Until a few years ago, finding an electric vehicle charging station was easy. If you were lucky, there would be one in range, but most people didn’t have any. See? Easy to remember. Now, there are many more charging stations, and they use one of several standards. Google Maps is making it easier to find electric vehicle chargers that will actually work with your car. Not only does the app show which plugs you’ll find at a station, but you can also specify which plugs will work on your car to filter search results.
Tesla has been pushing its proprietary charger network for several years, but other automakers have opted to use one of several standards that have started proliferating more recently. For example, Nissan and Mitsubishi use the CHAdeMO plug type, whereas Ford, BMW, and Jaguar use CCS. To make matters more confusing, some cars with work with other plugs setups via an adapter. For example, Tesla cars can connect to CHAdeMO with an optional adapter.
If you search for EV charging in Google Maps on your phone, the app may ask you to configure your preferred charging connectors in the settings. It lists all the popular plug types, allowing you to add them to a new “Electric vehicle settings” menu. From that point on, searching for electric vehicle charging locations will show those you’ve chosen as compatible. There’s a drop-down menu where you can also switch to viewing all EV chargers.
Google is not the first to offer functionality like this — there are popular apps like PlugShare that help drivers find the right plugs. However, a lot of drivers are already using Google Maps to get around. It makes sense to have everything in Maps. This also builds upon other handy EV features in Maps, like power ratings for plugs and the ability to show when a plug is already in use before you drive all the way there. Features like Street View and reviews can also help you pick the right charger.
So far, the new EV-plug feature has been spotted in the US and UK. It may be available elsewhere, but new Google features often take several weeks to launch globally. It’s available in the Android and iOS versions of Maps.