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“Smart” GPS Can Maximize Mileage

A GPS-based routing system currently in development could help extend the range of electric vehicles by at least 10 percent and make all cars more efficient, according to researchers at the University of California, Riverside.

Here, an eco-routing algorithm that would choose the most energy-efficient route, based real-time traffic information, road type and grade, a vehicle’s passenger and cargo weight and current weather conditions, all of which directly affect an electric vehicle’s range. Present GPS systems are able to select routes based on distance or estimated travel times, with some able to reroute drivers based on traffic flow, but haven’t yet been able to deliver directions that would specifically minimize energy consumption or a vehicle’s emissions.

“This is particularly useful given the limited range of electric vehicles,” says Guoyuan Wu, an assistant researcher at the University’s Center for Environmental Research and Technology and the principal investigator on the project. “It should really help cut down on what has become known as range anxiety.”