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.