From Zap Map To Wallbox: Exploring The Best EV Apps
Practically everyone has a smartphone these days, meaning they have access to a world of apps out there. Some help with mundane tasks like solving equations, and others — like Zap Map and Wallbox — are made for EV owners.
Apps like these make life a little easier and cut down the time it takes to find public charging stations near you. Others help with home charging units, allowing you to pick and choose when you charge.
Yes, some people tend to leave their electric cars on charge overnight for convenience, but we’re here to tell you there is another way.
Today we’ll be looking at electric car apps for your downloading pleasure — some aren’t even on the market yet, but will no doubt prove helpful in the future if you’re looking to save on time/money in the long haul.
This will be essential reading for those wanting a guide on PlugShare, Zap Map and many of the car charging apps you never thought to try, until now.
EV Apps Help Make Life Easier
The apps we’ll be breaking down later on aren’t those you download once and never open again. No, these apps have practical uses that thread into your day-to-day seamlessly.
We’d even go as far as saying that they’re almost as essential as the alarm clock app that comes with the phone you purchase.
And that’s not hyperbole; we mean that 100%.
Look on the App Store, and you’ll find dozens of electric vehicle apps out there. Some have been developed by notable websites, others by car brands directly, and then there are those with unique concepts made by independent thinkers.
Have you ever Googled “free charge points near me”? Yeah, that’s basically what apps like Zap Map and PlugShare do, only better.
If you don’t have space on your phone, make room for the apps we’re about to cover could change everything.
Apps these days configure with smart watches too.
Some of these electric vehicle apps you might already know — others, not so much.
Oh, and the list is in no particular order for those wondering.
Why Download?: Charge point locator with a focus on community
The first electric car app we’re covering is arguably the best.
If you’ve never heard of Zap Map, you have now.
This EV app allows drivers to find charging points near them and so much more. According to Zap Map, the app itself attracts more than 130,000 UK users a month.
The app has 95%+ of public charge points mapped; you could be in the middle of nowhere, and Zap Map will still have your back.
If you’re someone that likes to plan ahead and owns an EV, then having Zap Map on your phone is a godsend. Furthermore. Zap Map is incredibly easy to use, giving you the ability to zoom in and out of set locations on a map.
Unlike other EV apps out there, Zap Map has a community feel to it. Users have the ability to review individual charge points, giving users the chance to choose only the best public point.
You can also pay for EV charging through the Zap Map app directly. Images of each charging point are beneficial too.
Moreover, search filters are very helpful. You can search by connector types, networks and pricing, which only adds to the appeal of Zap Map as a result.
Right now, Zap Map has a user rating of 4.6/5 on the app store out of 10,000 reviews.
Why Download?: Electric car charging subscription service.
Don’t have the means to install a car charging unit at home? No problem. BP Pulse could be the answer if you insist on visiting public points.
You see, BP Pulse give downloaders the option to choose between a subscription model and a standard pay-as-you-go type deal. To subscribe to BP Pulse, you’ll need to pay around £7.85 per month; doing so will grant access to over 8,000 charging points across the UK.
Don’t get it twisted. You’ll still need to pay to access the BP Pulse charging stations; you’ll simply spend less (per kWh used).
Using a BP Pulse charging station gives you, the driver, access to multiple types of chargers. There are rapid chargers (50kW) and ultra-fast chargers (150kW) ready and waiting for you.
As you can expect, the cost of using an ultra-fast charger is pricier than your standard option. With a BP Pulse subscription, you’ll need to pay 16p per kW to use the slow charger, whereas the 50kW unit will ask for 23p, and then 27p is required to use the ultra-rapid 150kW unit.
Not everyone will see the need to install the BP Pulse app and pay for the service, but it’s certainly an option if you’d like to go down this route.
After all, ultra-rapid chargers are exclusive to public charging at this point in time.
Free?: Yes (coming soon)
Why Download?: Earn rewards for turning off appliances at set times.
The next app in our list here has multiple benefits that apply to other home appliances, not just home EV chargers.
Say hello to Equiwatt, an app currently in development and has a lot of potential as it looks to establish a “virtual power plant,” which is easily the coolest thing we’ve heard this year.
So, how does it work?
In short, you register with the app and earn points by giving Equiwatt the ability to turn off smart appliances whenever it feels a strain on the grid, thus allowing you to charge what you need at times when it’s cheapest.
By smart appliances, we mean fridges, lights, heaters, electric car chargers; basically, anything that can be controlled remotely.
Wanna know the best part? You’ll be rewarded for downloading this app through a points-based system. Points can be used to purchase vouchers and other incentives.
Through the Equiwatt app, you can save up to £60 a year in rewards.
We recently spoke to Geoff Phillips, CMO of Equiwatt, who believes it can make a big difference: “Households are one of the biggest contributors to carbon generation in the UK. What we set out to do was to give householders a lower-cost way to reduce CO2 and get rewarded for it.”
Equiwatt is currently looking for participants to help shape an app fit for market through a unique trial.
Why Download?: Helps you discover charge points near you.
Like Zap Map, PlugShare is an ideal app to own for discovering public charging locations dotted near you.
PlugShare claims to be “the most accurate EV and Tesla charging station app.” And who could disagree, what with the app having over 400,000 electric car charging stations mapped.
Networks found on the app include:
- Tesla Destination
- And more!
You could argue that while Zap Map has the UK on lock, PlugShare has a lot more to offer overseas — North America, to be specific.
The two have a lot in common in terms of basic features. Both allow you to find/save electric car charging stations, browse user ratings/images of each station, and pay via the app ahead of time.
Which you choose between PlugShare and Zap Map is entirely up to you. We just thought we’d include PlugShare here to provide some variety.
And for you American readers, PlugShare is probably the better bet if you compare it with Zap Map.
Why Download?: Connects to your Wallbox home charger.
To get the most out of the next electric car app, you’ll need to buy the Wallbox charger beforehand.
Multiple chargers are available, covering both type 1 and type 2 vehicle connectors. Some are cheaper than others (go figure), but the app you can download only has the one version.
And what an app it is.
Using the Wallbox app allows you to access your home car charger anywhere and at any time. Moreover, the app creates graphs, allowing you to visualise your energy consumption.
The Wallbox app allows you to schedule charging sessions in advance too. Very handy for organised EV owners.
Navigation-wise, the Wallbox app is very easy to control. The use of highlighter colours help everything stand out, and the buttons are just as unique.
We know this is an app tied to a product. Still, we knew we had to mention it here as it is the quintessential home charging unit app, in our opinion.
Go on, convince us otherwise.
If you’d like to know more about this unit, check out our EV home charger buyers guide. We cover all the bases making it very easy to find the right home kit for you.
Why Download?: Locates hotels with EV charging.
EV Hotels is a pretty self-explanatory electric car app.
Suppose you’re planning on travelling and own an electric car. In that case, using EV Hotels can help you plan ahead, ensuring that you book somewhere with the proper facilities.
As of June 2021, there are 25,000+ hotels listed on the EV Hotels app across 170+ international hotel brands.
Businessmen, this could be the electric car app you’ve been looking for. One of the only downsides to this app is the interface/graphics; the word plain comes to mind.
It’s true; you will need to pay for this app which might turn some of you away. After all, Google is pretty handy at identifying hotels with electric vehicle chargers included.
Then again, Google doesn’t have a dedicated hotel app, do they?
Why Download?: Allows direct communication with your vehicle.
Last but certainly not least, we have the Tesla app.
Like the Wallbox EV app, you need to own the product it configures with — in this case, a Tesla vehicle. For those that need a refresher, that could be any version of the Model S, Model 3 and Roadster (depending on your country of origin).
Downloading the Tesla app is almost a requirement, opening drivers up to a completely new experience. Using this electric car app allows you to check charging progress in real-time, heat up/cool down your vehicle before you even get in, and even lock your ride from the push of a button.
Furthermore, you can locate your Tesla at all times, not to mention track its movement; if it moves without your consent, you’ll know.
You can also use the Tesla app to have your vehicle leave your garage — as long as you have Autopilot enabled.
It goes without saying, but Tesla does many things better, and having the best electric car app is certainly one of them.
Other car companies should be taking notes, as this is how you do an electric car app offering a complete second-screen experience.
Wrapping Up: From Zap Map To Wallbox: Exploring The Best EV Apps
So, which is the best EV charging app, in your opinion, after seeing what’s out there? It’s hard not to see Zap Map as one of the leading applications, but there’s just something about the PlugShare app that we can’t shake.
And who could forget the Equiwatt app? This app could make you a decent amount of money once it’s ready.
It’s true when they say there’s an app for everything these days. Expect more innovative/helpful EV apps to release in the coming years as these eco-friendly vehicles begin to replace standard combustion engine types.
It doesn’t matter what time of handheld you own; there are electric car apps for everyone.
So, what are you waiting for? Get downloading.
Electric Vehicle App FAQs
What is the best EV charging app?
The answer to this question depends entirely on your location. Generally, we’d say that the app given to you by the charging unit/car brand is the best EV charging app for you. Both the Wallbox/Tesla apps are great; we know that.
Are EV apps free, or do you need to pay for them?
Some apps do cost money to download, yes. Still, some of the best apps out there (Zap Map, for example) are 100% free and will save you the pain/trouble of finding a charging station near your current location.
What EV charging apps do I need?
We’d recommend downloading Zap Map for finding charging points near you. If you purchase a home charging unit, then you will need to download the app that connects to the box.
If you’re someone who finds themselves on the road frequently and without a home charger, you might want to consider a subscription to BP Pulse. You’ll actually save more money over time if you choose to charge your vehicle publicly.
Do electric cars have apps?
Some do, yeah. Manufacturers like Tesla, Nissan and Vauxhall — to name but a few — all offer dedicated apps that add to the experience of owning an EV. Using these apps, you can see how many miles you have left on each charge and so much more.