Google Maps will soon be able to adapt the route information it provides based on the type of car you drive, potentially offering a different route depending on whether you use an electric car or a more traditional gasoline-powered vehicle.
In our guide to using Google Maps to reduce fuel usage and save money on gas, we recommend using the most energy-efficient route. This option sits alongside the usual fastest and shortest route options, and if you choose it, you will be directed along the route calculated to consume the least amount of fuel (which may or may not be the fastest or shortest route) .
However, the most efficient route for one type of engine may not be the best route for another. So, to get around this, it looks like Google Maps in the future will let you select the type of engine your car uses – gasoline/petrol, diesel, electric, or hybrid.
This is based on the latest 11.39 beta version of Google Maps, which (as noted by 9to5Google (opens in new tab)) includes references to selecting your car’s engine type for fuel-efficient route suggestions. Another line of code suggests that you won’t need to share this information right away, or at all if you don’t want Google to know too much about you, and you can change the engine type in the app as well.
Despite its inclusion in the latest beta, this feature is still very basic and not really usable – rather, it’s hidden in the app’s code. While we’re likely to see this in the future, there’s no guarantee it will happen anytime soon, if at all – and even if the next beta update includes this feature, it will still be a while before the official version of Google Maps arrives.
Analysis: Every bit counts
Fuel efficient routing will not be an immediate or massive game changer in terms of how much fuel we use. But combined with taking other fuel-saving measures (like using better tires and driving more carefully), this can make a significant difference.
For those of us who put up with high fuel prices at the pump, this change can’t come anytime soon. And while gas prices aren’t such an urgent issue for electric vehicle owners, electricity prices are also going up, and recharging can be time consuming.
Google Maps isn’t the only service that thinks about creating custom routes for different vehicles. Apple Maps will soon be able to recommend the best routes for e-bike riders.
As the range of vehicles on our roads continues to diversify, we expect to see more companies introducing services designed to make our journeys as efficient as possible.
Looking to reduce your carbon footprint today? Here are the best e-bikes we’ve tested.