Skip to main content

Waze just got a huge upgrade for EV drivers — what you need to know

Waze app on phone
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Any electric car owner can tell you that recharging isn’t the same as filling up with gas. The main thing to worry about is actually finding a compatible charger, especially if you’re in a strange place or in the middle of a long-distance drive. But Waze is now able to help.

Waze has partnered with Volkwagen to map EV charging stations across the United States. Surprisingly, this wasn’t available before, despite the fact sister app Google Maps has been offering this option since 2019.

Waze users will also be able to change their icon to VW's ID.4 EV, if they really want to.

Previously Waze only let drivers locate or add stops at gas stations, which is still the case outside of the U.S. Now EV owners get that same bit of convenience, letting them navigate and recharge from a single app — negating the need for third-party services like PlugShare or Chargemap.

The feature isn’t live for everyone just yet, so expect it to roll out over the course of the week. It’s also not entirely clear how Waze will let you search for EV chargers. After all, there are different speeds and connectors to worry about. You don’t want to roll up to a charger to find it’s either too slow or doesn’t fit your car.

Presumably the new Waze feature will be similar to Google Maps’ method, which lets you set the plug types your car is compatible with and filter its results accordingly. However, you don’t see the specifics, like how many plugs or what their maximum charging speed is, unless you click on the associated map icon.

Hopefully the partnership with VW, which owns Electrify America, means that Waze won’t just be relying on crowdsourced data. Crowdsourcing is fine, but when it comes to refueling it’s important that locations and operational status are kept up to date. Especially considering how few EV chargers there are compared to gas stations.

Still, this is a big move as electric cars get more popular. EV owners likely already have a bunch of surplus apps that are needed to use the various charging networks they may come across. So the ability to find them without using a completely different app is a big help.

Tom is the Tom's Guide's Automotive Editor, which means he can usually be found knee deep in stats the latest and best electric cars, or checking out some sort of driving gadget. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining that Ikea won’t let him buy the stuff he really needs online.