MaryAnn Wright, vice president of technology and innovation for Johnson Controls Inc. Power Solutions say that micro-hybrid , or stop-start powertrains could advance the hybrid market. So what is a micro-hybrid, and why would they be the next big thing?
One of the biggest consumer sticking points concerning hybrid vehicles and electric vehicles is the sticker price. The idea is that micro-hybrid powertrains will lower that cost. Micro-hybrids operate at less than 60 volts, which lowers the risk of serious electrocution which in turn lower the cost of previously needed electrocution safety measures on the vehicle. MaryAnn Wright says that micro-hybrid vehicles will also see a 15- 20% improvement in fuel economy.
A more common term for micro-hybrids is “stop-start cars”. So named because the vehicles combustion engines are turned off when the cars stop at an intersection when the light turns red. The cars rely on batteries to keep the air conditioning, radio, and other electronics running during the stop as well as to kick-start the engines after the light turns green. Basically, it is anti-idling technology, like GM’s eAssist system.
Micro-hybrid advocates say the cars can deliver 5-10% better fuel economy and therefore lower tailpipe emissions. Not surprisingly, micro-hybrids have been more widely embraced in Europe which has committed to strong emission reduction plans.
Andrew Meggison was born in the state of Maine and educated in Massachusetts. Andrew earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Government and International Relations from Clark University and a Master’s Degree in Political Science from Northeastern University. Being an Eagle Scout, Andrew has a passion for all things environmental. In his free time Andrew enjoys writing, exploring the great outdoors, a good film, and a creative cocktail. You can follow Andrew on Twitter @AndrewMeggison