Electric vehicles aren’t just at the forefront of propulsion systems, they are also at the forefront of technology, and nowhere is that clearer than with manufacturer apps for smartphones.
J.D. Power found recently that many apps designed for internal combustion engine vehicles still don’t do what owners want them to, and don’t do it in a reasonable amount of time. According to the 2022 U.S. OEM ICE App Benchmark Study, overall satisfaction with these new technologies is just 699, on a 1,000 point scale.
While some manufacturers, like Mercedes, GM, Subaru, and Infiniti do perform well in most categories, no single OEM app is a top performer in all categories analyzed by J.D. Power, and many fall short of owner’s desire to complete a task in 10 seconds or less.
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“Many OEM apps still lack basic functionality,” said Jason Norton, senior manager of global automotive consulting at J.D. Power. “For example, while an app may provide users the ability to lock or unlock their vehicle remotely, the app fails to provide information on if their vehicle is locked or unlocked. The lack of current vehicle status creates an unknown for users and hinders the overall usefulness of the app.”
Worse still, just 16 percent of apps for ICE vehicles provide phone as a key technology, whereas 40 percent of OEM apps for electric vehicles provide the function. This feature is among the most highly desired by owners and is a significant contributer to increased overall usage.
Many are incomplete, too. Whereas 94 percent of OEM apps for ICE vehicles provide remote start, just 34 percent allow more advanced features, such as the ability to select a cabin temperature when they enter the car, start the seat heaters, or turn on the defroster. This is another area that has big impacts on how happy users are with their app.
The study also shows that dealers should make it a priority to educate owners on the use of the manufacturer 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 such as vehicle settings,” said Norton. “The study 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 are meeting customers’ needs and expectations.”