Non-hybrid Ford cars, crossovers, and SUVs are about to get a fuel economy bump thanks to the automaker's engine start-stop technology. Officially called Auto Start-Stop, the feature will be showcased in a concept heading to the Detroit Auto Show in January.
The technology will be introduced in four-cylinder models first, then to V-6 and V-8 engined vehicles. No change in driver behavior is necessary, Ford says. Part of the advertising required to introduce people to the technology might focus on the fact that all accessories still work when the engine is off.
“For the driver, Ford Auto Start-Stop provides extra fuel efficiency without inconvenience, as it works completely automatically," said Barb Samardzich, Ford vice president of Powertrain engineering.
Specifically, Ford expects the feature to provide a city fuel economy boost of as much as 10 percent. On the most fuel-efficient 2011 Ford Fusion four-cylinder engine mated to an automatic transmission, that could translate to city ratings of about 25 instead of 23. Auto Start-Stop would send the 2011 Edge's city fuel economy from 19 mpg to almost 21 mpg.
Manual, automatic, and dual-clutch transmissions work with the technology, on which Ford has 244 patents. An upgraded starter motor and enhanced 12-volt battery are responsible for making the technology work and, if you're worried about the first models having bugs, consider that the technology is already integrated on some European Fords like ECOnetic versions of subcompact cars and midsize sedans.
"Many of the same Ford engineers who designed the Auto Start-Stop system used on Ford and Lincoln hybrids are developing the Auto Start-Stop system for non-hybrid vehicles that will be sold around the globe," Samardzich said.
Ford vehicles equipped with Auto Start-Stop will have a light that tells the driver when the engine is off as well as a tachometer that has a special green zone when the engine isn't running.
As the technology of full hybrids trickles down to other vehicles, we look forward to testing the auto start-stop system but still wonder how much the technology will add to a car's base price.