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Ford to apply start-stop technology to non-hybrid vehicles in North America in 2012

Ford Auto Start-Stop. Click to enlarge.

Ford will begin applying start-stop technology—currently used in Ford hybrids and some Ford cars in Europe—in conventional cars, crossovers and SUVs in North America in 2012. When Auto Start-Stop debuts in North America, it will be available on gasoline-powered cars and utilities with either a manual or automatic transmission as well as vehicles that use Ford’s patented dual-clutch six-speed automatic transmission. The fuel-saving system eventually will be offered in all of Ford’s global markets.

Ford’s patented new Auto Start-Stop system for gasoline engines will improve fuel economy for most drivers by at least 4%. The gain can be as high as 10% for some drivers, depending on vehicle size and usage. It can also reduce tailpipe emissions to zero while the vehicle is stationary or waiting at a stoplight. Ford has more than 244 patents for its Auto Start-Stop technology and will showcase the feature on a concept in January at the North American International Auto Show.

Auto Start-Stop is the latest example of Ford moving aggressively to bring affordable advanced fuel-saving technologies to all customers. Ford has already introduced electric power steering, dual-clutch PowerShift six-speed transmissions and other fuel-saving features.

The global rollout of Auto Start-Stop is under way in Europe. The system, designed to work on both gasoline and diesel engines, is standard on the ECOnetic models of the Ford Ka and Mondeo, and is launching now on Focus, C-MAX and Grand C-MAX.

A similar system has been installed on more than 170,000 gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles Ford has sold since 2004. Ford is the leading domestic producer of start-stop systems. In 2011, the version of Ford’s Auto Start-Stop designed for gasoline-electric powertrains will be on the Escape Hybrid and Fusion Hybrid as well as the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid.

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, according to said Barb Samardzich, Ford vice president of Powertrain engineering.

Ford’s aggressive move to direct-injection EcoBoost engines is one of the technologies that enable the Auto Start-Stop system to work seamlessly, Samardzich said. The direct-injection system helps enable extremely fast engine starts. The system debuts on four-cylinder engines and will gradually be expanded to vehicles with V6 and V8 engines.

Auto Start-Stop does not require any additional vehicle maintenance. The system uses an enhanced 12-volt automobile battery and upgraded starter motor, said Birgit Sorgenfrei, program manager for Auto Start-Stop.

The system includes a light on the dash that alerts the driver when the engine is off and a special tachometer that moves the needle to a green zone when the engine is not running.

Ford engineers are making customer comfort a priority in engineering the system. A special electric pump keeps engine coolant circulating through the heater so drivers will stay warm in cold weather, Sorgenfrei said.


Henry Gibson

There was a system devised and reported in GCC that started an engine with fuel injection and sparks in strategic cylinders. There have been integrated starter generators developed for both trucks and automobiles. An integrated starter alternator has also been incorporated into flywheels and an electric water pump is long over due as a way to save fuel at high speeds as well as a way to keep the engine cool when stopped in traffic. ..HG..


To me, start-stop sounds like a bad deal. The fuel savings you get from not having an engine idling at a stop are probably NOT going to offset the costs of having to pay for a new starter + mechanic costs after the original one wears out from all the starts. Double, if not significantly more starts from the starter means it will wear out more quickly & need to be replaced a lot sooner than normal.


How is start-stop a worse deal than full hybrid? The fuel savings are less, but the upfront cost is less too. As is the replacement cost for all the extra parts. Time will tell just how quickly all this stuff wears out and how expensive it is to replace. Personally I commend Ford for trying cut fuel consumption across the range rather than come out with one or two high profile low consumption cars (Leaf, Volt, Prius) while ignoring the rest of the range.


I don't think its worse to have it on a full hybrid....I DO think its worse to have it on the standard ICE versions of cars for the reasons I mentioned above --- the article is specifically about non-hybrid vehicles. In the long run there is more strain & wear and tear on the engine (again, for a standard ICE car) from starting/stopping which will undoubtedly lead to more mechanic visits and costs for replacement parts. People that have the full hybrid versions are already paying a significant hybrid premium so more for start-stop isn't necessarily a big deal for them.


It is a better idea to couple it with a low cost hybrid system, those motors and battery systems can handle it with no stress.. such as GM's BAS +, Honda's/Hyundai's IMA and so on.


Ejj: Our Camrys have gone through 1000s and 1000s starts without maintenance. Batteries lasted 9+ years each. The new ones are guaranteed for 96 months and will probably last 10+ years.

Re-enforced starters and slightly larger batteries will no doubt do the job for 15+ years. Electric ancillaries (with larger batteries and charger/generator) should also be incorporated on all models. Higher efficiency lights and A/C could reduce power requirements. The extra cost would be recovered with fuel savings in less than 4 years, especially at $4++/gallon in the very near future.

The added advantages for USA would be less crude oil import, reduced trade deficits, less GHG and reduced health care cost without a single dollar cost to governments. Of course, gas taxes would have to be increased periodically to maintain same revenues.


What a bunch of whiners.

Clearly a positive step forward, done the proper way for
a) durability(an enhanced 12-volt automobile battery and upgraded starter motor
b) drivability (extremely fast engine starts, a light on the dash, a special tachometer and special electric pump to keep the driver warm)

Indeed the article is a bit long on hyperbole for a ho hum advance, and are Barb Samardzich and Birgit Sorgenfrei, real people? Birgit?

But if MB, BMW or Audi did this (or the Chinese) it would be further evidence of our degradation or the folly of the free market.


For all you lovers of the idiots in the government, the only reason we haven't had more of Stop-Start is the rules and test case the EPA dunces dreamed up, give little to no reward for doing so.

Once again it's the government goofballs screwing up a real-world, positive fuel savings device.


For the record: BMW introduced start-stop more than 3 years ago.

It is known that several (durability) issues must be addressed with start-stop. For example, material and design of crankshaft and (diesel) fuel pump bearings. The starter motor and the battery are other examples. In any case, component suppliers already can handle these issues.

On a diesel car, start-stop reduces both fuel consumption and emissions. On a gasoline car, emissions might increase somewhat but there are measures to abate this increase.

Personally, I think that other options, such as belt-driven starter-alternator might become the second generation start-stop system. It is simple enough, cost-effective and has a somewhat higher potential than the system discussed here. An integrated starter-generator is also interesting but probably less cost-effective and it gets into competition with a full hybrid. Eventually, some kind of start-stop will become standard on practically all cars within just a few years. After the introduction by BMW and later, by other car manufacturers, this trend cannot be reversed and everybody will have to introduce this technology shortly. The EPA (and EU) reward is big enough.


I can see this on HEVs but not so much here. The BAS+ may have some applications, but you notice the word patent in the article. Maybe it about time that the 3 U.S. automakers swap and share some patents for the public good.


I have not studied the patents from Ford but the value of patents in cases like this might be limited. Much of the development is carried out in co-operation with suppliers and cannot be held exclusively for Ford.

The facts we can look at is that the recent models of the “old” Focus (diesel) with start-stop sold in Europe have showed very low fuel consumption (e.g. Focus Econetic: 3.8 l/100 km and 99 g/km CO2). However, we still do not see this technology on (practically) every car model as in the case of BMW.

Nick Lyons

Re: patents--

Some years ago I worked for an inventor in the mechanical field, and he often stressed that the auto makers routinely cross-license their patents so as to avoid legal disputes and share technology. I can't say how true that is these days, but it makes sense that they would do so.

Nick Lyons

...Oh, and as for start-stop: it's all good. 10% reduction in fuel use for urban driving becomes a huge deal when this tech spreads to most of the auto fleet.

the doctor

with all due respect, 244 patents!!!!!
cross licensing or not, do they really expect enough income from licensing to pay for the cost of the patents, much less fighting to keep them from being invalidated since Ford was so late to the party?
start-stop on a hybrid is a no brainer since engine is typically spun over 1000 rpm during the start and the battery has more than sufficient power. Using a warmed over battery and starter may be ok initially, but at the three year point when most batteries get marginal is the engine still going to restart instantly?
My friend has the "mild hybrid" malibu ( recently discontinued), similar to the Ford design,but he hasnt seen the 1 mpg improvement it was supposed to get and he worries constantly about the battery failing when it gets cold out.

Nick Lyons


I doubt the patents are for income; they're to keep someone else from suing you for patent infringement. Patents are just a license to sue--you need the implicit threat of counter suits. Avoiding lawsuits over IP is why auto companies have cross-licensing agreements, not for patent royalties.

Your friend with the mild hybrid sounds like a worry wart. Also, the Ford design is not a BAS system such as the Malibu has. For latest on GM BAS system, see:

..which GM is now calling 'E-Assist' rather than mild hybrid. It's now standard on the 4-cylinder model of the Buick LaCrosse mentioned above.


We should watch the Buick effort closely. The numbers look good, but Buick does not sell all that many units. Perhaps we may see the BAS+ on Malibu, Equinox or even Cruze.

The real value is not as much in the innovation as in the adoption. If a lot of cars getting better mileage get bought and used they can do more good cleaning the air and reducing oil consumption.


"My friend has the "mild hybrid" malibu ( recently discontinued), similar to the Ford design,but he hasnt seen the 1 mpg improvement it was supposed to get and he worries constantly about the battery failing when it gets cold out."

Did he compare it to an otherwise identical Malibu?.. perhaps is getting a huge increase but just does not know it.

In any case it would be easy to implement an algorithm that would disable the start-stop system as the battery ages, until the battery is replaced.


If you can push a button and disable start/stop it might make people feel better. They can also do a with/without mileage comparison.

French Engineer

to PeterXX: BMW introduced it 3 years ago, and Citroen at least more than 6 years ago.
From GCC:
"30 March 2006
A reversible starter/alternator handles the start and stop function.
Citroën has announced the UK launch of a new C2 Stop & Start model....
The Stop & Start technology, first introduced on the C3 in 2004, switches the engine off when the car is at standstill, offering up to a 15% reduction in fuel consumption in heavy traffic, according to Citroën. "

So, there are quite enough datas at least in Europe about the durability and maintenance costs.
System sold by Valeo and others are now in the millions.

Granted, mostly for 4 cylinders, maybe it is costlier for the V6 and V8 on American trucks, but where is the can-do mentality?

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