We already knew that modern cars are smarter than their drivers. But the Opel Ampera – the Euro version of the Chevy Volt – is taking things to ridiculous heights. With its new iZEUS software it can calculate navigation routes based on maximizing efficiency.
The iZEUS uses information from road conditions to temperature of the batteries to calculate the most efficient route. The purpose of which is to make the most of the Ampera’s 35 mile battery range.
This new tech is in line with what we have seen from other automakers whose transmissions are being linked to GPS. The new Rolls Royce Wraith for instance is pioneering a Satellite Aided Transmission that calculates the optimal gear based on what’s coming up on the road.
While the Ampera’s transmission isn’t yet guided by the evil robots at Skynet, it will soon be able to point you in the direction of the most panda-friendly electricity. Opel is already developing technology that points the driver to charging stations, drawing on renewable energy as part of its Meriva battery research program.
Opel eventually envisions iZEUS being a completely integrated technology that both maximizes the efficiency of plug-in hybrids and takes a holistic view towards reducing carbon emissions.
This makes me wonder why Opel named the system after a Greek God known for copulating with any mortal he found and then going into rages and turning them into animals. Not exactly the bleeding heart image, but I guess he did have lightning bolts.
As it stands, GM has no plans to bring iZEUS to the Volt. It isn’t clear why, but my guess would be that it simply doesn’t have the data infrastructure to make it work here. In any case, it is another frustrating example of the U.S. market not receiving some of the latest green tech. I guess we will just have to be satisfied with the fact that the Volt costs $15,000.00 less than the Ampera. Huzzah?