- Google Maps now allows electric vehicle (EV) drivers to search for nearby charging stations, as well as real-time information on how many chargers are currently available, the type of port, charging speeds and customer reviews.
- The feature is available to drivers in the U.S. and United Kingdom and includes information on chargers from networks like Chargemaster, EVgo, SemaConnect. Chargepoint stations will be added soon.
- The feature is accessible by searching "ev charging stations" in the Google Maps app.
Having a reliable and accessible network of chargers is a necessary step to more widespread adoption of EVs, since it can assure drivers they will not be stranded without a charge.
Finding chargers — especially open ones that are compatible with the vehicle — can be a challenge, especially on longer trips or in unfamiliar areas. The new feature builds on what was previously static information in Google Maps by including live updates about how many chargers are in use, ensuring that drivers won't arrive only to have to wait.
Notably, the new feature does not include Tesla's Superchargers, although live information about that company's chargers are available through its built-in navigation system (static information about Superchargers are still on Google Maps, The Verge notes).
Still, through the partner charger networks, drivers will have access to thousands of chargers in the U.S. and U.K.
Automakers and charging networks have taken steps to not just install more chargers, but also remove small barriers for EV drivers. EVgo, for example, is rolling out Autocharge technology that will initiate charging without a driver having to use an app or payment card.
Other companies are exploring putting chargers in street infrastructure like light poles, or autonomous charging robots that would navigate parking lots, meaning EV drivers wouldn't need to seek out special spots. By removing the small barriers to charging electric vehicles, automakers and cities can make the idea of owning one more appealing to consumers.