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Google helps electric car owners find battery charges, peace of mind

Brian Heater

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The biggest challenge of owning an electric vehicle aside from having to awkwardly pal around with Ed Begley Jr. all of the time? Finding a place to charge it, of course. The ever-green folks at Google have teamed up with the US Department of Energy and more than 80 companies to form the GeoEVSE Forum, an organization aimed at bringing diverse electric car resources under a single umbrella. Looking for one of those elusive Best Buy charging stations? Use the Google Maps database, helmed by the DOE, which currently offers some 600 alternative fueling stations, including electric charging, hydrogen, and natural gas. Now if only it could help us find a good deal on a Tesla.

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NREL, Industry Leaders Join Forces to Help Consumers Plug In
Partnership with Google and providers will improve access to information about electric vehicle charging stations
April 19, 2011

U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Google Inc., and more than 80 leading organizations in electric vehicle (EV) deployment will collaborate to provide consumers and industry with accurate and up-to-date information on the locations of electric vehicle charging stations. The data generated through the partnership will be housed on DOE's online Alternative Fuels and Advanced Vehicles Data Center (AFDC), which is managed by NREL and funded by DOE's Clean Cities initiative.

The partnership, called the GeoEVSE Forum, links Google's mapping technologies and experience together with the industry leaders that are installing charging stations in communities across the nation. This goal of this new collaboration is to establish a primary data source for GPS and mapping services tracking electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) locations – or charging stations.

"Through this collaboration, key players from the electric vehicle and online mapping industries are coming together to ensure a consistent source of charging station location data that will allow consumers to find every charging station throughout the country," said NREL Project Manager Witt Sparks.

Although most EV charging will take place at drivers' homes, publicly accessible charging stations extend the range of plug-in electric vehicles, giving consumers more choices for charging while on trips. The partnership will ensure consumers have access to charging station location data that's inclusive of all equipment manufacturers and charging networks.

The GeoEVSE Forum is made up of more than 80 public- and private-sector organizations, including charging equipment manufacturers, installers, and charging networks; vehicle manufacturers; Internet and GIS companies; and major consumer goods retailers planning to offer storefront charging. Participants include companies such as Coulomb, Pacific Gas and Electric Co., Tom Tom, and Best Buy.

"Google is excited to be part of the GeoEVSE Forum and to share EVSE location data with users through Google Maps," said Cynthia Yeung of Google's Strategic Partnerships team. "We're proud to help give drivers the power to plug in."

DOE's Alternative Fuels and Advanced Vehicles Data Center already provides consumers with the locations of more than 600 EV charging stations through the Alternative Fueling Station Locator ( The EV and alternative fuel station information through the AFDC is available to third parties for use at

The GeoEVSE Forum will enhance the collection, cataloguing, and publishing of information on charging stations found on the AFDC website. For more information on the partnership, visit

NREL is the Department of Energy's primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. NREL is operated for DOE by The Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC.

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