Start-stop is a fuel saving approach mainly associated with hybrid vehicles, in which the engine automatically cuts off instead of idling when you stop. Sounds a little scary at first, but now that a good chunk of the motoring public has gotten used to it, Ford has decided share the love and use its Auto Start-Stop system on conventional gasoline vehicles, too, for a fuel savings of up to 10%.
A Place in the Sun for Start-Stop Tech
Though it falls far short of the alternative fuel vehicle dream, the expansion of start-stop could play an important transitional role by helping millions of drivers worldwide to get accustomed to unconventional technology in a relatively short time. In that regard it’s similar to GM’s decision to develop the Chevy Volt with an electric drive and a gas tank, enticing more buyers who might otherwise be reluctant to invest in an all-electric vehicle.
A Safe Path to a New Energy Future
Ford’s emphasis on helping drivers to feel secure with new technology gets into the details, such as a system for keeping the inside of the car at a comfortable temperature even if stops are frequent or long. Short of a drastic and precipitous cut-off of gasoline supplies worldwide (accompanied by a dramatic breakthrough in low cost alternative fuel vehicles), the bulk of mainstream car buyers are likely to stick with the familiar unless manufacturers like Ford and GM keep offering a steady stream of innovations that provide a safe-looking way to ease into the future.
Image: Stop sign by thecrazyfilmgirl on flickr.com.
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