Pioneer to launch GPS unit specifically designed for EVs

Pioneer has developed a new GPS unit designed to give EV drivers maximum range.

Range anxiety is a valid concern for electric vehicle owners, but electronics maker Pioneer has just announced a new in-dash GPS unit that should help EV drivers avoid running out of juice.

Set to launch in Japan later this month, Pioneer's latest AVIC-ZH09-MEV head unit is specifically designed for EV applications, such as the Mitsubishi i-MiEV and Nissan Leaf. The head unit includes a seven-inch touch screen and a GPS system set to optimize electric range.

Using Pioneer's proprietary software, the GPS unit is able to calculate the most battery-efficient route for a particular destination. The optimal route isn't always the fastest or the shortest distance, but the system takes into account factors unique to EVs, such as routes that provide the greatest potential for battery charging via regenerative braking.

The system will come pre-loaded with a database of charging stations, as well as a function that estimates the costs associated with a particular route.

In addition to its EV GPS abilities, the AVIC-ZH09-MEV also comes with all the features you'd expect from a modern head unit, including a CD/DVD drive with AAC, MP3 and WMA support, a USB port, SD card reader, 5.1-channel support, AM/FM radio tuner and the ability to pick up and play back terrestrial TV signals.

The unit isn't exactly cheap - with a list price of 246,750 yen ($3,000) - but it should save EV drivers from the hassle of being stranded on the side of the road. Pioneer hasn't announced if the head unit will eventually be sold in other markets, but the company has a strong history of exporting its GPS lines.

1.'Pioneer unveils in-dash...' view