Well after over half a day in the dark, power has finally be restored to my humble home. So I’m back to the news with this little nugget; by 2012, Ford will equip most of its cars with fuel-saving start-stop technology.
What is start-stop technology? Simply put, when the vehicle comes to a stop, a system shuts down the engine until it is needed to go again. Ford calls their system Auto Start-Stop, and while the system is still under development, Ford claims it can save up to 10% more fuel, and if you’re doing a lot of city driving than I can see this being true.
Ford hasn’t decided yet whether to make Auto Start-Stop a standard feature (figured into the base price) or an extra-cost option. Earlier this year Ford debuted a concept called the “Start” in China that had an engine start-stop system on it, and Mazda made it clear they too would add Start-Stop systems to their cars, though the two formerly-close companies did not work together on this project. The Ford system will debut on the direct-injected four-cylinder engines, as direct injection squirts fuel right into the cylinder, meaning the engine can restart much quicker than traditional fuel injection (which squirts fuel into an intake manifold, where it is sucked into the right cylinder). Likely first-candidates include the Fiesta, new Focus, and the Transit Connect (which I think is the perfect candidate for this system…business owners love saving money.)
Ford has already added rolled out the technology in its European Ka and Mondeo, and by 2012 it could be featured on a number of Ford’s smaller automobiles. The only qualm I have about this is that if you’re a frequent highway-driver, this system would go largely unused. But who wouldn’t want to save upwards of 10% more fuel from a simple device?
Would you rather have Ford’s stop-start be a standard feature, or something you had to pay a bit extra for?
Chris DeMorro is a writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to Hemis. You can follow his slow descent into madness at Sublime Burnout.