Historically, owning a battery-electric vehicle has not been especially easy for most U.S. consumers. Nevermind the finite range of the average BEV battery pack; the real obstacles are recharging times, and the scarcity of EV charging stations country-wide. Most any limited BEV range would be sufficient if the owner could plug in most anywhere, and if recharging took about as long as refilling a gas tank.
There’s not much Google can do on the latter point, but the company is now trying to help at least partly alleviate the issue of uncertainty regarding charging station availability.
Last week, Google Maps rolled out a new feature on Android and iOS that allows users to locate EV charging stations and access information about each of the sites. The feature will be added to the desktop computer version of Google Maps in the coming weeks, the company says, and it could help drivers of the new Chevrolet Bolt EV and discontinued Chevrolet Spark EV plan for their commutes.
“A quick [Google Maps] search for keywords like ‘ev charging’ or ‘EV charging stations’ will display the nearest supported stations,” a release read. “To help you make a quick decision about which station to use, we’ll show you information about the business where the station is located, the types of ports available, charging speeds, and how many ports there are. You’ll also see information about the station from drivers, including photos, ratings, reviews and questions.”
Businesses can even add information on their own EV charging stations to the map, if they so choose.
Alleviating the charge- and range-related inconveniences associated with BEV ownership is crucial to driving future adoption in the future, and services like Google’s new EV charging station location feature might just make the difference for many potential customers concerned with charging availability. Suddenly, the 2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV looks just that much more practical a choice.
Stay tuned for all the latest GM-relevant powertrain electrification news.