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If you’ve got an EV, Google Maps is about to become much more valuable



Google has announced new features in its Maps app designed to help electric car drivers find a charge.

The updates include a tool to help drivers find nearby chargers with real-time information about availability and charging speed, the ability to find charging stops on longer road trips and more detailed instructions about how to find chargers within parking lots and garages.

Google expects to start rolling out these features “in the coming months,” according to a blog post. Some will come first to people who drive a car that comes with “Google Built-in,” the company’s driver-assistance software. Google updated its other route-finding app, Waze, with information on EV chargers last month.

The update addresses one of Americans’ top concerns about owning an electric vehicle: finding a place to charge. Range anxiety remains a significant barrier for EV sales — especially for drivers who don’t own a house. Among people who don’t drive an EV, roughly half say they think finding a place to charge would be “extremely” or “very” difficult, according to a 2023 Washington Post-University of Maryland poll.

EVs make up roughly 7 percent of new U.S. car sales, which some experts believe is a tipping point at which electric cars will quickly become popular and take over the market. But lately, the EV market appears to be cooling off. Sales slowed in the first quarter of this year.

In addition to building more charging stations, companies can make driving an EV easier by building apps that help drivers find chargers, said Stephanie Valdez Streaty, director of Industry Insights at Cox Automotive. “That could be really helpful with mitigating some of those concerns about charging anxiety,” she said.

Find available EV charging stations

For electric-car drivers who need a last-minute charge, Google is developing a feature that can find nearby chargers with updated information about how many ports are available and their charging speed. The company says this feature will eventually be available to all drivers but will be available first for drivers with Google Built-in.

Plan a road trip with EV charging stops

The Maps update will allow EV owners with Google Built-in to plan where they can power up when taking long trips with multiple stops, such as a cross-country road trip. The feature will access information about your car’s battery life to suggest the best places to charge up.

The company also announced a search feature that allows travelers to look for hotels with electric car chargers.

Locate hard-to-find EV charging stations

Some EV chargers are tucked in hard-to-find corners of parking garages. The Maps update will crowdsource information from Google reviewers to generate more detailed instructions about how to get to a charger. According to the company’s blog post, the instructions might read something like, “Enter the underground parking lot and follow the signs toward the exit. Just before exiting, turn right.”

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