The horsepower wars are over. It seems as if every car company on the market has at least one car with 500 hp or more. The new game for car companies is the hybrid game. Plug-in hybrids and pure BEVs (Battery Electric Vehicles) are becoming the new supercars. So almost all of car companies’ R&D budgets have to go toward developing electric, hybrid and efficiency technologies.
One new technology that Audi is working on, and has filed a patent for, is a navigation system that can dynamically alter the car’s route to get better efficiency from its hybrid powertrain.
In a nutshell, the nav system takes the destination input and figures out the best route, in terms of efficiency. That’s not the special part, as many hybrids have such tech. What’s special and different is the fact that it’s dynamic and constantly changes, based on many variables.
So if you’re driving on a current route but traffic changes that would make a different route more efficient, it will re-route the car. It will also re-route the car based on its state of battery charge, so as to use as much electricity as possible. Because that’s really the point of plug-in hybrids, to use all of the battery up first and then use the gasoline engine.
In Audi’s patent, it says “ideally want to cover the entire route with electric driving capability.” So the navigation system will help the car use as much battery as absolutely possible during the route, so as to save as much fuel as possible.
With this new navigation system, users would also have the ability to select certain parts of a route to only use electric power. So, for instance, if a driver knows they will be going through some tight city streets for a good portion of the trip, they can select that portion for EV us only.
The entire point of a plug-in hybrid is to drive as efficiently as possible, using as little fuel as necessary and reducing emissions over conventionally-powered cars. This new navigation system would go a long way as to helping Audi do that.