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23.04.2020 | 8 minutes

From a driver’s logbook to roadside assistance: The best apps for drivers of electric cars

Apps show the nearest charging station, control vehicle functions, and can help in case of breakdowns. We’ll show you the five most important helping hands to keep any fleet running smoothly.

They make your life easier and less complicated: apps. There is quite a selection of helpful apps, which electric car drivers can take advantage of, too. They can find the right charging station, handle the payment process, and keep a driver’s logbook. We’ll show you the best apps for electric car drivers.

1. Find a charging station: Vattenfall InCharge app and Plugsurfing

The Vattenfall InCharge app automatically finds charging stations for electric cars from Vattenfall and partners. It can even check availability. In so doing, it offers access to the Vattenfall charging network for electric cars with more than 60,000 charging points throughout Europe. Filter by availability and capacity to find compatible charging stations. You can check your past charging times and keep track of your active charging cards. A special feature: Use the app’s quick start feature for charging at Vattenfall charging stations – without the charging card. Just register your credit card in the app. It’s convenient and secure. You can then start charging immediately at all public charging stations of Vattenfall InCharge.

The Vattenfall InCharge charging stations are also a part of the Plugsurfing network of charging stations. With the app it is possible to charge at any one of more than 85,000 charging points in Europe. Just download the app and register.

Both apps are free of charge and available for the Android and iOS platforms. However, to use Plugsurfing, you need to purchase a charge key (€9.95), which grants you access to the charging stations. Vattenfall InCharge’s charging card is free of charge.

2. Tracking/driver’s logbook: TripTracker

Drivers of electric cars can use TripTracker to accurately track and record their trips, including costs. Trip Tracker features GPS tracking to enable you to conveniently connect to the car via the OBDII interface, an integrated vehicle diagnostic system. The required data is exported via Bluetooth and displayed in the app using clear diagrams.

Any error codes can also be evaluated, in addition to real-time vehicle data. Users also have the option of sharing their logbook with others or keeping a group logbook. An additional advantage of the app is the PDF export feature. TripTracker was developed on the basis of the relevant regulations in Germany, meaning the logbook is also officially recognized by the German authorities. However, the app is only available for the Android platform.

The Pro version of TripTracker is available for a one-time fee of €9.99. In the free version, users can add specific features, which cost between €2.99 and €6.90, like the Sync feature, which syncs the logbook data across several devices.

3. Proprietary apps

Many car manufacturers such as Volvo, Mercedes, and others offer apps tailored to their vehicles. They can be used to control a variety of vehicle functions. For example, the Volkswagen EV Check app can track driving behavior: distance travelled, battery and energy consumption, CO2 emissions, and total costs. Porsche has now also introduced the Porsche Charging Service, a standard system for finding and using charging stations throughout Europe, which is being expanded to include apps for various models. After all, the Taycan is now the first fully electric Porsche vehicle on the market.

The proprietary apps usually offer the optimum service for the respective car model, as they are tailored precisely to the vehicle. For example, drivers can plan their routes based on the next charging station with particular precision.

4. Simple parking: WePark

“Park. Click. Done.” Volkswagen’s advertising slogan for its WePark app, which is also a proprietary app. However, you don’t need to drive a Volkswagen to use it. You can use WePark to conveniently find parking spaces and pay without cash in more than 200 German cities. The app turns your smartphone into a ticket machine for parking. You start and end your parking time conveniently from your smartphone. The fee is paid by electronic bank transfer.

The concept has several advantages. For example, you no longer have to think about how long you will be away from your car when parking in paid parking zones. You do not need look for exact change either. WePark also shows you the areas in which you are not allowed to park a vehicle as well as the parking rates. The app is free of charge and available for the Android and iOS platforms.

By the way, Vattenfall electricity customers pay even less when they park if they use WePark through the customer benefit program my Highlights.

Further service providers:

  • Parkopedia: Business hours of parking lots/structures, prices, payment methods, access restrictions, and more – there is little that Parkopedia doesn’t already know. It draws on very up-to-date and complete data as well as provides excellent coverage. The app costs €2 or less.
  • PayByPhone: With this free app you can find the nearest parking facilities, just like with WePark and Parkopedia. It is particularly handy: The app automatically reminds you in time to renew your ticket before it expires. This is also possible when you’re on the go and you won’t need to search for small change.

5. Roadside assistance

Even the most reliable electric car can have a breakdown. But roadside assistance is never far away for your electric car either, thanks to a digital helper: The ACE (Auto Club Europa e.V.) app makes it quick and convenient to call the emergency service of ACE. The service includes more than just roadside assistance; it can also provide you with legal assistance in the event of an accident. If the situation is unclear or you need to reassure yourself, the app can put you in touch with ACE-affiliated lawyers in your area. ADAC also offers roadside assistance apps with similar capabilities. The German equivalent of ACE even has another app specifically designed for roadside assistance when traveling abroad (ADAC Auslandshelfer).


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