Google's new Maps and Search features address major pain points for EV owners

The tech giant hopes to reduce your worries about running out of charge on the road.
Written by Sabrina Ortiz, Editor
Hand charging EV
Getty Images/Halfpoint Images

One of the biggest concerns people have about electric vehicles is running out of power on the road and not being able to find somewhere to charge up. As more people use electric vehicles, access to charging station information is more pressing than ever -- and Google is taking action to fill that gap.

On Wednesday, Google unveiled new Google Maps and Google Search features meant to help electric vehicle owners access information about charging stations, including a new AI-enabled feature to make locating them easier.

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As charging stations are often in locations that are tricky to navigate, such as a multi-level parking lot, Google Maps will introduce new AI-powered summaries in the coming months that describe the charger's location based on helpful information from reviews. 

Google Maps new feature
Screenshot by Sabrina Ortiz/ZDNET

As seen in the photo above, the AI-generated instructions may say something like: "Enter the underground parking lot and follow the signs towards the exit. Just before exiting, turn right."

To ensure the reviews always include helpful information that AI can use to describe the location better, Google Maps will now prompt users for additional details about their experience when they are writing reviews about chargers, including what plug they used and how long they waited.

Google also plans to upgrade the in-car map experience to show users nearby stations with helpful information, such as real-time port availability and charging speed. The company aims to roll out this update globally, starting with vehicles with Google software built-in.

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Vehicles with Google built-in will also get an expansion to a Google Maps feature rolled out in 2023 that gives users suggestions for the best charging locations. The expanded feature will support multi-stop trips, meaning Maps will suggest the best charging stops for users based on their electric vehicle's location.

Lastly, for electric vehicle owners planning overnight trips, Google now includes a new EV filter on google.com/travel that helps users find hotels with on-site charging.

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