If you live in Jacksonville, FL, waiting at traffic lights is part of your daily routine. The city has more traffic signals than anywhere else I’ve ever lived, and some of the lights are absurdly long. It’s not uncommon to wait between three and five minutes for a traffic light to change, since the city engineers seem to have designed traffic flow with the “what’s your hurry” theme in mind. No joke: even without heavy traffic volume, it can easily take you 45 minutes to drive 10 miles across town.
Ford’s “Auto Start-Stop” technology, originally developed for use in hybrid vehicles, is ideal for an urban environment like Jacksonville. The premise is simple: stop at a traffic light, and the engine shuts down after a few seconds. Release the brake pedal, and the engine instantly re-fires with no driver intervention. A dashboard indicator advises drivers that the engine is in a standby mode, and all vehicles systems (lights, HVAC, audio, Bluetooth) continue to function as normal even withe the engine off. Ford estimates that Auto Start Stop will improve fuel economy by a minimum of 4%, and up to 10% for certain vehicles.
The key components of Ford’s Auto Start Stop system are an enhanced 12 volt battery, a voltage regulation module and an enhanced heavy-duty starter motor, and the automaker claims that no additional maintenance is required on Start Stop equipped vehicles. Ford has used the Auto Start Stop system on hybrid vehicles since 2004, and over 170,000 vehicles have been built with this technology, so it’s certainly had time to have the bugs worked out. For the 2012 model year, Ford will introduce the Start Stop technology on select gasoline only cars and crossovers, although they haven’t yet clarified which ones.
Anyone out there drive a vehicle with Auto Start Stop? How do you like it, and what are your own experiences? Does it save gas, and if so, how much? Any problems with the engine stalling or not re-firing right away? How long is the start up process, and how long do you need to depress the brake pedal before the engine shuts down?
Source: Ford Motor Company