Zap-Map, the UK’s most popular electric vehicle (EV) charging digital platform, today announces the launch of a free voice-activated function on Google Assistant, allowing users to search for EV charge points using voice commands at home, work or on the move – including while driving – using hands-free voice commands.
Available on Android and iOS mobile devices, Google Home and in-car using the latest version of Android Auto, Zap-Map uses natural language processing to provide voice responses to customers’ commands such as ‘find a charger nearby’.
Drivers can quickly access Zap-Map’s comprehensive database of over 95% of all public charge points – the biggest in the UK – to find charge points on route to a destination, or even filter by rapid or non-rapid devices. The information provided on charging locations includes the network operator, driving distance and status updates, including whether a charger is out of order or currently in use.*
The move has been widely praised by industry experts including Simon Williams from the RAC, who said: “If we are serious about moving towards zero-emission cars, it is imperative drivers have the confidence to make the switch to electric vehicles. Easy-to-use and accessible digital tools, such as the one announced today, will be key to helping the growing number of EV drivers navigate the unfamiliar world of public charging safely while on the move.”
Ben Lane, co-founder of Zap-Map, commented: “The launch of voice integration on Zap-Map is a huge step towards our mission to accelerate the shift from fossil fuel to electric cars. We are providing a quick and simple way for EV drivers to find out information on charge points at home, on the move and, for the first time ever, hands-free when they most need it – while driving.”
The new product is set to capitalise on rapidly shifting consumer behaviour as electrification and digitisation begin to dominate. The number of EVs on British roads is predicted to hit 35 million by 2050,** while at the same time, the number of virtual digital assistant devices, such as Google Assistant, is due to surpass world population by 2021.***
This news follows a number of announcements aimed at solidifying the Bristol-based company’s position as the go-to EV charging platform for drivers. Zap-Map already licenses its live mapping service to several companies including Nissan for use on its customer portal, and is partnered with Go Ultra Low, the government and car industry backed campaign designed to encourage EV-adoption.
Zap-Map plans to expand its services even further in 2020 by integrating with open in-car dash systems Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It will also launch its much-anticipated Zap-Pay feature, due in early 2020 – a dedicated payment service usable across multiple network providers. These features follow the success of the route planner which helps EV drivers plan longer journeys and Zap-Home, a network of private charging locations owned by households and businesses who have chosen to share electricity with other Zap-Map registered drivers.
Ben Lane added: “By continuing to offer a comprehensive suite of best-in-class digital tools, we’re helping drivers squeeze every drop of value from their EVs. This consolidation of various charging platforms, payment methods and user interfaces into a one-stop-shop app is making transition to EVs easier and more exciting than ever before.”
The new service is now available in Zap-Map’s voice app for Google Assistant and can be activated by saying ‘Hey Google… Talk to Zap-Map.’
* Where available. 60% of Zap-Map’s database is dynamic status data, which is updated every 5 minutes, allowing customers to know if a charger is working or currently in use before the driver arrives.
** National Grid: Future Energy Scenarios 2019.