A technology developed by Ford nearly seven years ago will finally find its way into U.S. cars in 2012. The automaker announced that its Auto Start-Stop system, which turns off a cars engine when it comes to a stop, will be added to non-hybrid vehicles over the next 18 months.
Start-stop technology, which is also called microhybrid or idle-stop technology, will be added to the Ford Escape Hybrid, Fusion Hybrid, and Lincoln MKZ Hybrid in 2011. The next year, however, the feature will be added into conventional diesel and gasoline cars, crossovers, and SUVs, Ford said.
On-board energy storage keeps the cars electrical system working for functions such as heating and lights. When the driver puts a foot on the accelerator, the engine turns back on. The on-board battery is charged when the driver slows downs and helps move the car from idle.
According to Ford, the system can improve fuel efficiency between 4% and 10% without forcing changes to driver behavior.
The technology has already been in use in different Ford models in Europe, driven in large part by the stricter emissions and fuel economy standards.
Research firm Lux Research released a report last month which projected rapid growth for start-stop technology, with sales in micro-hybrid vehicles jumping from 3 million this year to 34 million units by 2015.
For the driver, Ford Auto Start-Stop provides extra fuel efficiency without inconvenience, as it works completely automatically, Barb Samardzich, Ford vice president of Powertrain engineering, said in a statement. And, just like in our hybrid vehicles, the heater and air conditioner work as normal so drivers will not sacrifice comfort.
Auto Start-Stop uses an enhanced 12-volt car battery and upgraded starter motor and does not require any additional maintenance. An electric pump will keep engine coolant circulating through the heater so drivers stay warm in cold weather.