Mobile phone apps for ICE vehicles still lag far behind apps for electric cars

Mobile phone apps for ICE vehicles still lag far behind apps for electric cars

Electric vehicles are not only at the forefront of propulsion systems, they are also at the forefront of technology, and nowhere is this more evident than with the manufacturer’s smartphone apps.

JD Power recently found that many apps designed for vehicles with internal combustion engines still don’t do what owners want them to do, and don’t do it in a reasonable amount of time. According to the 2022 US OEM ICE App Benchmark Study, overall satisfaction with these new technologies is just 699, on a 1000-point scale.

While some manufacturers, such as Mercedes, GM, Subaru and Infiniti perform well in most categories, no single OEM app is a top performer in every category analyzed by JD Power, and many fall short of the owner’s desire to complete a task of 10 seconds or less.

Read: iOS Tesla app update lets owners remote control their electric car

“Many OEM apps still lack basic functionality,” said Jason Norton, senior manager of global automotive consulting at JD Power. “For example, while an app may give users the ability to lock or unlock their vehicle remotely, the app fails to provide information about whether the vehicle is locked or unlocked. The lack of current vehicle status creates an unknown for users and hinders the overall usefulness of the app.”

Even worse, only 16 percent of ICE vehicle apps provide telephony as a key technology, while 40 percent of EV OEM apps provide the feature. This function is among the most desired by owners and is a significant contributor to increased total use.

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Many are also incomplete. While 94 percent of OEM apps for ICE vehicles provide remote start, only 34 percent allow more advanced features, such as the ability to select a cabin temperature when entering the car, start the seat heaters, or turn on the defroster. This is another area that has a big impact on how satisfied users are with their app.

The study also shows that dealers should prioritize educating owners about using the manufacturer’s app. Of those who use their mobile phone to control their vehicle, 86 percent said they received dealer support when they picked up their new vehicle.

“Some OEM apps are quickly implementing new functionality like vehicle settings,” Norton said. “The survey results underscore the need for every OEM – even the top performers – to focus on continuous improvement to ensure that the content and speed of the app meet customer needs and expectations.”

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