One of the biggest critiques about a widespread embrace of electric vehicles has been the lack of available charging stations—as well as the ease of knowing where the hell you can even find one when you’re on the go. Google has heard your complaints, and they’ve now added a real-time feature on Maps to keep you updated about open charging stations near you.
While it definitely depends on the area where you live, open charging stations can be a pain in the ass to find. We’re still not in a place technologically where charging an EV only takes a few moments, which can mean drivers could have to wait for someone to clear out of their nearest charging station—and who has time for that?
Basically, if you’ve ever used Google Maps to figure out where the nearest gas station or roadside fast food place was, you’ll be able to figure this out. From Google’s blog:
Simply search for “ev charging stations” to see up to date information from networks like Chargemaster, EVgo, SemaConnect and soon, Chargepoint. You’ll then see how many ports are currently available, along with other helpful details, like the business where the station is located, port types and charging speeds. You’ll also see information about the station from other drivers, including photos, ratings, reviews and questions.
The feature is only currently available in the U.K. and the US, but it could be rolling out in other places in the near future.
While there are special apps dedicated exclusively to finding EV charging stations, they’re often company-specific ones and not tied to any readily available GPS apps. You can, for example, download a Chargemaster app—but that’s not going to tell you where an EVgo station is, and it’s not going to be easily visible on your main GPS app.
This is a pretty neat step forward for electric vehicles. Sure, this might not be a super-cheap EV that anyone can afford or a neat concept. But it symbolizes a step toward a more widespread integration of the electric car. Rather than being some obscure trend for the people who can afford them, EVs are slowly getting more and more normalized. Which is a pretty damn cool thing to see.