During its WWDC event a few weeks ago, Apple announced iOS 16, highlighting a “next-generation” CarPlay experience that automakers might not be ready for any time soon. It also announced a new “fueling and driving tasks apps” feature that you will actually be able to use once the update is released.
Fueling and driving task apps
Fueling and driving task apps are available in CarPlay. Your favorite apps that help you fill your tank and provide you with road information, toll support, towing help, and more can find a home in CarPlay.
This week, Reuters reports at least one gas chain has an implementation of the feature in its pipeline, enabling a new way to find gas stations and pay at the pump using just your car’s infotainment screen. Developers at the gas companies have to enable the CarPlay feature for their iPhone apps, and the customers will need to make an account for the gas chain and add a payment method.
Dallas-based HF Sinclair Corp, the parent company of Sinclair Oil, plans on letting customers buy gas from the dash. The SVP of marketing for the company, Jack Barger, said they’re excited about the idea that customers could navigate to a Sinclair station and purchase fuel from their car’s screen. The company has over 1,600 gas stations.
It won’t be the first time a driver can activate the pump from their seat — Exxon teamed up with Ford to make its Speedpass Plus app work on the automaker’s Sync 3 infotainment system. GM also took a shot at the feature with Shell stations, but the app was shuttered earlier this year when its in-car shopping app Marketplace was discontinued.
Modern gas stations have tried adding features to their pumps that support phone apps, and tap-to-pay readers are more common than ever, but in some instances, companies like Exxon didn’t initially make it convenient — the Speedpass Plus app for iPhone included Apple Pay, but you couldn’t simply use a standard Apple Pay tap at the pump. The company even later removed the Apple Watch Speedpass plus app.
Electric vehicle charging apps like ChargePoint and Electrify America already work with Apple CarPlay, allowing you to find stations, get directions, and start charging at selected stations, all from the infotainment screen of your car. With iOS 16 launching this fall, we can expect to see more opportunities for in-car e-commerce to go with Apple’s expanding vision for apps in the connected car.