TechnologyTell

Auto Start Technology featured on the 2013 Ford Fusion 1.6 liter EcoBoost

Sections: Fuel Economy

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My first experience with Start/Stop technology (every automaker has a different moniker for it) was a BMW 535i a couple of years ago.  When you came to stoplight, everything went quiet.  However, not unusually quiet- a testament on just how far manufacturers in general have come regarding noise, vibration and harshness.

Usually when this type of technology is implemented, a small motor is placed between the engine and transmission to get things going again swiftly when the light turns green.  And there is some extra plumbing to keep coolant warm.  The battery may also have a bit more juice than a standard one to help with power-sapping accessories- such as the rear defogger or HVAC fan- when the engine turns off.

On the BMW 535i, the idea is good, but realistically are people in that price class totally consumed with consumption?  If they were, they probably would go Lexus ES300h or MKZ Hybrid.   Totally nonsensical is the Panamera Turbo with Start/Stop.

That’s why we applaud Ford for implementing the technology in the new Fusion 1.6 Ecoboost.  Now we can see the benefits of Start/Stop in a vehicle where the price point makes the feature shine.

Recently at the New York International Auto Show, Ford was touting the benefits of the technology.  After living with Start/Stop…it really makes sense to me.

Did you know every year, traffic congestion in New York produces 5.1 billion pounds of excess CO2 emissions and leads to more than 255 million gallons of excess fuel consumption? Those findings among others originated in the Texas A&M Transportation Institute’s annual “Urban Mobility Report,” a study that also identified New York as one of the ten most congested cities in the United States.

Although it’s impossible to eliminate all the headaches associated with the daily commute in New York, auto start stop technology has the potential to address the emissions and gas consumption that result from it.

Auto Start-Stop technology saves consumers fuel when the car is standing and running at idle.  When a vehicle comes to a stop, this feature will automatically switch the engine off, reducing gas consumption and exhaust emissions to zero. As soon as the driver releases the brake pedal, the engine restarts and is ready to go by the time the driver presses the accelerator pedal.

Vehicle idling is a reality in any commute.  In fact, studies show drivers encounter an average of 10 to 15 red lights and stop signs on a typical 20-mile commute, which can add five to 15 minutes of idle time and wasted gas.

Not a big deal?  According to the U.S. Department of Energy, “Idling can use a quarter to a half gallon of fuel per hour, depending on engine size and air conditioner use.”

In heavy traffic areas such as those found in most commutes in the New York area, Auto Start Stop Technology will provide the greatest benefits.  If even just one out of every 10 commuters in the New York area utilized auto start stop, traffic congestion would result in 9.6 million fewer pounds of CO2 emissions and 483,683 fewer gallons of fuel consumed for the entire metro area every year.

While this technology has the potential to bring significant benefits to the New York community and around the country, it is not widely available at the moment.  In fact, outside of luxury vehicles, only the 2013 Ford Fusion 1.6 liter EcoBoost offers drivers the option of adding Auto Start Stop technology.  Even within the incredibly competitive and growing mid-size sedan segment, which includes the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Nissan Altima and others, the 2013 Ford Fusion 1.6 liter EcoBoost is the only vehicle where the technology is available.  And while luxury vehicles typically price this feature at several thousand dollars, Ford offers it for only $295.

As a result, drivers who add this feature to the 2013 Ford Fusion 1.6 liter EcoBoost will reduce emissions and gas consumption but they can do so inexpensively.

The potential impact of this technology, both in terms of the reductions in greenhouse gases for the community and the fuel consumption of New York-area commuters, is a critical and compelling story for the New York community. 

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