Who Makes the Best EV Smartphone App?

Laurance Yap
July 5, 2024
Electric cars come packed with all kinds of great technology. So it’s no surprise that most of them come with an associated smartphone app to help control those features – especially the ones that let you manage EV charging. Who makes the best smartphone app?
Close up of Tesla App

EV Smartphone Apps

One of the main motivations for purchasing an electric car – beyond the savings on fuel and maintenance, the driving experience, and the lack of tailpipe emissions – is technology. From charging to pre-heating and pre-cooling, to sophisticated route planners and advanced driver assists, EVs come with cutting-edge features and tech that make owning and operating them a pleasure. So it should come as no surprise that, for the majority of EV drivers, the car’s associated smartphone app is an important part of the ownership experience.

Indeed, according to market research firm J.D. Power and Associates, a whopping 90% of electric car owners use their vehicle’s smartphone app, an increase over the 2023 total of 88 percent. Moreover, 67% of EV owners say they use their car’s app for more than half of their journeys – making the app a key component of the overall driving and ownership experience.

J.D. Power 2024 U.S. OEM EV App Report on premium brand apps
J.D. Power 2024 U.S. OEM EV App Report on Mass Market Brand Apps

What Are the Best EV Smartphone Apps?

Of course, not all EV smartphone apps are created equal; some are definitely better than others. After surveying over 1,300 EV owners in the United States, J.D. Power has produced a ranking of the top EV apps for both mainstream and luxury brands.

For mass-market brands, Hyundai’s MyHyundai with BlueLink app secured top marks, with a score of 835 out of a possible 1,000 points. It was followed by the Kia Access app (829 points), FordPass (810 points), myGMC (795 points), and MyNissan (787 points). The average score for the mass-market brands was 757 out of 1,000.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, scores for premium brands were a little higher. Tesla, which J.D. Power considers a premium brand, had top marks, with 847 points out of a possible 1,000. The MercedesMe Connect app came in second place, with 843 points, followed by MyBMW (834 points), Genesis Intelligent Assistant (833 points), and MyPorsche (800 points). The average score for premium brands was 774 out of 1,000.

What Makes a Good EV App?

Digging more deeply into the scores, it’s clear that the most important features of an EV’s smartphone app are all associated with charging. The most desired features include:

  • Accurately monitoring an active charge session
  • Setting charging preferences such as maximum state of charge, charging schedules, and departure timers
  • Plug and Charge integration across multiple charging providers

J.D. Power says that of the 25 most common EV app features, more than 70% of EV owners ranked charging-related features as more important in 2024 than in 2023, and 20 of the most desired app features revolved around charging.

The other key component for any EV’s smartphone app is rock-solid connectivity, something that the industry continues to struggle with. 38% of EV owners experienced connection problems between their smartphone app and their car, the same percentage as in 2023. Interestingly, non-Tesla owners reported increasing reliability with their EV’s smartphone app, with 40% having issues compared to 44% in 2023. Tesla owners reported more problems than before – 35% experienced connectivity issues, up from just 30% in 2023 and 20% in 2022.

EV Apps as Part of the Shopping Experience

What was also clear in J.D. Power’s 2024 survey was that a smartphone app’s features and performance were an important consideration when customers were purchasing a vehicle.

  • 62% of Tesla owners said that the vehicle’s smartphone app had at least a moderate effect on their purchase decision – up 3 points compared to last year
  • 34% of non-Tesla owners say their car’s app had at least a moderate effect on their purchase decision, suggesting traditional OEMs can make more sales by emphasizing the availability and features of their smartphone apps

Once customers have purchased a vehicle, dealerships seem to be doing a good job of ensuring drivers know how to use the app. 72% of EV owners reported they received assistance with the app from their dealership, up 2 points from 2023; that number rose to 88% for premium-brand EV owners. Unsurprisingly, customer satisfaction scores were higher for customers that had received dealership assistance with the app.

EV Smartphone Apps: The Verdict

As electric cars get more sophisticated and add more advanced features, the importance of their associated smartphone apps will only increase. But J.D. Power’s U.S. OEM EV App report suggests that manufacturers are largely doing a good job of designing, deploying, and updating these apps – meaning your experience with an EV will likely get better over time.

You can read the full results of the study here.