I figure it was only a matter of time before Google decided that its massive geo-information database could be put to use as a means of helping drivers find charging stations for their electric vehicles.
Sure enough, the company has teamed up with the U.S. Department of Energy to help point the way to charging stations. The partnership is part of a $5 million investment that the DEO is making to help accelerate the deployment of electric vehicle infrastructure. As communities flip the switch on new stations, Google will use its Google Maps service to create an online network of all U.S. charging stations. That database will be used to feed information into the maps used by vehicle global positioning satellite (GPS) systems. There are already 600 or so charging stations listed as part of the Alternative Fuels and Advanced Vehicles Data Center. More broadly, the DOE-Google partnership will help expose the efforts being put forth by metropolitan areas participating in the Clean Cities Program.
As Google builds out its database, should be interesting to see how this dovetails with efforts for companies such as PlugShare, which bills itself as the largest "network" of electric vehicle charging stations in the United States. What makes PlugShare interesting is that it includes not just more than 1,000 public stations but also 1,500 private outlets. It lists both 240-volt J1772 plugs (compatible with cars such as the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt) and standard 120-volt outlets.