Ford to introduce Auto Stop-Start system on some 2012 North American models

Article by Christian Andrei, on December 27, 2010

Ford announced today that it will begin rolling out its fuel-saving start-stop system on some 2012 North American models but also light trucks powered by four-cylinder engines.

For those who don’t know, the fuel-saving start-stop system which is already used by several Ford models in Europe, will be seen on vehicles such as the 2012 Fiesta and Focus models, but also on other models such as the Escape crossover, C-Max minivan and Transit Connect.

The start-stop technology will also be seen on the new concept vehicle, which Ford will show us at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show. Furthermore, Ford also said that it will offer the start-stop system on most nameplates in North America by 2015.

Since 2004, Ford sold over 170,000 gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles fitted with start-stop technology. According to the manufacturer, the technology can improve fuel consumption by 10 percent in the city and by 5 percent the overall fuel consumption. Auto Start-Stop is the latest example of Ford moving aggressively to bring affordable advanced fuel-saving technologies to all customers.

The new system promises to be much simpler than the current one. Furthermore, the system uses new key components such as a more robust starter motor and an enhanced 12-volt battery.

According to Ford vice-president of Powertrain engineering Barb Samardzich, the Ford Auto Start-Stop is fully automatic and gives the driver that needed extra fuel efficiency without any of the inconvenience. Similar to its hybrid vehicles, she continued, the air conditioner and heater work normally so comfort is never sacrificed.

Currently, the rollout of its Auto Start-Stop is ongoing in Europe. This particular system works well with either diesel or the gasoline engines. It however comes standard on the ECOnetic version of the Ford Ka and the Ford Mondeo. This same system is being launched on the C-MAX, Grand C-MAX, and Focus.

After the European market, it will then be launched by 2012 in North America after which it will be offered on all the company’s markets. A number of Ford customers in North America are already familiar with this system as a similar one has been installed in gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles it has sold ever since 2004.

This accounts for more than 170,000 units ensuring that the company continues to lead the domestic market in terms of start-stop systems. For 2011, the Auto Start-Stop system created for its gasoline-electric powertrains will be equipped on the Fusion Hybrid, the Escape Hybrid, and of course, the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid.

Samardzich continued that a number of the same company engineers that designed the system on the hybrids are developing the same system for the non-hybrid vehicles that are sold worldwide. Once the Auto Start-Stop system makes its official debut in the North American market, it will be on gasoline-powered cars that are paired with either automatic or manual transmission.

It will even be on vehicles that carry the company’s very own six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. One of the reasons that the system is able to run seamlessly, according to Samardzich, is because the company made a bold move to have the direct-injection EcoBoost engines.

With the direct-injection system, the right amount of fuel is sprayed directly on the exact location of its combustion chamber resulting in a faster engine start, Samardzich continued. While the system will initially come with the four-cylinder engines, they will later be expanded to include the V6 engine and the V8 engine.

One good thing about this system is that there is no need to have any additional vehicle maintenance. Program manager for Auto Start-Stop Birgit Sorgenfrei shared that the system utilizes an improved 12-volt auto battery with an upgraded starter motor.

Press Release

Ford to Expand Fuel-Saving Start-Stop Technology From Hybrids to Conventional Cars, Crossovers

Ford'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.

Ford's patented new Auto Start Stop system for gasoline engines will improve fuel economy for most drivers by at least four percent. The gain can be as high as 10 percent 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 stop light. 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 as part of the company's commitment to lead or be among the leaders in fuel economy in every segment.

Ford's global Auto Start-Stop technology is smooth, quiet and seamless, and it requires no changes to the driver's behavior. In city driving when the vehicle is stopped, the engine restarts the instant the driver's foot leaves the brake pedal. When the engine is off, all of the vehicle's accessories function normally.

"For the driver, Ford Auto Start-Stop provides extra fuel efficiency without inconvenience, as it works completely automatically," said Barb Samardzich, Ford vice president of Powertrain engineering. "And, just like in our hybrid vehicles, the heater, and air conditioner work as normal so drivers will not sacrifice comfort."

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. The fuel-saving system debuts in North America in 2012 and eventually will be offered in all of Ford's global markets.

Many North American Ford customers are already familiar with Auto Start-Stop. 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," said Samardzich.

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.

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, which sprays the exact amount of fuel directly into the precise location in the combustion chamber, helps enable extremely fast engine starts, Samardzich explained. 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.

"Our hybrid owners tell us that start-stop is one of their favorite features," said Sorgenfrei. "When the engine is off, they know they are saving fuel and reducing emissions."

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.

"Ford's start-stop technology conserves fuel and eliminates emissions at every vehicle idle opportunity once customer comfort and convenience are assured – this is good for the environment," Sorgenfrei said.

Auto Start-Stop is just the latest in a long list of fuel-saving technologies Ford has brought to market in recent years.

Ford's industry-leading suite of fuel-saving technologies include:

EcoBoost engines, which combine turbocharging, direct injection and twin independent variable camshaft timing or Ti-VCT, with downsizing to deliver outstanding fuel economy without sacrificing performance
Improved and highly fuel-efficient TDCi turbo-diesel engines in European models with low emissions and high levels of refinement
Electric power steering, which eliminates the engine-driven hydraulic pump, lines and fluid
Six-speed transmissions, which enable engines to run more efficiently by always selecting the best gear for fuel economy
PowerShift dual-clutch automatic transmission, which efficiently sends the engine's power through the transmission without relying on a torque converter or hydraulic pumps

In 2011, Ford will be the only manufacturer in North America to offer four vehicles that get 40 mpg or more. Those vehicles, the Ford Fiesta, Ford Focus, Ford Fusion Hybrid and Lincoln MKZ Hybrid, are part of a dozen vehicles leading their sales segments in fuel economy, a record no other manufacturer can match.

"Ford Auto Start-Stop works so fast and so seamlessly, most drivers won't even notice it is there, though they will notice the benefits in their lower fuel bills," Samardzich said.


Topics: ford, united states

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