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JD Power Snaps Up ZappyRide – is That Bad?

Without an independent ZappyRide, a lot of your favorite apps may be about to change.

Earlier this week, controversial ratings firm J.D. Power threw its hat into the EV ring by snapping up ZappyRide, an electric vehicle data company that provides white-label software and network management tools for a number of big players in the EV charging space.

The move will allow J.D. Power to offer clients a comprehensive range of services – which, it claims, will span from strategic planning for EV programs all the way to consumer shopping and cost analysis tools, and even combine all that regional and federal incentive data.

“The far-reaching implications of the historic EV transformation are not isolated to the auto industry; they are creating ripple effects far and wide that will change the game for utilities, federal and local governments, consumers and more,” said Dave Habiger, president and CEO of J.D. Power. “ZappyRide is positioned at the center of that interconnected ecosystem, delivering the software and solutions that all EV stakeholders need to make better, faster, and more well-informed decisions. By adding these capabilities and key relationships to our robust offerings in automotive and utilities data, analytics and consumer intelligence, we are strengthening our leadership position in the EV intelligence space.”

The ZappyRide acquisition, itself, is just the most recent stage of the J.D. Power E-Vision initiative to play out, and adds ZappyRide’s syndicated studies to JDP’s product offerings in the near term, while effectively eliminating it as a competitor in the B2B analytics space … but, while that’s good for JDP, it may not be good for consumers.

J.D. Power Has its Enemies

A number of people have criticized J.D. Power over conflicts of interest and strangely worded surveys leading to some bizarre results. For example, do you really believe that the Nissan Maxima was the “highest quality large car” money could buy in 2021? Really? Really!?

Not even Nissan cares about the Nissan Maxima anymore, and anyone trying to tell you otherwise is selling you something – which, ironically is exactly what people are accusing J.D. Power of trying to do. “I can imagine the money that’s changing hands from one company to the other for advertising. J.D. Power is a PR firm. It’s a public relations firm, basically an advertising agency,” says Automotive expert Scotty Kilmer, whose straight-talking style and loud opinions have earned over 5 million subscribers and a billion views on his YouTube channel. “Who would believe a word these people say about anything?”

You can check out Kilmer’s anti-JDP rant in the video, below.

With that in mind, this wasn’t any kind of “merger of equals” kind of deal. ZappyRide was bought, and its corporate culture seems likely to be overrun by JDP’s – which may mean that the same kinds of conflicts of interests that helped make the Nissan Maxima the highest quality large car you could buy last year might also make– pfft, I dunno … let’s say “Electrify America” the highest quality EV charging network in the country?

Without an independent ZappyRide, that might be a claim that no one can refute.

 

Sources: J.D. Power, via BusinessWire; Scotty Kilmer.

 
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I've been involved in motorsports and tuning since 1997, and have been a part of the Important Media Network since 2008. You can find me here, working on my Volvo fansite, riding a motorcycle around Chicago, or chasing my kids around Oak Park.

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