In the connected world of modern electric vehicles your car probably already knows where the nearest charging point is. But what happens if you’re planning a long trip and want to acquaint yourself with the area around a charging point before you go?
Enter Google and its online map tools, which now includes the location of every known public electric vehicle charger.
A post on Google’s own LatLong blog explains how it all works: users of Google’s online Maps can now use the search terms “EV Charging Station” along with an address or neighborhood location to be shown places to recharge.
The inclusion of charging station information on Google Maps is a welcome if predictable move from Google, whose corporate love for plug-in cars is well known.
Not only did its founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin help fund silicon-valley based Tesla Motors, but the software and internet giant has spent more than $10 million in investment in electric car projects worldwide as part of its RechargeIt project, has its own fleet of plug in vehicles and is even involved in early testing of Honda’s 2013 Fit EV.
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Google’s own database if charging points for electric cars is based on one developed by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Called GeoEVSE and with its own forum, users are encouraged to submit details of new locations, report issues with current stations and help develop a comprehensive list of all the public charging points available nationwide.
Of course, mobile devices will also be served, with nearly every major smartphone now offered with access to Google Maps using the phone’s GPS and data connections, meaning anyone with a smartphone or computer can instantly locate the nearest place to charge, regardless of the of charger level, brand or payment type.
Being able to search on Google Maps for the nearest electric vehicle charging point is a perfect companion to the PlugShare project, which we covered earlier this week.
By making use of both Google’s database and the crowd-sourcedPlugShare program, electric car owners should never again have to worry about finding the nearest EVSE or electrical outlet. Best of all, both databases are completely free to use.
What’s next? Google recently invested in a technology startup firm called Transphorm, which it hopes will reduce the energy wastage between the battery and the wheels in an electric car. While we won’t see the benefits for some time, we have to predict that Google will be a force for innovation in the electric car world for some time to come.