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Google Looks to AI to Help EV Owners Plan Road Trips

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【Summary】Worrying about where to charge your electric vehicle on a long road trip has become a nightmare for owners. Google’s looking to change that by using “graph theory” to give drivers recommendations on where to stop.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Jan 31, 2021 7:00 AM PT
Google Looks to AI to Help EV Owners Plan Road Trips

Tesla just set the new standard for electric-vehicle range with the new 2021 Model S Plaid+, which boasts more than 520 miles of range. That is plenty of range to go on a lengthy road trip and should help quell range anxiety for good. But there's still one thing that electric-vehicle owners have to worry about – finding a charging station. Google is looking to make things easier for EV owners by announcing a new feature that uses artificial intelligence.

AI Lending A Helping Hand

Google's new feature uses AI to sort through thousands of public charging stations available on a route to take the hassle out of planning multiple stops. While some may scoff at the idea of needing artificial intelligence to help them plan a road trip in an electric vehicle, it speaks volumes of how messy the situation with charging stations is in the U.S.

The new feature utilizes a special type of math called graph theory to provide EV owners with an efficient route that is close to public charging stations. The feature is only available for road trips that require two or more recharge stops. In addition to finding the most efficient route, the feature will also show drivers how long they'll have to charge for, giving drivers an accurate ETA.

Only For A Select Few

While the feature will certainly be handy for EV owners that regularly go on long road trips, Google's feature can also be used for short trips. The feature provides drivers with a view of where the fastest charging stations are and can also sort by stations that require a membership. You can also find charging stations that are close to specific things, like grocery stations and coffee shops, so you're not sitting in your car while it charges.

These two features sound like they would be major benefits for all EV owners, but they won't be available to everyone. These features will only be available for electric vehicles that have Google's native Android Automotive system as the primary operating system. At the moment, there are only two electric vehicles that match the criteria – the Polestar 2 and the Volvo XC40 Recharge. Google claims that its system will spread to more EVs in the future, but it's certainly a limited few right now.

For European owners, Google has a third feature. Since charging stations in Europe take different methods of payment, Google will show owners which payment methods are accepted at stations in 12 different countries. The company expects to expand to more countries in the future.

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