Auto Tech

Ford's stop-start: Simpler than GM system

Automotive News reports on Ford's new idle-stop system.

DETROIT--Ford Motor will offer stop-start technology on some North American vehicles in 2012.

The system is simpler and less costly than one that General Motors will offer on the 2012 Buick LaCrosse and Regal and 2013 Chevrolet Malibu. But Ford's system touts a 2 percent to 10 percent fuel economy boost, versus a 25 percent increase promised by GM's system.

"There are some minor hardware changes," such as a more powerful battery and starter, needed to create Ford's system, said Birgit Sorgenfrei, program manager for Ford's stop-start technology. It will be offered for "a very economical price," she said.

Ford did not disclose its price or the vehicles that will get it.

The stop-start system turns off the engine if the vehicle is not moving, such as while waiting for a green traffic light. The vehicle's audio system, headlights, and other accessories continue to operate.

The engine restarts when the driver takes his foot off the brake. Ford offers the technology in Europe.

Sorgenfrei says fuel savings will depend on engine size, vehicle mass, and customer driving habits.

The Ford system replaces the battery and starter with a 12-volt battery engineered to power accessories when the engine is off and a heavy-duty starter to handle thousands of additional starts.

GM's eAssist system integrates a small electric motor with a 182-hp, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine to boost acceleration and reduce fuel use. A 115-volt lithium ion battery pack takes up part of the car's trunk.

(Source: Automotive News)