Ford has announced it's to introduce its fuel-saving start-stop technology pretty much across the board in the US.
The system automatically shuts off the engine when the vehicle comes to a halt - at stop lights, for example - and is already installed on the Ford Fusion Hybrid and Escape Hybrid as well as some other models in Europe.
But Ford says that it now plans to include it in conventional cars, crossovers and SUVs in the US and eventually the world.
The company claims that Auto Start-Stop can improve fuel economy for most drivers by at least four percent - and up to 10 percent, depending on vehicle size and usage. It also reduces tailpipe emissions to zero while the vehicle is stationary.
It's pretty much undetectable to the driver, says Ford, as the engine restarts the instant the driver’s foot leaves the brake pedal.
"For the driver, Ford Auto Start-Stop provides extra fuel efficiency without inconvenience, as it works completely automatically," says 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."
Auto Start-Stop is based on a direct-injection system, which sprays the exact amount of fuel required directly into the right spotin the combustion chamber, allowing extremely fast engine starts.It uses an enhanced 12-volt automobile battery and upgraded starter motor.
The global rollout of Auto Start-Stop is already underway in Europe. It will appear in North America in 2012, and will eventually be offered worldwide. The system will forst be offered on four-cylinder engines, and will gradually be expanded to vehicles with V6 and V8 engines.
"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," says Samardzich.