Google Maps updates to meet the needs of electric vehicle owners

Google Maps recently updated its system to determine the best travel route for electric vehicles, a valuable addition to the app as electric vehicles become more popular.

According Ars-Technica, a recent update to Google Maps will allow EV drivers to find the most efficient route wherever they want to go. This feature was not previously available due to differences in efficiency calculations between gasoline and electric vehicles. The program incorporates algorithms designed with assistance from the National Renewable Energy Lab and can help drivers minimize their environmental impact.

For over a year now, Google Maps has offered drivers the ability to find the most efficient route to get around in order to save gas (and only gas). After plugging in a destination, the app would place a leaf icon next to a route that represents the most fuel-efficient mode of transportation. According to Google’s support service, the software uses factors such as average fuel consumption in given regions, steepness and regularity of inclines, stop-and-go traffic patterns, and road types to find the most efficient path. However, gasoline and electric vehicles are very different in when and how they are efficient.

Gas-powered vehicles are more efficient at highway speeds than at slower stopping and going speeds. This has to do with the nature of internal combustion engines, their thermal efficiency, and the fact that slower speeds generally mean more stopping and starting which forces the vehicle to use a lot more gasoline than constant steady speeds. Electric vehicles work in the opposite direction; the faster they go, the more energy they consume. This difference previously prevented electric vehicles from receiving accurate and efficient route calculations.

However, the program will now take these differences into account via a recent Google Maps update and find the most efficient route for electric vehicles.

When you open the app, tap your account picture in the top right, then settings, then browsing settings. Scrolling down will give you the option to ‘prefer efficient routes’ and select your engine type, under which you can choose between petrol/diesel, hybrid or electric.

After making the necessary selections, when you select your next destination, you will see a green leaf label next to the most efficient route. If you tap to see more details about your route at the bottom of the screen, you can see how much more efficient the app thinks your route will be.

For the more tech-savvy, many have already heard of “A Better Route Planner”. While their technology to let you select your specific vehicle still outperforms Google’s offering, Google Maps doesn’t fall far short of the routes I tested and generally offers a more polished experience and a broader feature set.

This update will be fantastic for those who have just acquired their first electric vehicle and want to maximize their range quickly and easily, and even those who want a simple solution for EV route planning. But hopefully this indicates that more EV features will soon be available on Google Maps.

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Google Maps updates to meet the needs of electric vehicle owners







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