Already popular in Europe, start-stop technology is about to become more common-place in North America – especially if you drive a Ford.
Common in hybrids, start-stop systems shut off the engine when the vehicle comes to a rest and immediately fires it up again the second the brakes are released so there's no delay in power deliver when the driver reaches for the gas. Those few seconds when the engine is off add up, especially when you combine all the stop-signs, red lights and stop-and-go traffic. Some automakers claim the resulting fuel economy savings is as much as 10 percent – although it's certain to vary depending on the type of driving you do.
Ford has announced it will expand its use of start-stop technology into its non-hybrid cars and crossovers, starting in 2012. It's not year clear, however, which vehicles will be the first to receive the upgrade or if it will be limited to higher-dollar EcoBoost models – which is certainly a possibility.
Until changes are made to the U.S. government's EPA testing procedures the use of start-stop technology won't improve fuel economy numbers on paper, but real world improvements will be noted. And with Ford making this push, it will only be time before other automakers follow suit and the EPA tests begin to take start-stop technology into account.
More: Ford Planning Start-Stop Technology for Non-Hybird Cars, Crossovers in 2012