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Ford Expanding Stop-Start Technology

Dec 27, 2010

One way that hybrid cars save fuel and cut emissions is by shutting down the gasoline engine when the car is stopped. Since the engine isn’t idling, fuel doesn’t get wasted while you’re stuck in traffic. Soon, you won’t have to buy a pricy hybrid to get fuel-saving stop-start technology.

Ford announces that the company’s “popular fuel-saving technology that automatically shuts off the engine when the vehicle comes to a stop – a feature found today on the Ford Fusion Hybrid and Ford Escape Hybrid and some Ford cars in Europe – will soon be added to conventional cars, crossovers and SUVs in North America.”

MarketWatch reports, “the Dearborn, Mich., auto giant said that starting in 2012, the system would be available for conventional cars, sport-utility vehicles, and crossovers — vehicles that combine features of cars and SUVs — in North America.”

Most of the automotive press seems impressed by the move. “The technology puts Ford well on its way to meeting more stringent fuel economy standards in the U.S. for 2016 that could make the same technology pretty standard most automakers,” says USA Today. “It's a cheap way to save more gas - at least compared to hybrids and battery electric cars.”

Though the move will save fuel in the real world, it may not budge Ford’s EPA-estimated fuel economy much. Autoblog explains, “Stop-start technology has become an easy and effective way for automakers to register substantial economy gains in European models, but don't expect official mile per gallon figures to budge much on America's EPA-mandated test cycle. As of yet, the U.S. government's testing methodology simply doesn't reflect the benefits of stop-start, so while the effects of the technology may be self-evident in real world driving, they won't necessarily be reflected on a vehicle's window sticker in dealer showrooms.”

Though Ford may have its work cut out for itself in explaining the benefits of the new technology to consumers, as soon as real-world proof is out there – especially in gridlocked cities – the job may get easier.
LINK: Ford Expanding Stop-Start Technology - U.S. News Rankings and Reviews
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