Internet giant Google has announced the addition of EV charging stations to smart phone apps that are designed to make recharging electric vehicles when traveling in an unfamiliar location easier, bringing EV charging maps to a mainstream platform.
Users of the Google Maps app on both iPhones and Android phones will be able to use the functionality to find their nearest EV charging station, starting today.
By searching in the app for “EV charging” or “EV charging station”, the nearest supported stations for selected charging providers around the world will display on the map, enabling EV drivers to pick out the nearest station and then request directions to it.
Google says each station will be accompanied by key information about each station including types of ports available, and how many, as well as the charging speeds of those ports.
Users will also have the opportunity to add reviews, photos and rating for each EV charging station on the map.
So far, Tesla and Chargepoint locations are supported in Australia as well as globally, as well as Melbourne-based ChargeFox/JET Charge, who have over 330 plugs available to EV drivers across Australia and New Zealand.
Tim Washington, founder of ChargeFox and JET Charge spoke with The Driven regarding the advantages of having EV charging locations available on Google Maps, saying, “People who search will be able to see live information on the charging stations, including plug types, available power and whether the charging stations are available and in use.”
Because the Google Maps search function integrates with the charging service provider’s backend systems, that means that an EV driver will be able to check the Google Maps app to see if there are any chargers not currently being used, a bit like the green light for a free park in a shopping centre carpark.
While that information is not yet available due to the functionality still being rolled out, Washington says it will be available soon.
In the UK, Chargemaster and Pod Point EV charging installations will also be listed, and in the US users can expect to also find SemaConnect, EVgo and Blink EV stations in their search lists.
The ability to search for EV charging stations will be added to the desktop version of Google Map in coming weeks, says the tech giant.
Google’s introduction of EV charging maps will be an alternative to the EV charging app made by Plugshare which includes contributions from the public, and which is also available on desktop.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.