Auto start-stop is finally showing up on non-hybrid cars.
The 2013 Ford Fusion will be the first non-hybrid midsize sedan available in North America with the fuel-saving technology, and will offered its on the new sedan as a $295 option.
According to Ford, combined with the Fusion’s 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine, the Auto Start-Stop system will help drivers save as much as $1,100 over five years at today’s fuel prices. The system improves fuel efficiency by about 3.5 percent overall, the company says, and drivers spending most or all of their time in the city can see savings going up to 10 percent.
Ford mentions studies showing that drivers encounter an average of 10 to 15 red lights and stop signs on a typical 20 mile commute, which can add 5 to 15 minutes of idle time and wasted gas.
This technology has been widely available on non-hybrid vehicles in Europe, but is only now showing up in North America on conventional cars.
How does it work? When the car comes to a stop, the engine can automatically switch off, staying on standby. As soon as the driver releases the brake pedal, the engine seamlessly re-starts itself and is ready to go by the time the driver presses the accelerator pedal.
Aside from software modifications needed, cars equipped with such a system typically have a stronger starter installed by the factory to compensate for the numerous engine re-start the vehicle will go through when compared to a car without stop-start.
Considering the 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine will see use in many other applications, we can likely expect the Auto Start-Stop system option to soon be available on other models.