Although electric cars are very energy efficient, electric car battery packs can’t store as much energy as a tank full of gasoline, resulting in much shorter driving range between fill-ups than a gas car. 

At present, engineers around the world are working on the problem, developing everything from lightweight chassis designs to new battery packs in an attempt to make electric cars travel further per charge. 

But a team of researchers in California think they’ve worked out a way to improve electric car range by 10 percent: by redesigning in-car satellite navigation systems. 

With a $95,000 one-year research grant from the California Energy Commission, a team at University of California Riverside (UCR) have started work on developing a GPS-like device that provides electric car drivers with the most efficient route. 

By collecting real-world data from electric car drivers, the team at UCR will then develop a sophisticated algorithm that make it possible to route-plan using the most energy-efficient route. 

Unlike most electric car GPS systems used today, the UCR team says the system being developed will be able to react to real-world situations much more accurately. 

It will, for example, take into consideration things like the local weather forecast, current traffic conditions and even the weight of the passengers and cargo before planning a route.

By offering dynamically-changing route planning, an earlier research project at UCR found it could reduce the fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions of gas-powered cars by up to 15 percent. 

In electric cars, the team is hoping for up to a 10 percent improvement in range, reducing range anxiety.

Do you rely on GPS systems for your electric car route-planning? Or do you use your own local knowledge to help you improve your car’s range? 

Let us know in the Comments below. 


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