Google Maps Now Offers EV Charger Locations & Intelligence-Powered Summaries

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If you drive an electric vehicle that’s not a Tesla, then you have experienced the tension that comes with leaving home for trips and wondering if there will be a charger on your route. We know that there is no retail category where a driver can be confident that an EV charger will be available. But Google Maps seems to be listening, as it is introducing upgraded features that will offer EV drivers specific information about the location of EV chargers and will also provide planning tools for charging stops.

Similar to navigation options on a Tesla, Google Maps will display suggested charging stops, forecasted energy consumption, and availability data as you plan for recharging. Cars with built-in Google will be the first to get these features in the coming months, the company said, describing the rollout as available to the people who drive EVs first through “Google Built-In,” the company’s driver-assistance software. The updates will roll out globally.

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Google Maps is a web service that provides detailed information about geographical regions and sites worldwide. A route planner already offers directions for drivers, bikers, walkers, and users of public transportation traveling from one specific location to another. Now upgrades will give EV drivers more information to make distance travel much easier.

Google Maps & Artificial Intelligence-Powered Summaries

One of the features now available on mobile is artificial intelligence-powered summaries detailing a charger’s exact location, since it can be difficult for drivers to locate where a charger is in a multilevel parking lot. Google says it will use AI to summarize customer reviews of EV chargers, including displaying more specific directions to certain chargers, and the company created the summaries based on millions of reviews posted in Google Maps by fellow users, including what type of plug they used and charging time.

In Maps, drivers will get detailed summaries leading them right to the charger.

The benefits of AI summarization range from cost savings to improved accessibility to information. AI-powered summarization can extract key information from sources, such as documents, technical literature, and — importantly — customer feedback. Summarization invites more time acting on information instead of sifting through it.

There are two primary types of AI summarization: extractive and abstractive.

  • Extractive summarization leverages statistical methods to identify sentences that are most likely to be important.
  • Abstractive summarization generates new sentences that summarize the main points of the original text.

Google Maps says that soon you’ll be able to see nearby chargers on the in-car map, with information like real-time port availability and charging speed.

What kinds of problems will Google’s AI summarization help to solve?

Problems with complicated spaces and charger locating: Finding exactly where the chargers are located in an unfamiliar and complicated space, like a multilevel parking lot, should be easier with the new Google Maps details. In the coming months, AI-powered summaries in Google Maps will describe a charger’s specific location based on helpful information from user reviews. That will help you find exactly where to go.

In a phone image, Maps will indicate that a user is arriving at the end of their trip. The image includes two sentences with specific details about how to find the charger, with a line below that says “summarized by AI.”

Problems with information about charger reliability: This is when not enough information available ahead about the reliability of a charging station on your route. Google Maps has drawn on the millions of reviews posted every day in Maps to provide accurate and up-to-date information about charging stations. To help make these even more useful, Maps will show the review page for a charging station. Then it will prompt you with several questions about whether you charged successfully, which plug you used, and how long you needed to wait to charge. Before you click off, Google Maps users will be asked to submit details about whether the charging session was successful.

Problems locating hotels that provide charging options: You’d like to patronize hotels and other accommodations that provide charging on site, but you never really know which lodgings offer charging or if they’re reliable. Now, if you’re planning overnight stays, a new EV filter on will help you find hotels on Search that offer onsite EV charging.

Problems with planning for long trips: Multi-stop trips take a special approach to charging — you plan for chunks of travel, based on rural versus urban byways and available amenities near upcoming charging stations. The upgraded Google Maps will suggest the best charging stops along the way, based on your battery’s charge level. This feature will be available globally in the coming months for vehicles with Google built-in.

Google Maps
Image provided by Google Maps

What Elements are Needed in a Good Charging Map?

A year+ ago, I researched charging station maps that were dependable and informative to help EV drivers find stops along their routes. We wanted the security of knowing that we could locate a charger readily and depend on accuracy of information about its availability and function. It seemed then and continues to seem now that certain factors distinguish good charging station maps from mediocre or even faulty ones.

Having a high-quality charging station map means:

  • The route planning is clear and easy.
  • Its purpose should be easy to interpret and understand.
  • A scale, legend, and title are key components.
  • The information provided should be easily discernable and effective.
  • Color contrast helps create distinct visuals.
  • It shows data in a very effective and organized way.
  • Its sources/metadata should be accurate.
  • The map should incorporate appealing symbols to demonstrate clear points of reference.
  • Symbols should not be overcrowded, even when suggesting a large geographic range.
  • Even with multiple criteria, simple style in EV charging stations mapping works best.

My research at that time indicated that all too many charging maps were at early stages of information gathering.

Our CleanTechnica Charging Report

Aside from the core matter of EV sales, there is no topic more instrumental to the transition to electric vehicles than the topic of EV charging. It’s the first or second thing anyone without an EV asks EV owners about, and it’s one of the most important factors everyone considers before going electric. But what is the state of EV charging — in the US, in Europe, in Australia, and elsewhere? What’s the state of progress, problems, and potential with EV charging infrastructure in these regions? That’s what our latest report, The State and Promise of EV Charging Infrastructure, tackles.

There is a lot of information in the report, which I wrote, including results from a CleanTechnica survey on EV charging. I hope you’ll check it out as you await the Google Maps EV charging upgrade.

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