Great news for EV owners: An intuitive way of finding electric vehicle charging stations is finally coming to Waze this Spring. Expect U.S. availability in April. What’s more, the excellent navigation app won’t just let you easily set a charger as your destination, it will also help you plan on-route charging for road trips based around your actual car. It’s a huge leap forward for EV route planning, especially when you look at the options.
First, what makes Waze so great? Well, if you are driving in an area with a bunch of active Waze users, it’s the best navigation app for getting around by car because of how it approaches routing. While Google Maps has plucked features like speed camera reporting from Waze, the two apps operate using different strategies. Google Maps bases re-routing off of existing data and factors like fuel economy while Waze crowdsources traffic and road information to get you everywhere faster. It’s honed-in on one thing, which makes it an indispensable tool for drivers.
So what about other alternatives? Let’s start with A Better Route Planner, an app that’s been a darling of the EV road tripping community. While it mostly does what it says on the tin and will help you plan along-route charging, several key features like real-time traffic re-routing and compatibility with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are locked behind a €50-a-year premium membership. Most people buying cheap EVs need another subscription service like they need another hole in their heads, so A Better Route Planner gets a failing grade compared to what the new Waze update promises.
So what about ChargeHub and PlugShare? Well, PlugShare often displays charging stations that aren’t active yet, and ChargeHub just routes through Google Maps. A Better Route Planner genuinely earned its name because early route-planning efforts required so many steps. Granted, PlugShare works well as the charging station equivalent of Yelp, but there are far easier ways to plan an EV road trip. Waze should be victorious here as well.
How about native navigation systems? You know, the maps that already come installed on electric cars. Many electric cars like the Hyundai Ioniq 5 use native navigation to precondition their battery packs, enabling faster charging once at a pre-selected charging station. This is all well and good, but what if your EV is old? What if the newest map software you can have the dealership load on is several years long-in-the-tooth and your car ran on 3G? The lab coats at evadoption crunched the numbers and found the number of DC fast chargers in America increased from 17,460 in 2020 to 21,676 in 2021. That’s 4,216 chargers that just won’t show up if you drive a sufficiently-used car. Third-party mapping software is going to be critical as EVs age, so it’s good to see Waze stepping up to the plate.
While EV route planning on Waze likely won’t take advantage of preconditioning on navigation, it promises to be a powerful friend for EV owners. After all, Waze already has a huge user base and many EV models come with either Apple CarPlay or Android Auto which offers great Waze integration. While this new update won’t make initiating a charge any easier, at least it’ll get you closer to necessary stations without too much hassle. It’s about damn time.
(Photo credits: Waze, A Better Route Planner, Mercedes-Benz)
Support our mission of championing car culture by becoming an Official Autopian Member.
Here’s What It Cost To Drive A Dirty Diesel 760 Miles Vs An EV 500 Miles
A Team Of Researchers Drove Around To Electric Car Charging Stations To See How Many Worked: Not Enough
Here’s An Idea For The Gas-To-EV Charging Station Transition: Shipping Containers
Tesla Investor Day: Tesla Shows A Teaser Of Its Own Branded Diner
I Bought A High-Mileage Electric Car With A Bad Battery. Here’s Why That Was Actually A Stroke of Genius
Got a hot tip? Send it to us here. Or check out the stories on our homepage.
Am I the only one concerned that the app was recommending 4 charging stops to get from Downtown Toronto to Kingston? Its 265km and a 2.5 to 3 hour drive. The graphic is showing 6 hours of charging time for this trip.
The big win will be when they integrate automatically with a service that will confirm if the chargers are actually working. And I mean ACTUALLY working. Not just “able to return a ping” working.
Yeah but can they and Google stop rerouting rush hour traffic through our neighborhood? It’s obnoxious
Why, so people can sit and pollute on the freeway?
What Waze needs is a way for me to tell it how many people are in my car so it will quit trying to route me onto the HOV when I’m alone or forgetting the HOV is an option when I’ve got a passenger.
Google Maps will probably be following soon. They added charging locations to their database about a year or two ago. The Volvo/Polestar EVs use Android Automotive (not to be confused with Android Auto) for route/charging plans, and I’ve heard it works very well.
I would assume so, doesn’t Google own Waze anyways?
It works pretty well, I have one (P2), you set your destination and it will tell you with a circle where are you going to run of battery, you start adding charging stops, and you can filter by only show me DC Fast Chargers, avoiding Level 2 charging if you want. As soon it gives me the location, I open Plugshare to confirm is all good. Doing it this way, it also pre condition the battery since the functionality is embedded to Google Maps from AAOS. It will tell you with how much battery % you will stop at the charger, and it never fails to match (1-2% error). I stopped using ABRP