Along with other AI-powered search upgrades, Google announced a slate of new Google Maps features for owners of electric vehicles that have the company’s navigation tool built-in. The aim is to improve the experience of finding the right EV charging station and to plan trips when charging might be necessary.
Before we get to the new features, a fair warning: only a handful of EVs come with Google Maps built-in, including vehicles from Polestar, Volvo, certain General Motors vehicles, and Renault. (Honda and Ford electric vehicles with Google built-in are coming soon.) EV owners who use Google Maps on their mobile device, or through Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, will not be able to use these new features.
For EV owners with Google Maps built-in, here are the new features being rolled out over the next few months:
EV charging stops for short trips. Drivers used to have to manually add a charging stop when planning a short trip, but now Google Maps will just do it for you. Google will even figure out the optimal charging stop to minimize the overall trip time by including driving and charging time and also taking into account the charging speeds at the suggested stations. Google will also recognize external factors like road conditions and your vehicle’s capabilities in making its recommendations.
New filter for “very fast charging.” Sometimes you want to skip all the Level 2 chargers and head straight for the fast ones. For those moments, Google Maps will now allow you to filter for “very fast charging” of speeds starting at 150kW and up to 350kW. This gives drivers the option to see only the ultra-quick charging locations when searching for a nearby station.
EV charging shown in search results. When you’re searching for something, like a grocery store, Google Maps will now show you whether there’s an EV charger present in the search results. That could be useful when you’re running some errands and need help choosing between a couple of nearby locations. Maybe the presence of an EV charger will help tip the scales.
None of these new features are game-changers necessarily, but taken together, they should help make the experience of searching for charging stations a little easier. Google has been incrementally adding EV charging features to Maps for years: everything from the types of plugs present at a charging station to whether those plugs are currently in use.
There is a host of EV charging navigation tools, from A Better Route Planner to PlugShare to Chargeway. All have their upsides and downsides. But with these new updates, Google Maps may soon rise to the top of the list of preferred services by EV owners. Let’s see what happens when they roll these features out to mobile Maps users.