Transport Theory

A GPS that can choose the most energy-efficient route?

A GPS that can choose the most energy-efficient route?

Posting in Energy

Researchers are working on an algorithm that could extend the range of an electric car by at least 10 percent per charge.

Electric vehicle owners hoping to maximize their cars' driving range, take note: researchers at the University of California - Riverside are working on a GPS-based route system that could allow EVs to drive at least 10 percent farther on a single charge.

The researchers, who hail from UC Riverside's Center for Environmental Research and Technology (CE-CERT), were awarded a grant for $95,000 from the California Energy Commission to develop an eco-routing algorithm that can select the most energy-efficient travel route based on traffic, weather, road type and grade, and passenger and cargo weight.

Thus far, we've seen GPS systems that can map the best route based on distance, approximate travel time, and some can even account for traffic flow in making those determinations. But so far, GPS systems have not taken vehicle emissions or energy efficiency into account when determining the best routes.

The algorithm's developers are optimistic that this capability would be particularly beneficial to electric vehicle owners, and those afflicted with "range anxiety".

It may take some time before we will see GPS systems with efficiency calculators hit the market. But the development could make a great deal of difference to the owners of electric vehicles, whose range can fluctuate significantly based on road, traffic, and weather conditions (the EPA estimates that the Nissan Leaf's range can vary from 47 to 138 miles per charge depending on such factors). So even a 10 percent increase in range could make a difference to EV drivers running on a low battery charge on their way home from work.

Photo: Flickr/David Fulmer

via [Forbes]

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Channtal Fleischfresser

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Channtal Fleischfresser has worked for The Economist, WNET/Channel 13, Al Jazeera English, Wall Street Journal and Associated Press. She holds degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She is based in New York. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure