Government hopes the app will increase electric car uptake.
Ever wished your smart speaker could help you swot up on electric cars or tell you whether a zero-emission car might be for you? No? Well now that question will never arise, thanks to a new app from the government-run campaign for low-emission vehicles.
Go Ultra Low, which is a joint venture involving the government and car makers, exists to educate drivers about the benefits of plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicles (EVs). The new app is designed to help drivers access information about EVs and the government says it should increase uptake.
The app, which is voiced by TV star and Go Ultra Low ambassador Ben Fogle, is capable of answering more than 50 commonly asked questions about EVs, covering subjects from charging and range to costs and environmental benefits. The Department for Transport (DfT) says the app, dubbed the Electric Vehicles Voice App, “aims to promote and inform”.
Users can start the app simply by saying, “Alexa, open electric vehicles” or saying, “Okay Google, talk to electric vehicles guide”. They can then ask questions, which will be answered ‘by’ Ben Fogle.
Research by Wavemaker, the company that built the app with Go Ultra Low, found that just over a quarter (26 percent) of people who consider an EV go on to purchase one. The app is intended to “change people’s mindsets, positioning them as desirable and redefining the technology as normal and every-day”.
“Electric vehicles are no longer an idea for the future, with more people than ever before opting for this new and exciting form of transport,” said transport minister Rachel Maclean. “Whether you’re interested in costs or the environmental benefits, this new app supported through the government’s Go Ultra low campaign, will help to drive the uptake of electric vehicles. This will in turn cut transport emissions and make our communities healthier, better places to live… all from the comfort of our own sofas.”
Meanwhile the head of Go Ultra Low, Poppy Welch, said the app was a new way of educating consumers about EVs.
“If we want to help UK consumers make the most informed decision when it comes to switching to an electric vehicle, it’s important that Go Ultra Low understands the latest consumer behaviour and embraces new technology,” she said. “Voice Search is a growing trend and this new service will help support potential EV customers in a completely different and innovative way. It’s been great working with Wavemaker and in the space of 5 weeks we’ve developed content, designed the user experience and built the app.”