Green

Google Maps adds electric car charging station locations

Google will display the locations of electric vehicle charging stations on its Google Maps web and mobile applications in an attempt to push potential electric car buyers to take the plunge.

Google Maps users can search for “ev charging stations” plus whatever city they are in. Google Maps then marks all the relevant locations.

Many hybrid and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles already have maps with electric vehicle charging stations laid out, but the Google Maps addition might make planning a bit easier.

Hybrid electric vehicles are much more fuel-efficient than typical cars because they use batteries to partially power the engine. Most hybrid manufacturers offer a plug-in version of the electric hybrid, which is even more fuel-efficient than the traditional hybrid vehicle. But the process of finding charging stations, which have not become as ubiquitous as gas stations yet, can be tiresome and serves as a barrier to buying an electric car.

Google is reporting 93.5 miles per gallon in fuel efficiency with the Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid, compared to 48.4 miles per gallon for the standard Toyota Prius hybrid. Traditional combustion engine vehicles, by comparison, range anywhere from 12 to 30 miles per gallon.

This isn’t the first time Google has made a push for electric cars. The search giant also runs a website called RechargeIT as a side hobby, which hosts data about plug-in electric vehicles. The site includes fuel efficiency statistics, and Google regularly runs driving experiments with its fleet of plug-in hybrid vehicles to determine each new vehicle’s fuel efficiency.

Google is working with the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory to add the data to its search engines. The Department of Energy indexes the location of all new electric vehicle charging stations as part of its GeoEVSE Forum.