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Ford Hybrids to Get the Start-Stop Treatment

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On: Wed, Dec 29, 2010 at 10:42AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Ford Hybrids to Get the Start-Stop Treatment

Many companies are notorious for trying out new products in limited release. American auto companies use this practice when it comes to releasing new innovations for their cars. Often, these test runs will occur in places overseas, keeping the newest technological and engineering advances clandestine before they reach North America. Such is the case with the Ford Motor Company’s fuel-saving start-stop system. This type of hybrid engine is already being used on several Ford models sold all over Europe. Now Ford is ready to incorporate start-stop in a line of 2012 cars and light trucks utilizing four-cylinder engines.

Ford is keeping quiet about which of its cars will get the new advances. However, if you followed the rollout in Europe, the safe bet would be that the Ford Fiesta, Focus, Escape crossover, C-Max minivan, and Transit Connect delivery vehicle will be among the first models to benefit from the upgrades. Ford might have more news about this at the upcoming Detroit auto show where they plan on showing off this engine design on some of their concept cars.

Spokesman Richard Truett was proud to proclaim that “by 2015 it should be available on most nameplates. That's the goal.” Mr. Truett went on to state that the start-stop technology will be available on both manual and automatic-transmission vehicles in North America in 2012.

To date, Ford has already sold over 170,000 of its gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles to North America car owners. These hybrids have been using the first generation of start-stop technology since 2004. It works like this: the internal combustion engine is shut down whenever the car comes to a full stop like at a traffic light, stop sign, or traffic jam. When this short shut down occurs, you’re actually saving fuel by cutting back on the time that your engine idles. How much fuel? The start-stop can elevate your fuel economy by a much as 10%.

For the new version of Auto Start-Stop there will be a more “robust starter motor and an enhanced 12-volt battery,” according to program manager Birgit Sorgenfrei. When it’s working like it should, the Auto Start-Stop will also shut off the engine when it would normally be idling, but all the electrical systems will continue to run without interruption. Sensors in the gas and brake pedal let the engine systems know in an instant what is going on and make the adjustments accordingly. This is smart technology at its finest.

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