Google says it’s finally ready to give EV drivers the fastest route

Google claims that it has made its Maps product much more useful to electric vehicle drivers, with the addition of power-level information for chargers—and the smarts to tap into that for customized route planning and directions. 

The company reports that it has distinguished stations with a charging power of 150 kw or higher with a “very fast” filter. 

For vehicles with Google built-in, in which Google has access to the EV’s state of charge and range estimate, it will suggest the best charging stop.

Google currently notes that there are models from Polestar, Volvo, Chevrolet, GMC, Cadillac, Honda, Ford, and Renault supporting Google built-in, which allows you to log into the full Google ecosystem from the vehicle. Effectively cutting through the clutter of proprietary brand and charging apps, it gives top authority—and your stream of data—to the tech giant. 

Specific models featuring it include the Polestar 2, Cadillac Lyriq, and GMC Hummer EV, plus the Volvo XC40 Recharge and C40 Recharge. 

2022 Polestar 2 single-motor

2022 Polestar 2 single-motor

Polestar recently suggested to Green Car Reports that this functionality is already integrated in its cars, so Google’s announcement appears to clarify what’s already arrived. This functionality in Polestar products or other EVs with Google built-in offers the potential to  automatically choose the fastest nearby charger, eliminating the need to sift through a long list of potential chargers.

Using Google up until now has required manual filtering, and the granular information about a charger—like uptime, availability, and the number of high-power connectors—can be make-or-break moments for the family road trip. Until Google provides a record that it’s supporting that too, savvy EV drivers will likely also be opening an app that allows them to assess the best options along the way—such as Chargeway or A Better Routeplanner. 

2019 Tesla Model 3

2019 Tesla Model 3

Tesla of course already provides a near flawless route planner that coordinates with the car’s state of charge. But those other apps, which predict the real-world range of your EV based on a number of factors and match it up with the fastest chargers, will still remain the best options for any non-Tesla EV that’s not supported by Google built-in, as using Maps with these models will still require juggling multiple apps. There’s no way to share current state of charge with Google without that full Google built-in integration, for instance.

For those just aiming to power through on a road trip as quickly as possible, the list may also still require some sifting in larger metro areas, especially in California and the West Coast, that may have many 150-kw stations but just one or two 350-kw stations. 

Many drivers, for more than a decade, have counted on Google Maps as one of the fastest ways to get to their destination. But getting there fast—or at all—has required additional hoops for EV drivers. Google added EV charging locations back in 2018 and at that time said at that time that it would show via the Maps app what types of connectors were available, power levels, and pricing. But at that time, the information would be visible on some products and platforms and not others. 

Google Maps EV charging station functionality

Google Maps EV charging station functionality

This time, perhaps with car-charging functionality depending on this, Google says that it’s also added charging information to point-of-interest search results, it says. So if you search supermarkets, it will show which one has charging on premises.

Google’s immersive view may help give an overview of the whole property, in order to quickly find those charging stations. Those using handheld devices will also be able to tap into some of this functionality, with augmented-reality overlays perhaps helping find sometimes out-of-the-way charging stations. 

Also coming soon is something Google terms “glanceable directions”—allowing smartphones to display a quick look at the next turn and updated arrival time even on the lock screen. Google says this is coming soon both to Android and iOS. 

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