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Electric cars are getting Google Maps eco-friendly navigation

Updated Jan 5th, 2023 4:08PM EST
Google Maps
Image: blackzheep/Adobe

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Google announced in late March 2021 that it was working on several eco-friendly Google Maps features, including support for energy-efficient navigation. The feature lets you select a route with a lower carbon footprint, even if it takes slightly longer than the fastest way to get to your destination. In practice, the feature lets you save on gas, as it reduces energy consumption.

Now, it looks like Google might take things to the next level and tailor the Google Maps eco-friendly navigation to suit the needs of drivers who own electric or hybrid cars.

Google rolled out the eco-friendly navigation in Google Maps last fall. Inflation was already running high at the time, and that was before the start of the war in Ukraine. The conflict that began in late February led to a massive energy crisis and gas prices skyrocketed as a result.

Also, it’s not just gas that’s more expensive at the pump. Natural gas and electric bills have also increased significantly in the past few months.

The Google Maps eco-friendly routes can help drivers reduce gas consumption, assuming the feature is available in their country. Google initially rolled it out in the US last year, promising to bring it to other markets in 2022.

Google Maps
Google Maps can recommend the eco-friendliest route while setting up directions. Image source: Google

Electric cars and Google Maps eco-friendly routes

Eco-friendly routes for gas and diesel cars might not necessarily be as efficient for electric and hybrid vehicles. That seems to be the conclusion of a recent finding in the Google Maps app.

Google is apparently getting ready to improve the eco-friendly routes feature by letting the driver specify what sort of car they’re driving. 9to5Google looked at the last Google Maps beta update (version 11.39), where it found the new options.

The new Google Maps algorithms will find the most energy-efficient routes for EVs, taking into account the energy you’re using. That assumes Google rolls out the feature, which is currently in development.

Here’s a blurb that was discovered in the beta version of the app:

New! Get fuel-efficient routes tailored to your vehicle’s engine type.

Save more fuel by choosing your engine type

This info helps Maps find the route that will save you the most fuel or energy.

It’s unclear what parameters Google’s algorithms use to determine which routes are more eco-friendly for an EV. But Google Maps already lets you plan your journey to take electric charging stations into account if you drive electric or hybrid cars. That’s one parameter that Google Maps might consider when suggesting eco-friendly navigation routes.

But that’s all speculation at this time, as Google is yet to announce the feature. What matters here is that Google Maps might help you save money on energy regardless of what vehicle you drive.

Latest Google Maps tip: How to drop a pin in Google Maps

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.