owners say that they use their app at least every other drive to monitor the charging process and viewing their available range, which is in line with 2022 results. While owners predominately charge their vehicles at home, 85% say they still desire the ability to find charging stations in case they need one while away from home.
Even though EV app usage has increased over time, the app features EV owners say are most important to them are among those that have the lowest satisfaction, said Jason Norton, senior manager of global automotive consulting at J.D. Power.
“Manufacturers need to focus on improving the performance of the areas that matter most to EV owners in order to maximize their impact and elevate the user experience,” Norton says in a release.
Speed and ease of navigation are the two most important app usage elements for EV owners, yet these are among the lowest-scoring areas overall.
Conversely, an app’s visual appeal is least important to EV owners yet ranks near the top in satisfaction. This suggests manufacturers need to do a better job of focusing on areas that are most critical to app users to provide the most engaging and productive experience, per the report.
More than half (59%) of Tesla owners say the availability of the smartphone app had at least a moderate effect on their decision to purchase, compared with 35% of non-Tesla EV owners.
Furthermore, 21% of Tesla owners say it had a major effect vs. just 7% of non-Tesla EV owners.
As Tesla owners have often been on the forefront of EV trends, this suggests the industry must do a better job of communicating the availability and effect of their smartphone apps to help attract interested EV shoppers.
Tesla ranks highest among manufacturers’ EV mobile apps with a score of 838 (on a 1,000-point scale). Mercedes me connect (833) ranks second and MyHyundai (827) ranks third. The report average is 741.
The report includes apps from the top 20 award-eligible brands that sell EVs in the United States; five profiled EV brands in Europe; and eight profiled EV brands in China.
Additionally, almost 1,400 EV owners in the United States were surveyed in April-May 2023 to gather insights on app usage; feature desirability; and app overall execution.
Results are based on a standardized assessment approach relying on more than 340 best practices for vehicle apps that include more than 60 EV-specific attributes.