One of the big advantages of driving fossil fuel-powered vehicles is that it's easy to find a place to fill up. In the more than a century since the world's first purpose-built gas station was built in St. Louis, Missouri in 1905, a massive worldwide infrastructure has emerged to keep our vehicles running. As automakers make the move to electric vehicles, early adopters are faced with a lack of infrastructure to keep batteries charged, however, the number of public EV charging stations is steadily growing and Google is now doing its bit to help make tracking them down easier by adding EV charging station location information to Google Maps.
Using data primarily from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DoE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), users can now search a database of nearly 7,000 alternative fueling stations in the U.S., including 600 Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) locations and have the results displayed within Google Maps. For example, searching on Google Maps for "ev charging station near los angeles ca" returns a map of the area with nearby stations highlighted.
To help develop a more detailed and accurate database of EV charging stations and ensure the database stays up to date, the NREL has launched the GeoEVSE (Geo Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment) Forum. The forum was formed by the DoE's Alternative Fuels and Advanced Vehicles Data Center (AFDC) to provide EVSE manufacturers, distributors, installers and other stakeholders with a central, recognized repository for public EVSE location data.
As information is added to the NREL – and other – databases, Google will add the charging station locations to Google Maps.