As anyone who’s lived with an electric vehicle will tell you, you don’t plan journeys in EVs the same way you do in gas-powered cars. Your stops to refuel have to be a little more deliberate and premeditated. On Wednesday Google announced a trio of new Maps features targeting EVs that have the search giant’s software built in, like those from Volvo, Polestar, General Motors and Honda — and eventually Ford, too.
The update is small but useful. “Very fast” charging stations — those capable of 150-kW throughput or higher — will now be marked as such in the app, taking the guesswork out of where to stop for owners of newer EVs that can handle such rates. (Like a Taycan, for example.) Also, when you search for a destination such as a grocery store, Maps will now tell you right in the search results whether that location has chargers on site.
Google has also reconsidered how it adds charging stops to directions. Previously, Maps would automatically add them only to routes long enough to require two or more stops. Shorter trips that only needed one stop informed the user that recharging would be necessary, but left it to them to select where to go from a list of recommendations.
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Going forward, Maps will handle short trips the same way it handles longer ones, so every route planned regardless of distance respects the car’s current and later states of charge. External considerations like traffic and road conditions are also factored in, as they’ve always been in Maps.
Including this behavior by default is a slight change that should streamline the navigation process for EVs running Google’s software. These tweaks ultimately make EV driving a little less stressful, particularly for those new to the tech. After all, range anxiety is as much an information problem as it is an engineering one.