New CarPlay feature could let you pay for fuel right from the dashboard | Cult of Mac

New CarPlay feature could let you pay for fuel right from the dashboard

By

CarPlay may not take over the whole dashboard with iOS 16, but it may let you pay for fuel from the infotainment center.
CarPlay may not take over the whole dashboard with iOS 16, but it may let you pay for fuel from the infotainment center.
Photo: Apple

Apple previewed the next generation of CarPlay at WWDC22, but most of those new features are a ways from becoming reality. However, the arrival of iOS 16 later this year could see new CarPlay apps for “fuel and driving tasks,” including a way to pay for fuel right from the vehicle’s infotainment center.

New CarPlay apps for iOS 16 could let you pay for fuel from your car’s dashboard

To get a good idea of just how broadly integrated the next-gen CarPlay will likely be with vehicles starting late next year, check out Cult of Mac‘s WWDC22 report on the CarPlay section of the keynote.

More in the near term, a new CarPlay element mentioned in the iOS 16 feature preview will add support for app categories for “fuel and driving tasks.” iOS 16 should be released for all users in fall of this year.

With the new CarPlay apps templates, developers will be able to make apps that help users fuel up from their CarPlay-enabled display. And not only that, but they should be able to access toll road information and get towing assistance, too.

How will it work for consumers?

To use the new CarPlay feature, iPhone users download a fuel company’s app and enter payment credentials. After that set up, they’ll be able to tap on their car’s screen to activate a pump and pay.

Right now Apple doesn’t charge automakers, developers or users for CarPlay, but instead focuses on putting Apple at the forefront as cars transform into rolling computers, Horace Dediu, an analyst with Asymco and founder of Micromobility Industries, told Reuters.

The new feature will hit hundreds of car models already compatible with CarPlay this fall, when Apple’s OS release comes out.

“Forget about Apple Car — Apple CarPlay is a bigger deal,” Dediu said. “It’s very likely to scale to millions and millions of cars, if not hundreds of millions.”

Hint from WWDC22

At WWDC22, Apple seemed to foreshadow the new apps in talking about EV Charging apps that developers already had reign to work on, which enable fueling from inside the vehicle:

As you may remember, in iOS 14 we launched support for EV Charging apps. These apps aren’t just for finding locations of EV chargers, they do more than that – for example, they may help the user connect to the right charging station and start it up. We’ve heard from many developers that this type of functionality would be great for more than just electric vehicles. Whether it is traditional gasoline-enabled cars or alternative fuel vehicles, this new category enables you to support CarPlay in your fueling app.

Gas station chains show interest

And Reuters reported Thursday that some gas station chains are already preparing to let drivers pay for fuel through their cars’ infotainment centers.

Gas station chain HF Sinclair, which operates about 1,600 gas stations in the U.S., told Reuters it plans to use the technology.  And it’s excited that “consumers could navigate to a Sinclair station and purchase fuel from their vehicle navigation screen.”

Reuters also talked to P97 Networks, which manages the infrastructure behind digital fuel payments. Their representative said oil companies have told him they want to make their apps work with CarPlay. But he mentioned no brands by name.

Guidance for developers

Apple’s guidance for developers indicates driving task apps should help enable tasks that people need while driving. But they shouldn’t be for navigation. For example, a feature that finds nearby shops would not be allowed. That should be a function of the Maps app. But a mileage-logging app that calculates fuel expenses would be OK.

In another example, fueling apps are meant to enable “meaningful functionality” relevant to driving. They can’t just be a list of nearby fueling stations.

The new CarPlay app templates join supported app functions for messaging, audio, EV charging, parking, and food ordering.

Currently in developer beta, iOS 16 should be released for all users in fall 2022. Whether CarPlay-compatible fueling apps from gas station chains will be out at the same time remains unclear.