In case you haven’t been following the development of fuel saving, emission reducing features on upcoming cars, one such measure is “Start & Stop” technology. The details vary by manufacturer, but the premise is simple: when the vehicle is left idling for a period of time longer than a few seconds, the motor shuts down and goes into an ‘instant-start’ mode. When the accelerator is pressed, the motor re-fires and the car can be driven as normal, all within about a half second. In automobiles, this feature can yield a noticeable increase in fuel mileage and a significant decrease in tailpipe emissions.
Since someone had to be first to adapt the new technology to two wheels, Honda has unveiled the first scooter with start & stop technology for sale within the EU. Two Wheels tells us that the 2011 PCX125 utiilizes a start & stop system that shuts the motor off after three seconds of operation at idle. The scooter then enters a “stand by” mode, until the rider rolls on the throttle and normal operation is resumed. Since a scooter doesn’t use nearly as much fuel as a car, potential mileage gains are only five percent.
If you’re like me, you probably think that a bike that shuts down at traffic lights is a rear-end-collision waiting to happen. Not only do I keep my bike running at traffic lights, but I keep it in gear with my eyes frequently scanning the mirrors for traffic behind me. I almost got punted at a traffic light once, years ago, and it was enough to hard code the message in my brain. No worries, safety conscious scooter fans; the PCX125 allows the rider to opt out of the start & stop mode if they prefer. I salute Honda for this, since there are few things I hate more than having the latest technology, proven or not, rammed down my throat.