Tapadoo wins Electric Dreams ecar competition

17 Dec 2010

Irish-based mobile phone app developer Tapadoo has scooped the ESB and Science Gallery Electric Dream competition for its app concept to use ecars as a public service, along with a fun ‘gamification’ proposal to help change people’s behaviours towards sustainability.

The Electric Dream competition final, a Science Gallery and ESB initiative, invited entries from app developers to come up with their perfect mobile ecar app.

The winner Tapadoo will be given a month’s use of an ESB ecar, as well as collaborating further with ESB to potentially create a real app based on the concept.

Speaking following today’s announcement, Dermot Daly, Tapadoo’s founder, said that the company’s approach to the app for Electric Dreams was three pronged.

“The brief asked you to consider the car, the smart charging station and the driver in harmony.

“First of all, it was about imagining if you could rent an ecar just like you can with DublinBikes.

“So the apps concept that we had would be that it helps you find where there are ecars available, book an ecar and then drop it back at a charging station in the city.

“Also, once the person finishes a journey, they plug the ecar back in. The car knows how long that last journey was and you can calculate from it how good that journey was for the environment, relative to if you had used a petrol car.”

Therefore, he says users will have a “positive feedback loop” that says “well done, you’ve saved this amount of CO2.”

Social networking to spread the ecar vibe

The next idea Tapadoo came up with was to use social networking to publicise what you have achieved by driving an ecar and raising awareness.

“You can automatically post on Twitter and Facebook what you have done and raise awareness of the ecar scheme. That is how we brought in the user,” says Daly.


The final element the Tapadoo team added to the mix was gamification.

“This is making something fun in order to change people’s behaviour. You are using a competition to do good,” he explains.

“So we gamified the concept of the good you are you doing to the environment by saying ‘imagine you had this app and every user was in a leaderboard of how they are helping save the planet by their ecar usage. This means that when you are finished your journey you might get a badge similar to what happens on FourSquare.

“It could say, for example, that you are the fifth best user in the country in terms of ecar usage.”

Daly now has the free use of an ecar for a month and the ESB is going to put a charging station into his house.

Sustainable transport

Speaking about the winning app proposal, Dervla O’Flaherty, marketing and communications manager, ESB ecars, adds: “What we liked about Dermot’s app proposal was linking it in with social media channels. It’s an engaging and interactive way to make people think about sustainable transport and how they drive.

“Dermot’s app stood out because not only would it promote awareness of the scheme itself but it’s hoping to change people’s behaviour and also about how driving in an environmentally friendly way can be fun.”

Finally, O’Flaherty says that ESB ecars is looking to develop the app.

“We’re going to talk to Tapadoo next week about how we can actually realise it,” she affirms.

“We really want Irish companies to get involved in the whole ecars initiative. There’s so much IT and communications surrounding it. It’s a whole new industry.”

For further information on ESB ecars visit its dedicated website.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic