Google Maps rolls out features to help EV drivers find nearby chargers, plan trips

Popular navigation app Google Maps is introducing features to help electric vehicle drivers alleviate a primary concern: finding a place to charge.

EV chargers
Open EV charging stations at a Royal Farms gas station in South Riding, Virginia. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)

In a blog post, Google said it is starting to roll out features within the Google Maps app to direct drivers to nearby charging stations.

While most EV owners have likely learned the location of charging stations near their home, for an EV driver running errands, running low on power can be nerve-racking.

“If you’re low on charge while on the road or you need to top off while running errands, soon you’ll be able to see nearby chargers on the in-car map, with information like real-time port availability and charging speed,” according to Google’s blog post.

“This update will roll out globally, starting with vehicles with Google built-in the coming months.”

In addition, users will be prompted to enter the type of plug they used to charge and how long they had to wait. Google said that information will be used in AI summaries to help drivers find chargers in tricky locations.

Google also said detailed descriptions may show when users are headed to a charging station, with specific instructions like ‘Enter the underground parking lot and follow the signs toward the exit. Just before exiting, turn right.’

In addition to assisting already-on-the-go drivers, Google said its EV-aware mapping software will make trip planning easier and more economical.

For a family planning a multi-state trip, “Maps will suggest the best charging stops along the way, based on your battery’s charge level,” according to the company. With its search feature, the app can also help find hotels that offer onsite EV charging.

Another Google-owned navigation app, Waze, is already guiding EV drivers to chargers. The feature was added in May 2023.

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Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a general assignment reporter with WTOP since 1997. He says he looks forward to coming to work every day, even though that means waking up at 3:30 a.m.

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