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Zap-Map adds voice command functionality through Google Assistant

Image: Zap-Map.

Image: Zap-Map.

Zap-Map’s electric vehicle (EV) charge point database is now to be available via voice command through Google Assistant.

Google is no stranger to EV charging, adding functionality to search for charge points on its Maps service in April. However, this new feature of Google Assistant will allow drivers to access Zap-Map’s database, which Zap-Map claims covers over 95% of chargers.

The hands-free voice search locates suitable charge points nearby or en route to a destination, with Google Assistant suggesting charge points, giving status updates and providing navigation. It can also be filtered by rapid or non-rapid chargers.

Information provided on charging locations includes the network operator, driving distance and status updates.

Dynamic status data is available on 60% of the database, this includes whether a charger is out of order or in use and is updated every five minutes.

Natural language processing provides voice responses to consumer commands, such as ‘find a charger nearby’, and its hoped that the function will provide greater charge point accessibility.

The new service is available in Zap-Map’s voice app for Google Assistant and is activated by saying ‘Hey Google . . . Talk to Zap-Map’.

Ben Lane, co-founder of Zap-Map, said the launch of voice integration is a “huge step” towards its mission of accelerating the electric transition.

“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.

“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," Lane added.

The new function is free and available on Android and iOS mobile devices, as well as Google Home and in-car using the latest version of Android Auto.

Clean energy supplier Good Energy took a 12.9% stake in Zap-Map in March in a move to bolster its position in the EV market, teasing a new feature Zap-Pay.

Zap-Map has now confirmed it is set to launch Zap-Pay in early 2020. Zap-Pay is a dedicated payment service usable across multiple network providers, a feature particularly pertinent in light of the increasing conversation around EV charging interoperability.

Zap-Map also plans on expanding its services in 2020, integrating with open in-car dash systems Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, it said.

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