Zap-Map, the EV charging point and route planner, has announced that it now works with Google Assistant. The move is to help drivers – and those planning to drive – search for charge points by using hands-free voice commands.
The company's app is available on Android and iOS mobile devices, where the integration works with Google Home via 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’.
The app claims to have 95% of the UK’s charging points – 16,583 charge point devices at 10,385 locations – stored in its database, making it the largest database of charging points in the country. 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 launch of voice integration on Zap-Map is a huge step towards our mission to accelerate the shift from fossil fuel to electric cars,” said Ben Lane, co-founder of Zap-Map. “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. 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.”
The new service is now available and is activated by saying “Hey Google…Talk to Zap-Map“.
It’s the latest upgrade to the company’s offering, after 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.
The Bristol-based company also continues to try and position itself 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.
To help cement that leading position, an ambitious plan for 2020 has been announced, including integration with open in-car dash systems that use Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Additionally, it aims to launch a dedicated payment service across multiple network providers.
“If we are serious about moving towards zero-emission cars, it is imperative drivers have the confidence to make the switch to electric vehicles,” said Simon Williams from the RAC. “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.”
In the UK, Zap-Map claims more than 100,000 users per month from a rapidly growing fleet of around 90,000 pure-EVs (Zap-Map’s core user group) and 160,000 plug-in hybrids.
The number of EVs on British roads is predicted to hit 35 million by 2050, according to a report by the National Grid while at the same time, the number of virtual digital assistant devices, such as Google Assistant, is due to surpass world population by 2021, according to research company Ovum.