It's strange to think of a time when mobile phones didn't exist. Today, our smartphones make up a huge part of our lives, and believe it or not, we have more cell phones than people in New Zealand! With phones come apps and, usually, if you can think of something, the app already exists.

Vehicle's now go hand-in-hand with your mobile device, especially through clever infotainment connectivity like Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™. This technology allows some mobile apps to be mirrored onto the vehicles info screen where they can be accessed via the vehicle media controls.

We’ve put together a short list of some handy apps we’ve had the pleasure of using:

Gaspy – NZ Fuel Prices (300k + downloads)

Gaspy are committed to helping Kiwis find the cheapest fuel prices, closest to them with their convenient free app. The app relies on feedback generated by New Zealand motorists to locate and share the best petrol and diesel prices in the country. Gaspy was developed by Tauranga-based IT software development company Hwen, and is available on iPhone and Android.

AT Park (50k + downloads)

Looking for a street park for a short stay in the heart of the city? Then you might want to check out Auckland Transport’s parking app, AT Park, which makes parking in the central city very simple. Users can pay for parking directly from their phone, without the need to visit a parking machine or display a ticket. This now sits alongside my AT Bus tracker and AT mobile applications.

Waze (110m + downloads)

Always know what’s happening on the road with Waze. Waze has GPS navigation software that works on smartphones and tablets with GPS support. Waze provides turn-by-turn navigation information and user-submitted travel times and route details, while downloading location-dependent information over a mobile network. The app tells you about traffic, construction, crashes, and more in real-time. Waze is described as a community-driven GPS navigation app, which is free to download and use.

Manufacturer specific applications

Some vehicles have manufacturer-specific apps which transmit data from the vehicle. This allows the user to take the next step and know a little bit more about what is happening with their car such as driving stats, vehicle location, or even control cabin temperatures.

The Tesla App puts owners in direct communication with their vehicles and Powerwalls anytime, anywhere. With this app you can:

  • Unlock and drive your Tesla without your key
  • 'Summon' your Tesla to drive itself out of a tight space 
  • Check current range, charge status, and receive charging complete notifications
  • Remotely vent your vehicle or turn on the climate control system
  • GPS locating, so you never forget where you parked
  • Use Valet mode, which restricts access to your vehicle when handing over for a service or valet parking. This includes the ability to hide all personal data from your touchscreen, limit the maximum speed and performance, and lock your front storage and glove compartments to safely conceal valuables

Hyundai Auto Link connects your car’s on-board computer to your mobile phone via Bluetooth, keeping track of your car’s performance and providing analytical information so you can keep your Hyundai running smoothly. Some handy features:

  • Alert you to any sign of faults within the vehicle management system
  • Provides vehicle location and parking timer
  • Tracks rapid acceleration and hard braking (good for when the kids borrow the car)
  • Allows you to monitor your fuel efficiency statistics on each trip
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