EV charging stations come to Google Maps:

One of the biggest criticisms about the potential for electric cars in the USA is the fact that it is such a huge country offering such a paucity of places to plug in. This is a similar problem for the UK.

Of course, it’s all fine and dandy pulling into your home garage and charging your wheels for another drive later, but anybody who has ever done any driving in North America knows that the distances between even relatively close places are huge compared to in Europe or Asia.

Thankfully, the rise of smart phones and fast mobile internet access has come along just in time, allowing Google to roll out a fresh feature to its range of Google Maps applications.

Drivers of electric vehicles looking for some fresh juice while away from home or familiar charging territory can now just fire up Google Maps on their Blackberry, Android, iPhone or similar smartphone and find their nearest plug-in point. Tap in the name of your city, town or your post code and Google will quickly show you the way to your closest station.

The best way to use the new Google Maps functionality isn’t immediately apparent, but once you know how it works it’s child’s play. Want to know the secret? Ok, here it is, but pay attention because I’ll only say this once:

Go to Google.com or maps.google.com and type in “ev charging station near Cardiff”. Substitute your own city/town name or post code for ‘Cardiff’. Complex stuff, eh?

Having exercised this esoteric magic, you should now find yourself staring at a list of charging points and a map with little red markers showing you exactly where to head for an electric ‘fill up’.

This new information is available outside the USA, too. In fact, it’s interesting to see which parts of the world are already geared up for electric motoring. The UK is slowly developing it's Electric Charging network.

Be warned, however: Google’s code appears to work by searching postings to its maps, so it’s not always 100 per cent accurate. Still, it beats driving around in circles until your car runs out of juice in a ghetto! In the UK, of course, there’s much less risk of ending up in a slum and, everything, including EV charging stations, is much closer together.

Charging Electric Car

PlugShare app shows private home plug-in points

If Google Map’s supply of public charging stations can’t meet the demands of your EV drives, have no fear. Xatori has an app for Apple iPhone, iPad and iTouch devices that offers the same information Google Maps, plus a handy extra: a list of the private homes where EV drivers can plug in for a recharge.

Using PlugShare requires registration but there’s no condition stating that you have to share your own home with other drivers of electric vehicles. If you do want to join the PlugShare community fully, however, you are asked to provide information about your charging point, which might simply be a power point in your yard.

In reality, drivers of electric vehicles, especially in built-up areas, are unlikely to risk running out of juice frequently, so PlugShare will most probably be used only as an emergency measure, or perhaps just a chance to meet like-minded enthusiasts. Unless your electric car really chews through its battery power that is.....like maybe a Rolls Royce.

C02 Emissions

Royce Rolls out EV (Electric Vehicle) Phantom concept

It’s not a production model but it is an indication of where Rolls Royce, builder of quintessential British motoring magnificence, could be headed. The company, which might no longer completely deserve the preceding description since being bought by BMW, unveiled its 102EX Phantom at the Geneva Motor Show recently.

According to Torsten Mueller-Oetvoes, CEO of Rolls Royce, the 102EX is a market research project. He described how the scheme was intended to test responses from existing Rolls Royce owners about electric motoring. Rolls Royce is hoping to establish just what kind of alternative power system is going to keep their folks happy.

The car can reach 100mph from a standstill in just eight seconds and the battery pack, the biggest ever installed in a road car, gives the 102EX a range of 125 miles from each charge.

Some might laugh at the idea of an electric Rolls Royce but, let’s face it, the cars are already known for being fast, smooth and above all else, quiet - and you don’t get quieter than electric. The 102EX is currently on a world tour as the company canvasses existing customers on their perceptions on electric luxury vehicles.

If you are not fortunate enough to own an electric car you may want to consider learning how to make your own car more green, some Eco Driving tips or purchasing a Hybrid Car such as the Prius MPV.

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