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Electric vehicle owners searching for charge points in the UK may soon be heard saying “Hey Google… Talk to Zap-Map.” 

That’s because the UK EV charging digital platform is launching a voice-activated function on Google Assistant that allows users to search for EV charge points using voice commands at home, work or on the move 

Drivers will be able to access its database of over 95% of all public charge points in the UK – to find charge points on route to a destination, or even filter by rapid or non-rapid devices. 

According to Zap-Map’s Co-Founder, Ben Lane, the launch fits the company’s ambitions to promote zero-emission cars in the UK.

He told us: “As the majority of EV drivers use the public changing network, knowing where to charge is an essential part of owning an electric vehicle. While the Zap-Map app already provides this information, the Voice Assistant is designed for EV drivers to safely and legally search for charging locations when on the move, hands-free.”

“EVs will only become mainstream when they are easy to use and Zap-Map on Google Assistant is exactly the type of digital tool which will make mass EV adoption possible.” adds Lane.

Tools such as this one have been praised by industry experts. Simon Williams from the UK’s RAC, has these words of praise this type of tool: “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.”

Zap Map Assistant Car Final

The ‘Twitter of the EV Community’

Lane says, on the whole, the UK Government has been very supportive of EVs with joined-up thinking on plug-in car grants, zero road tax, company car tax and the funding of public charging infrastructure. These initiatives amount to almost £1 billion over the past decade.

“What is needed now is continued and sustained support over the next five years with the addition of new measures to both encourage EV uptake and discourage petrol and diesel car purchase. One really effective incentive is giving EVs preferential access to bus, 2+ lanes and urban parking – evidence from the U.S. shows that these benefits are ‘worth’ thousands of pounds to drivers and act as a really big incentive to make the switch to electric.”

One community feature Lane is obviously proud of is Zap-Chat. He tells us that it’s used by thousands of EV drivers each month to log a successful charge, update the status of the charge point, edit information and add last mile information. 

“This feature is there to share information for the benefit of all EV drivers. Registered users can add information and updates to Zap-Chat and view other updates on the Zap-Chat stream, either globally or at the specific point. Think of Zap-Chat as the Twitter of the EV community!”

In 2020, Zap-Map plans to expand its services even further by integrating with open in-car dash systems Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It will also launch a payment service usable across multiple network providers.

“Our next key service is Zap-Pay, a network-independent payment channel which will bring interoperability to the UK, one of the top requests from our 90k-strong monthly users. 2020 will also see the launch of new search features within an updated UI which will include CarPlay and Android Auto so that drivers can use Zap-Map within their car’s infotainment system,” says Lane.

 

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