Engine Stop-Start Systems – A Brilliant Invention In The Automotive History


Also known as idle-stop systems, the engine stop-start systems are considered to be a part of the green car technologies. You’ll see its usefulness if you think of the usual motorway frustration: it’s crowded and cars are bumper to bumper, barely moving. Your engine is running and you’re wondering if you should turn it off. You’re burning gas for nothing, basically.

A Seamless, Non-Disruptive Process

Stop-start systems are used with mild hybrids. These are more like conventional vehicles, though. When the car is at rest, the gasoline engine is shut off by the system, since it’s not needed. The engine is cut off if you stand at a red light, for example. The great advantage is that, once the pedal is pressed and the car needs to get going again, there is no trouble – it all smooth, as the engine’s never been off. It stops and restarts automatically. The signals come from the pedal. When it’s not in use, it signals the system to shut off the gas.

Fuel Saving through Stop-Start Systems

While you never get to experience a real engine stop and are able to resume driving effortlessly, the idle-stop system ensures you’re not burning fuel in vain. Car idleness means that no gas is being consumed. How is the engine able to restart so quickly then? It’s easy because it’s using electric power stored through the system’s intervention right before a break. It’s the electricity that gets the engine running again so quickly.

Figures show that fuel consumption in the city is thus reduced with 5 to 8%. Considering the current fuel price, the idle-stop system would help one cover its cost in about three years.

Solving the #1 City Driving Issue

When it comes to fuel consumption in the city, it all comes down to the stop-and-go nature of the driving. It’s impossible not to stop ever so often and it’s these stops that eat up so much of the fuel. For a long time, there has been a myth saying how restarting an engine uses more fuel than keeping it on when the car is idle. Experiments have shown this to be untrue – it’s in fact the idling that’s less efficient economically.

The best savings are being registered with hybrid cars. Stopping and starting requires a decreased amount of fuel and, when ad-hoc generated electricity can help, the fuel is saved. Fuel saving through stop-start is real.

Who Is Using It

Idle-stop technology has been used by Volkswagen since 1991 and BMW has used it extensively on the MINI range. Currently, stop-start systems are installed by the following brands: Lexus, Toyota, Lincoln, Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan Altima hybrid, Porsche Cayenne hybrid, Chevrolet hybrid, Honda, Ford and BMW.

Because these systems are more demanding to batteries than to engines, they represent a better choice for modern, hybrid car models. However, research has shown that over the years there have been no modifications in battery warranty requests. With the acquired data and the new developments, the rumbling of cars at city intersections will begin to fade away.

Author’s Bio: This article is contributed by www.motordepot.co.uk, one of the leading car supermarkets in the U.K.


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