The beauty of an electric car is, of course, that it doesn't need gas. Yet a major downside is that gas stations are plentiful, while charging stations are rare. So a certain search giant intends to help EV owners by identifying charging stations on Google Maps.
Cynthia Yeung, a member of Google's Strategic Partner Development Team, explained on the LatLong Blog, "As consumers embrace electric vehicles, we've also been adding information to Google Maps over the past few months to help users find charging stations. Just search on Google Maps for 'ev charging station' plus the appropriate area, for example, 'ev charging station near mountain view ca.'"
Then Yeung wrote, "We'd like to continue adding more charging stations to Google Maps, so we're excited that our friends over at the the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) are working to make more data available."
Sooner or later, that should help a lot of people. Chevrolet and Nissan have had a fair amount of success with the Volt and Leaf, and as other plug-in hybrids and EVs come out, the demand for this sort of information should increase.
Unfortunately, Google's move can't overcome one other weakness of EVs: they can sometimes take a while to charge. And no one wants to get stuck sitting in a motionless car for eight or twelve hours when they're supposed to be at Grandma's house or their own home.
Applaud Google's efforts, then. Just don't count on accurate and helpful maps going too far in terms of increasing the adoption rate of EVs.