Environment Forum

Ford to install engine start-stop technology on gasoline-powered cars

By Todd Woody
December 29, 2010

USA/Traffic jams could start to get quieter in 2012 when Ford begins to install its Auto Start-Stop technology on gasoline-powered cars sold in North America.

The technology, currently used on hybrid Ford vehicles, cuts off the engine when a car is stopped at a traffic light and switches it back on when the driver’s foot leaves the brake pedal.

Ford says Auto Start-Stop will improve fuel economy of conventional cars between four and 10 percent. And engine shutoffs will result in a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. (In car-congested metropolises like Los Angeles and Houston, one could also expect to see a reduction in air pollution if the technology was widely adopted.)

Improvements in internal combustion engine technology allow cars to re-start instantly, according to the vice president of power train engineering at Ford, Barb Samardzich.

“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,” Ford said in a statement. “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.”

The company said Auto Start-Stop will initially be available on cars and sport utility vehicles with four-cylinder engines and later offered on six-cylinder and eight-cylinder models.

The technology is already being rolled out in Europe on some gas and diesel-powered cars.

Other automakers’ electric hybrid cars, such as the Toyota Prius, shut down the engine at stops and very low speeds, relying on batteries to power the vehicle.

Post Your Comment

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
  •