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Google Maps’ new EV routing algorithm promises a smoother journey

While the price of electric vehicles continues to become more affordable, the logistics of keeping those batteries charged continues to be a huge challenge.

If you’re planning a long trip in your EV, keeping the car replenished can require some unnecessary zig-zagging in order to hit the charging stations along the way, costing time and money. Now Google is hoping to take a little guesswork out of the journey planning with some new AI-powered Google Maps features, initially for the Polestar 2 and Volvo XC40 Recharge vehicles.

Google says that for electric cars rocking the Android Auto technology built-in (and that’s still a ridiculously niche market right now), new routing algorithms will take take less than ten seconds to plan a journey where two or more recharge stops are required.

“You can see how long each charge will take and your updated total trip time, so your final ETA will never again be a mystery,” Google says in a blog post on Wednesday. The new tech uses graph theory mathematics, which is described in this Medium post as “a way to formally represent a network, which is basically just a collection of objects that are all interconnected.”

Beyond that, Google says for shorter trips, Maps will now enable users to select a charging station depending on what they have going on that day. So, you can insert your location and select a location to top up before confirming the route.

Google adds: “You can also see if a charging spot is close to a grocery store or coffee shop, so you can knock out errands or recharge yourself with a latte while you wait.”

While these features are coming to the United States right now, the final update pertains to Europe. Google Maps will now show users the forms of payment that are accepted in 12 European countries, so you won’t risk rocking-up without being able to pay for your environmentally-friendlier fuel. Google says all features are coming to more vehicles soon.

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