Ford announced Monday that its Auto Start-Stop technology, which turns off a car’s engine when it comes to a stop, will be added to non-hybrid cars by 2012.
Auto Start-Stop has been available on gasoline-electric hybrid cars since 2004, and will be added to the Ford Escape Hybrid, Fusion Hybrid, and Lincoln MKZ Hybrid in 2011. In 2012, however, the feature will also be added to non-hybrid vehicles in North America. It will be available on manual and automatic transmission gasoline-powered cars, as well as Ford’s dual-clutch six-speed automatic transmission vehicles.
The new Auto Start-Stop for gasoline engines can improve fuel economy by at least 4 percent, Ford said. That can go as high as 10 percent depending on the vehicle size and usage. The technology can also reduce tailpipe emissions to zero when the car is stopped.
Ford said Auto Start-Stop is quiet and seamless. In city driving, the engine restarts the second a driver’s foot leaves the brake pedal. A light on the dashboard will alert drivers when the engine is off, while a tachometer will move the needle to a green zone.
“For the driver, Ford Auto Start-Stop provides extra fuel efficiency without inconvenience, as it works completely automatically,” Barb Samardzich, Ford vice president of Powertrain engineering, said in a statement. “And, just like in our hybrid vehicles, the heater and air conditioner work as normal so drivers will not sacrifice comfort.”
Auto Start-Stop uses an enhanced 12-volt car battery and upgraded starter motor and does not require any additional maintenance, Ford said. An electric pump will keep engine coolant circulating through the heater so drivers stay warm in cold weather.
The global rollout of Auto Start-Stop is already underway in Europe. Ford will showcase an Auto Start-Stop concept at the North American International Auto Show next month. Ford CEO Alan Mullaly is also scheduled to give a keynote presentation at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show on January 7.
Last week, Ford also announced that owners with Sync-equipped Ford Fiesta vehicles can download AppLink, which allows drivers voice control over the apps on their smartphones. Ford also added the Apple iPhone to the list of Sync-compatible devices, which also includes Android and BlackBerry phones.