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Google and US Government Partner To Offer Electric-Charging Maps

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On: Mon, Apr 25, 2011 at 10:13AM | By: Chris Weiss

Google and US Government Partner To Offer Electric-Charging Maps

You may not have an electric vehicle on this fine Earth Day 2011—only 500 people have purchased the only mass-produced EV on the market, after all—but you will soon know where to find electric charging stations in the event you need one. Google, the U.S. Department of Energy, and 80 other partners will collaborate toward creating an intuitive mapping system of electric charging stations around the country. Eventually, this function will undoubtedly be built into EV navigation systems, allowing you access to on-the-fly charging information.

It's no surprise the U.S. government is providing funding for the project. President Obama has promised to put a million green vehicles on U.S. roads by 2015. The outlook on actually accomplishing that is pretty grim so far, so the administration will undoubtedly do everything it can to encourage the growth of the green vehicle segment. And lack of electric charging facilities and information is one major obstacle that EVs like the Nissan Leaf face.

Google, on the other hand, is involved in pretty much everything and will likely rule the world one day. Plus, it already has a massive mapping database, which will serve as the platform for building electric-charging information into. Google will keep track of all U.S. charging stations, providing a one-stop location where consumers can find information about where to charge their vehicles. Since many drivers already use Google Maps, it will be a simple way to gain access to up-to-date charging information.

The way the automotive and technology industries have been working hand in hand, I foresee a GPS infotainment system that actively monitors battery power, assesses where the nearest charging station is, and informs you when your battery power is at the critical, "code red" point where you need to head to a charging station immediately. Such a feature could help to allay fears associated with being stranded by a drained battery, boosting the appeal of electric vehicles. I'd bet that a few of those 80 partners are GPS and electronics manufacturers.

In other good news for electric vehicles, the DOE will provide $5 million of funding to cities and towns that support the electric-vehicle infrastructure.


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