Googlers for climate: meet Lisa Arendt
Based in Zürich, Lisa is Product Partnerships Manager for Maps. She helps partners to integrate their charging station locations into Google Maps, which makes recharging as seamless as possible for e-drivers.
And by seamless, she means that charging should be as easy, safe and reliable as it is with petrol- or diesel-powered cars.
She grew up in a small village near Schwerin, where she still goes to unwind. "There were no buses there. Just one empty street and maybe 20 houses. It's the kind of place where you had to make do with a bicycle," she says.
She doesn't even own a car. "In Zürich, you just don't need one." But today, she owns three bicycles: "A mountain bike for taking a spin in the countryside, a fast racing bike and an old city bike that I won't miss if it gets stolen", she says, laughing.
Lisa is always looking for the best way to get around — not just in her free time, but also at work.
The first big step was to display charging stations on Google Maps, making it easier for drivers to find the nearest charging station. The next step is smart route planning, which Volvo, for example, has already integrated into its vehicles.
We want to make charging electric cars as easy and reliable as possible
Travel has become a recurring theme in Lisa's life. On her journeys around the world, she always enjoyed finding her own routes and choosing the best options. But she says there was always a bigger question on her mind: How can we improve mobility? Not just for individuals, but for everyone.
Four years ago, Lisa took inspiration from the climate strikes organized by Greta Thunberg, and realized it was time to act. "The next generation is clearly telling us what they want from us. And they want it now." This growing movement changed the way people look at electric vehicles.
At the same time, Google Maps created a new global division with a whole range of experts and introduced the first electric vehicle (EV) feature on their maps. In 2020, the first fully integrated solution was created in collaboration with Polestar and Volvo, which developed an electric car with Google Assistant, Maps and Play built into its system.
Several major car manufacturers are now collaborating with Google to offer all-in-one solutions like this.
We’re changing, so the planet can remain the same
More and more drivers are now benefiting from the work that Lisa and her team are doing. According to the latest Global Electrical Vehicle Outlook report, in 2021 nearly 10% of global car sales were electric, which is four times the market share in 2019. This brought the total number of electric cars on the world’s roads to about 16.5 million, triple the amount in 2018. Sales in Europe showed robust growth (up 65% to 2.3 million) after the 2020 boom. And at the same time, more and more car-sharing providers and public transport companies are investing in e-mobility or planning to transition in the near future.
Discussions are already taking place to see how Google and Lisa's team can support them along the way. Lisa's number-one priority for the future is to expand the project globally. She and her team have already come a long way by creating a practical online atlas for electric vehicle charging stations. Yet there are countless other ways to make mobility more sustainable in the future.