One of the biggest issues with owning an electric car is the struggle of managing your vehicle’s range and the dearth of readily available charging stations. As the auto-industry is combating the former issue, long trips can still be complicated by the availability of charging stations on your route. To help with that issue, Google Maps has added a feature for electric vehicles that will make electric car drivers more comfortable traveling long distances.
The new feature for electric vehicles utilizes Google’s AI to find an available charging station that is not only convenient but in range. Part of the complications in finding a suitable charging station is the type of plug that the station has available. Not all stations have the plug necessary for an electric car owner to charge their vehicle, so planning a long trip can be severely complicated by researching reasonable detours for charges. In a blog post, Google acknowledged the difficulties electric car owners face, saying that planning a trip can be “like solving a puzzle.”
In the same post, Google explains how the AI will automatically factor charges into a trip, saying, “Now when you enter a destination that requires two or more recharge stops, algorithms in Maps will search and filter through tens to thousands of public charging stations to find the most efficient route — all in less than 10 seconds. You can see how long each charge will take and your updated total trip time, so your final ETA will never again be a mystery.”
The news will surely cause many electric car owners to rejoice. Unfortunately, the feature will only be rolled out on a select few vehicles, two to be exact. The new feature will only function on electric vehicles with Android Automotive operating systems. At the present moment, the only two vehicles that fit those specifics are the Volvo XC40 Recharge and the Polestar 2.
Fortunately, Google Maps has been addressing the charging station issues for all users of the App. In 2019, the app introduced a feature that allows users to filter charging stations based on the types of plugs available at said stations. So thankfully, those who own any electric car other than the two aforementioned models will be able to eliminate some guesswork from planning their road trips and will be less likely to be stuck on the road somewhere without a charge. They will just not have the luxury of AI sorting it out for them in under ten seconds, at least not yet.
The good news for electric car owners is that we are likely to see a massive increase in charging stations across the nation. President Joe Biden is greatly invested in the electronic automotive industry, pledging to spend whatever necessary to add 550,000 electric vehicle charging stations across the nation over the duration of his term. He also is hoping to convert all of the fleets of vehicles the federal government is responsible for to electric vehicles. That is a development that will surely have a ripple effect on private companies in the electric vehicle charge station industry.