Google Maps update could help you further save money and the planet

Code spotted inside the app reveals the option to choose between petrol, diesel, electric and hybrid

Google Maps app
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Google Maps currently seeks to offer the quickest route to your destination. Soon though, it looks like drivers will also be offered the most energy-efficient route, based on the type of car they have.

Such a feature could, for example, allow for more stop-start traffic in a hybrid or electric car, but prefer to include more motorway cruising if the vehicle uses internal combustion.

This upcoming feature was discovered during a teardown of the Google Maps app by 9to5Google, and will still aim to get you to your destination as quickly as possible, but while also taking energy efficiency into account.

If a more direct but congested route gets you there as quickly as a longer drive on the motorway, the app might suggest electric and hybrid drivers take it, as these vehicles perform best at lower speeds, and are less affected by stop-start traffic than internal combustion vehicles. Similarly, it makes sense for a petrol or diesel car to take the highway and avoid adding further pollution to a congested city centre.

The teardown was conducted on the latest beta update to Google Maps, version 11.39, and includes what look like preparations to bring the routing feature to the app at a later date. The app pledges to “save you the most fuel or energy” by picking the most appropriate route.

Text found in the app states: “New! Get fuel-efficient routes tailored to your vehicle’s engine type…Save more fuel by choosing your engine type…This info helps Maps find the route that will save you the most fuel or energy.”

The feature comes soon after Google began adding a money-saving tool for taking toll road charges into account when creating a route. 

As ever with discoveries like this, we can’t say with absolute certainty that the feature will roll out to all users of Google Maps. But its inclusion in the current beta suggests development is well underway, and all being well it should come to the app later this year.

Alistair Charlton

Alistair is a freelance automotive and technology journalist. He has bylines on esteemed sites such as the BBC, Forbes, TechRadar, and of best of all, T3, where he covers topics ranging from classic cars and men's lifestyle, to smart home technology, phones, electric cars, autonomy, Swiss watches, and much more besides. He is an experienced journalist, writing news, features, interviews and product reviews. If that didn't make him busy enough, he is also the co-host of the AutoChat podcast.