Ford is Bringing Stop-Start Technology to Non-Hybrids in North-America
Hey Ford, I think you need a better graphic designer. The SUV looks like it comes from a GIF file, and the logo on the left isn't even centered. Image: Ford
Cars That Truly Stop at Red Lights
Stop-start technology, aka anti-idling or idle-stop, turns off the engine of a vehicle when it stops at a red light or in traffic. This makes a lot of sense since you get 0 MPG when idling, but unfortunately, it hasn't been available in North-America except in hybrids. But that's about to change: Starting in 2012, Ford will bring stop-start to its conventional gasoline-powered vehicles, with the eventual goal of offering in all markets around the world.
Ford's patented new Auto Start-Stop system for gasoline engines will improve fuel economy for most drivers by at least 4 percent. The gain can be as high as 10 percent for some drivers, depending on vehicle size and usage. It can also reduce tailpipe emissions to zero while the vehicle is stationary or waiting at a stoplight. Ford has more than 244 patents for its Auto Start-Stop technology and will showcase the feature on a concept in January at the North American International Auto Show. (source)
Unless you get a lemon, stop-start should not require more vehicle maintenance. The system uses an enhanced 12-volt battery and upgraded starter motor. When you take your foot off the brake pedal, the engine comes back on in a few hundreds of milliseconds, making it pretty unobtrusive.
Even in the best-case scenario, stop-start won't bring fuel economy benefits as high as a hybrid drivetrain, but since the cost will also be much lower, there's a good chance that it will become widespread enough to make a substantial difference in aggregate. It can also help improve air quality during rush hour in urban centers (especially if it is fitted on diesel trucks).
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