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The 2000 Volkswagen Lupo used start-stop to achieve a fuel economy of 75 mpg in Europe on a diesel engine. Manufacturers haven't brought the tech to non-hybrids in the U.S., due to flaws in the EPA's fuel economy testing.  (Source: Cars Plus Plus)
EPA is finally considering looking at the real value of stop start

Fuel economy ratings are supposed to provide an estimate of the vehicles' real-world performance, helping customers determine how efficient the vehicle is.  Unfortunately, the ratings are only as good as the tests that determine them, and in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's case, those tests aren't very good.

One significant oversight is stop start technology.  Overseas stop-start technology is featured on a host of models, including the Audi A3 TDI, BMW 1-Series, BMW 3-Series, Mazda 2, Mini Cooper, Toyota Yaris.  The technology is somewhat expensive -- it's about $500 extra to install -- however, it's more than worth it, providing fuel economy gains of around 7 percent.

The EPA's flawed test cycle, though, currently only includes one stop so the tech only earns automakers a 0.1 or 0.2 mpg increase in the official EPA mileage estimates, despite much larger real world gains.  Without the extra rating to justify the extra costs, manufacturers simply haven't been importing the tech on U.S. models. 

Currently, the only vehicles to feature the tech are hybrids such as the Toyota Prius, Honda Insight, Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid and BMW ActiveHybrid X6, as their electric systems allow the tech to be implemented at a much lower costs.  The net result is that at the end of the day, the U.S. is trailing the rest of the world in fuel economy.

Still the allure of models like the Volkswagen Lupo, which received an estimated 75 mpg, keep customers demanding that the EPA reconsider stop-start.  Robert Davis, Mazda's top product-development executive in North America, comments, "In Japan, we're seeing anywhere from 7 to 9 percent fuel economy gains from it. That's a jump from 33 to 37 miles per gallon in a metro environment."

Audi of America spokesman Christian Bokich complains, "We did not realize any savings in U.S. EPA estimates based on required testing cycles."

The EPA may finally be coming around and may try to fix its flawed test procedure.  It's taking public comment on stop-start technologies, currently, and will look to announce new procedures in April.  Those procedures could finally include a test with more stops.  Mazda is urging automakers to join together to lobby the EPA to give stop-start its just rewards.  While this is obviously a matter of personal interest to the company, it's also important industry wide, and to U.S. consumers.



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How is $500 expensive?
By Lord 666 on 12/30/2009 10:20:50 AM , Rating: 5
Seriously, when car makers say a new technology is cost prohibitive, they rarely mention the actual cost. Hybrid diesels are said to be "expensive" along with the Accord diesel.

Yet, when the cost is actually revealed for this $500 stop/start mechanism that will save real money and fuel, it begs to question who is making these decisions saying something is expensive. GPS and entertainment packages usually add $2000-5000 to a car. Do people really need the $500 wheel package? Is it expensive because the diesel Accord would have needed a $75 oil change versus $25?
I consider the battery replacement for hybrids expensive now, but hope economies of scale will greatly bring down the cost.

Bring the hybrid diesels, my US spec Audi A6 TDI quattro (http://www.dailytech.com/article.aspx?newsid=17243... and even some diesel trucks like the Pilot. Let the market decide what is "too expensive" versus some suits who are out of touch with the market and modern consumers.




RE: How is $500 expensive?
By chruschef on 12/30/2009 10:38:32 AM , Rating: 3
how expensive is $500 out of your pocket? from a businesses perspective, it's literally burning money because there's currently no return on the investment.


RE: How is $500 expensive?
By quiksilvr on 12/30/2009 11:17:41 AM , Rating: 2
Uh, the return on the investment is SALES!


RE: How is $500 expensive?
By iFX on 12/30/2009 11:52:02 AM , Rating: 2
Exactly. lol


RE: How is $500 expensive?
By Solandri on 12/30/2009 1:43:55 PM , Rating: 3
That was Jason's point. Since the EPA figures with the option would only rise 0.1-0.2 MPG, there would be little increase in sales from offering the device as an option.

Or are you offering to pay for and run a nationwide educational campaign to inform car buyers that getting the device will increase your mileage about 7%, not the 0.1-0.2 MPG the EPA figures show?


RE: How is $500 expensive?
By Lord 666 on 12/30/2009 2:00:54 PM , Rating: 2
VW did and their Jetta TDI sales have done well. They had a third party vendor review the MPG and found it to be higher than the EPA.

In the age of the Internet, the truth and positive viral communication will trump whatever the EPA numbers say regardless of hybrid, diesel, or hydrogen.


RE: How is $500 expensive?
By Spuke on 12/30/2009 2:04:36 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
VW did and their Jetta TDI sales have done well. They had a third party vendor review the MPG and found it to be higher than the EPA.
Do you have any proof that this education had direct correlation to VW's supposed increase in sales of the new TDI Jetta's?


RE: How is $500 expensive?
By ayat101 on 12/30/2009 10:21:46 PM , Rating: 2
Clearly you misunderstand what a correlation is. If two things happen at the same time, they are correlated. True, correlation does not prove causation... but you missed the point on this one.


RE: How is $500 expensive?
By Spuke on 12/31/09, Rating: 0
RE: How is $500 expensive?
By Lord 666 on 12/31/2009 12:40:19 PM , Rating: 2
Spuke,

Part of my point the OP was trying to explain to you was regardless of what the official EPA numbers are, if a product is capable of achieving consistently and independantly verified better MPG, the user community will pick up on it by word of mouth. Truth is the most honest selling point of any product. This is the reason why the Prius and VW TDI products have done well because they actually work and in some cases exceed expectations.

VW took what they and the user base of TDIs owners already knew and got it verified by a third party and then advertised it. Additionally, the current Jetta TDI also holds a Guiness World Record that VW isn't afraid to advertise - http://www.autoblog.com/2008/09/30/vw-jetta-tdi-se...

A similar scenario is overclocking CPUs; while Intel rates a Q9550 at 2.83, but it is common knowledge it can be overclocked well into the 3.xx's or higher.

So circling back to the topic... if VW or other manufacturers equip their cars with this $500 option, word of mouth mixed with third party reviews will negate the lackluster EPA testing results.


RE: How is $500 expensive?
By mdogs444 on 12/30/2009 10:46:47 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
Yet, when the cost is actually revealed for this $500 stop/start mechanism that will save real money and fuel, it begs to question who is making these decisions saying something is expensive. GPS and entertainment packages usually add $2000-5000 to a car. Do people really need the $500 wheel package? Is it expensive because the diesel Accord would have needed a $75 oil change versus $25?

Its the consumer who makes the decision ultimately. The people looking for a big increase in fuel efficiency are typically buying cheaper, more fuel efficient cars. Sure, there are the groups who buy a Fusion hybrid, Prius, Escape hybrid...but lets be honest here. Those buying those care are really doing it more for a "feel good" perspective, rather than actually spending that much more money to save fuel.

$500 on a $12,000 care carries much more impact than $500 on a $35,000 car. Those paying the premium of $3000-$5,000 on an entertainment system probably do not need the extra 2, 3, or 4 miles per gallon as a necessity. If they did, they'd be spending that $5,000 for fuel efficiency instead of luxury, or saving it by buying a cheaper car with better mileage.


RE: How is $500 expensive?
By Lord 666 on 12/30/2009 11:15:31 AM , Rating: 3
Provided the product is offered for sale, then the consumer ultimately decides. As you point out, the hybrids have a poor return on investment other than the feel good factor. If companies offered true choice based on available technology, that would benefit both producer and consumer.

If a diesel Accord is offered, it would just be a power plant swap that would provide 40mpg AND near luxury quality. As Honda stated, the product worked well in the R/D phase, but found to be too "expensive." Yet, the very same product is offered for sale in Europe. Huge mileage gains are realized on the diesel CRV. Again, it is offered for sale in the UK where the standard of living is less, but not US. Honda has already patented their trick catalytic converter to meet T2B5 that doesn't require urea, but there is nothing preventing them from using both.

I guess my frustration is the logical answer is being blatantly ignored. Common sense would have put a diesel in the Volt, but GM said it would require a mini-chemistry set for it to work. Yet, the Volt has issues in the heat. Engineers have funny priorities.

My Jetta TDI is slightly more expensive to maintain with synthetic oil being required, but the fuel savings is huge for my family. Other than that, the rest is just inexpensive Jetta parts.


RE: How is $500 expensive?
By Alexstarfire on 12/30/2009 4:44:50 PM , Rating: 2
Hahahahaha. I can only laugh when reading about the "feel good factor" that many say is the hybrid's only purpose.


RE: How is $500 expensive?
By microslice on 12/30/2009 1:13:41 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Its the consumer who makes the decision ultimately. The people looking for a big increase in fuel efficiency are typically buying cheaper, more fuel efficient cars. Sure, there are the groups who buy a Fusion hybrid, Prius, Escape hybrid...but lets be honest here. Those buying those care are really doing it more for a "feel good" perspective, rather than actually spending that much more money to save fuel.


I totally disagree with this. My Highlander hybrid is getting 26 MPG combined. This is significantly better than the non-hybrid. Not to mention the added torque from the electric assist. So, I get better power and better gas mileage.

What's not to like?


RE: How is $500 expensive?
By mdogs444 on 12/30/2009 1:36:48 PM , Rating: 1
No one said there isnt anything to like. You're misplacing the point.

The car may be better, and you may get another few miles per gallon (what, 3 or 4?) with the hybrid...but if you were really all that concerned with gas mileage, you probably wouldn't be driving an SUV...and if you were concerned with both costs and mileage, you sure wouldn't have bought a hybrid SUV.

The point is that you can afford the nicer car that only gets 26MPG (hey, my Expedition and F150 get maybe 15? lol)...but if you were a gas mileage junkie and doing it to save money, you'd be buying some kind of Corolla, Fit, minivan or something....something more fuel efficient and cheaper. That's all...no one is knocking what you have.


RE: How is $500 expensive?
By Solandri on 12/30/2009 1:54:29 PM , Rating: 3
MPG figures are misleading. Fuel consumption is actually the inverse of MPG, so MPG figures tend to de-emphasize how much extra fuel trucks and SUVs use, while exaggerating how much fuel hybrids save. (This is why most of the world uses liters per 100 km, not km per liter). The biggest savings actually comes from switching from the big SUVs to a moderately fuel-efficient sedan.

In other words, going from a 15 MPG SUV to a 30 MPG sedan cuts your fuel consumption in half. If you drive 30 miles per day, you'd go from using 2 gallons a day to 1 gallon a day - a savings of 1 gallon a day.

It is impossible to obtain the same fuel savings going from a sedan to any other vehicle, since reducing 1 gallon a day by 1 gallon a day leaves you with zero gallons a day consumed. A hybrid which manages 60 MPG will still use 0.5 gal a day, for a net savings of just 0.5 gallons. A 120 MPG vehicle would use 0.25 gal a day, for a net savings of just 0.75 gallons. Even a pure electric vehicle will have costs associated with electricity, and so will not save you as much as the 1 gallon a day you get by switching from an SUV to a sedan.


RE: How is $500 expensive?
By Lord 666 on 12/30/2009 3:30:53 PM , Rating: 2
Made my wife go from a 2005 CRV to 2006 Jetta TDI. Huge savings plus she feels safer in the car as it handles better and along with excellent side impact rating. She used to average 500 miles per week and the cost savings worked out to be about $100+ a month. Using $2.65 a gallon for diesel, that savings of $100 works out to be 37 gallons per month saved.

I'm now stuck with the truck driving it to and from mass transit.


RE: How is $500 expensive?
By microslice on 12/30/2009 6:48:16 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The car may be better, and you may get another few miles per gallon (what, 3 or 4?) with the hybrid...but if you were really all that concerned with gas mileage, you probably wouldn't be driving an SUV...and if you were concerned with both costs and mileage, you sure wouldn't have bought a hybrid SUV.


Again, completely disagree.

I drive an SUV (technically, the Highlander is a crossover since it's built on the Camry chassis) because I like the size/space and safety it provides. I routinely carry 2 or more bicycles and don't want to carry them on a rack because they are very high-end bicycles. So, I need the space of an SUV to carry bicycles, trainers, spare wheels, ice chest, pump, uniforms, helmets, shoes, tools, etc.

With a Highlander hybrid, I get 5-6 MPG more than the non-hybrid, the space I need, the power I want, and the quality of a Toyota.

A hatchback sedan may have worked, but I couldn't find anything in a Honda/Toyota that I liked at the time. The Fit was too small. The CRV/Rav4 too small and underpowered. The Prius too ugly (this was pre-2010), etc.


RE: How is $500 expensive?
By mdogs444 on 12/31/2009 8:13:25 AM , Rating: 2
Again, you're misplacing the point. You don't have to justify your purchase to me or the reasons you like the car. My point is merely stemming from a cost and return factor, thats all. I drive a full size SUV and a full size truck, both new and both get crap mileage. I got them because thats what I wanted, and thats all. But the increase in price for a hybrid crossover still does not justify the price from an increased mpg perspective is all.


RE: How is $500 expensive?
By lelias2k on 1/3/2010 1:40:06 PM , Rating: 2
It is always funny to me how shallow our ROI calculations can be.
First of all, I understand that cars are - most of the time, an emotional purchase.
But what amazes me is how much the "feel good" factor is underestimated. Especially because this "feel good" has much deeper consequences. We are improving our air quality (do you seriously think cigarettes are the ONLY cause of lung cancer?), we're reducing our dependence on foreign oil, we're trying to reduce the overall impact that we have on this planet - which I will admit we have a long way to go, but it's a start.
But when somebody says that they're buying a car because of these factors they are often mocked for overpaying for something that under performs.
We all want to live better in a better planet, but it's never our responsibility to make this happen...

PS: Sorry if the rant is misplaced. It wasn't directed at anyone in particular.


RE: How is $500 expensive?
By Spuke on 12/30/2009 2:11:03 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
My Highlander hybrid is getting 26 MPG combined.
My bro in law bought a Highlander late last year and could not justify the nearly $12k increase in price and mediocre increase in gas mileage over the regular Highlander. His other car is a Camry Hybrid btw.


RE: How is $500 expensive?
By microslice on 12/30/2009 6:36:51 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
My bro in law bought a Highlander late last year and could not justify the nearly $12k increase in price and mediocre increase in gas mileage over the regular Highlander. His other car is a Camry Hybrid btw.


Hmm, $12k seems way off. I'm pretty sure the premium I paid for the hybrid was approx. $2k. He must have been looking at a non-hybrid with the base packages vs. the hybrid fully loaded.

For $2k, the added gas mileage and power was worth it to me.


RE: How is $500 expensive?
By Keeir on 12/31/2009 12:29:23 AM , Rating: 2
Sigh... the Toyota site is live you know?

The problem with looking at Hybrids is that its often hard to find a comparable model of non-hybrid.

Different packages and capabilities make the Highlander especially difficult.

Two things stand out to me though...

#1. "Electric 4 wheel drive" is alot different than permanent 4 wheel drive

#2. Towing capacity of 3,500 lbs for the Hybrid is the same as the 4 cylinder Highlander and not the 6 cylinder Higlander (at 5,000 lbs)

Since Towing and "Ruggedness" are two reasons to get an SUV, the Highlander Hybrid is more like a slightly upgraded in terms of power 4-cylinder Highlander rather than a compeditor to a 4WD 6 cylinder model.

When I equip the standard Highlander to a level very close to the Standard Higlander Hybrid I get a premium of more than 6,000 dollars and an EPA estimated difference of 3 MPG or ~ 0.5 gal per 100 miles.

Over 150,000 miles, thats around 750 gallons or a premium (upfrount) of approx 8 dollars a gallon saved.

Now, I am fully aware that doesn't project the full story. And "limited" 4 wheel drive that doesn't work well in the cold may have significant value to a specific consumer. Or a slightly higher level of performance/comfort while driving... but its hard to argue that the the Highlander Hybrid makes sense economically if your primarly interested in on-road driving with space.

As to the Start/Stop system... its only going to make sense for some drivers. Truth is that in the US, outside of a few cities with very bad traffic, start and stop may not make economic sense. Start/Stop only helps if you can turn the engine off for a certain length of time. The average US driving in extremely cold or hot weather will have a significant length of "shut-off" time (due to high accessory loads) which will likely not be met more than once or twice a driving instance. (Remember, the majority of drivers live in the suburbs where short stop lights and stop signs are the most common type of traffic stop)

Changing an EPA test to make a technology look better seems stupid. First prove that most drivers actually do stop longer periods of time and incorporate -that- into the test.


RE: How is $500 expensive?
By Spuke on 12/31/2009 12:17:23 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
When I equip the standard Highlander to a level very close to the Standard Higlander Hybrid I get a premium of more than 6,000 dollars and an EPA estimated difference of 3 MPG or ~ 0.5 gal per 100 miles.
Thanks, you explained it very well.


RE: How is $500 expensive?
By tastyratz on 12/30/2009 10:53:34 AM , Rating: 3
$500 is a lot on the purchase of a new car. 500 here, 500 there.... and the car is then a few thousand above its competitors.
Business practice is not to give customers something out of good will - and without any proof how can it be anything but?
That $500 could easily go to something else that is of more obvious up front apparent value to a customer on a test drive

I would love to see this given a fair chance in the usa.
How does the up front cost compare to cost over the lifetime? I am sure it probably saves more in gas than it takes to replace parts... but for curiosity does anyone know just how much service life are we talking for starters, batteries, etc?


RE: How is $500 expensive?
By 1sick70 on 1/3/2010 11:50:28 AM , Rating: 2
While everyone is bickering about the cost.....I am more concerned with the slant on the articles headline. This technology has been here for years, General motors used it since around 2002. What do you mean finally? Saturn used the hell out of this technology in the VUE....saddly they are now kaput but you get the picture. Oh and the savings on a real world scale are closer to 3%....but why let the facts get in the way!


I dont see the fuss
By GruntboyX on 12/30/2009 10:36:31 AM , Rating: 4
I really don't see the fuss. Yes Start/Stop provides a benefit in densely populated areas, but outside of large metro areas the benefit significantly reduces. Considering that Americans driver greater average distances and do more interstate travel I don't see the extreme benefit to actual reduction in oil consumption. I think its more specsmanship. And you have to be in stop and go traffic to take any real benefit.

I also dont want the extra wear and tear on the motor just because the computer decided to turn my engine off because i came to a stop sign. In rural environments is a nuance and not a feature.




RE: I dont see the fuss
By amanojaku on 12/30/2009 10:58:17 AM , Rating: 2
I think an engine is designed to support the wear and tear of being turned on and off. Anyway, the engine somehow stores energy so that it starts up immediately, virtually eliminating lag (0.35-1.0 seconds). It's been in use since the 80's with no reported drawbacks, and it saw widespread adoption in Asia and Europe in the 90's.

@Pneumothorax, environmentals and other components that use the ICE will need an alternate power source, like an electric motor. That has been worked out, as well.

http://green.autoblog.com/2009/02/26/which-cars-in...


RE: I dont see the fuss
By Pneumothorax on 12/30/2009 12:15:48 PM , Rating: 3
@Pneumothorax, environmentals and other components that use the ICE will need an alternate power source, like an electric motor. That has been worked out, as well.

http://green.autoblog.com/2009/02/26/which-cars-in...

Your link doesn't explain what has to be done. Basically you're going to have to switch to an electric powered A/C compressor and a electric powered heater. That's more than $200 that's being thrown around. I'm quite sure the $200 option will only function if only vent is running or the heater is already hot so there's enough heat stored in the heater core. For A/C, they would need to de-couple the compressor of the regular v-belts and make it electric powered just like a fridge at home. (This is already being done with hybrids, but I've yet to see many of those cars on the list having electric-powered A/C compressors.)


RE: I dont see the fuss
By Pneumothorax on 12/30/2009 12:19:22 PM , Rating: 3
BTW, the reason I keep bringing up the electric powered A/C up, is that here in hot southern CA, you're basically running the A/C up to 9 months of the year. This would negate this start-stop until the next gen of cars when they can switch over to revamped A/C Units. Remains to be seen if the electric compressors can push the same amount of BTU's as the belt driven ones.


RE: I dont see the fuss
By sinful on 12/30/2009 12:43:47 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
BTW, the reason I keep bringing up the electric powered A/C up, is that here in hot southern CA, you're basically running the A/C up to 9 months of the year. This would negate this start-stop until the next gen of cars when they can switch over to revamped A/C Units. Remains to be seen if the electric compressors can push the same amount of BTU's as the belt driven ones.


My girlfriend's 4-banger Hyundai doesn't put out much heat or cooling when just running idle (but when you give it gas it "comes back").
(i.e. there is a definite difference in heating/cooling ability when the engine is running idle vs. when you're going 50mph).

I don't think that's an intended feature but that's how it works.

It's essentially the same effect if I turn off my AC/Heater and just run the vent temporarily (i.e. residual cold/heat).

I bet most people experience a similar effect and just don't realize it, and the same would be true here - even if the heater or cooling is only running at 50% capacity most people won't notice unless you're stuck in traffic for a LONG time.


RE: I dont see the fuss
By mdogs444 on 12/30/2009 1:39:41 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I don't think that's an intended feature but that's how it works.

Hyundai, Kia, Daewoo...

That's not a defect, that's an enhancement...


RE: I dont see the fuss
By Suntan on 12/30/2009 1:08:32 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
it starts up immediately, virtually eliminating lag (0.35-1.0 seconds)


If you think 1 second is instantanious, come on over to my neck of the woods and count out a full second before stepping on the gas when a light changes... Do that a couple of times and see what kind of reactions you get from the guys sitting behind you.

-Suntan


RE: I dont see the fuss
By omnicronx on 12/30/2009 11:15:33 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
Considering that Americans driver greater average distances and do more interstate travel I don't see the extreme benefit to actual reduction in oil consumption. I think its more specsmanship. And you have to be in stop and go traffic to take any real benefit.
~80% of Americans live in urban areas, a large percentage of that within big cities, to say that this technology is useless in the US is a major oversight. The US is also up there in cars per ca pita, with almost 500 cars per 1000 people. So out of those 150 million cars, a large chunk reside in cities and can take advantage of stop and go technology. Perhaps everyone will not get the 7% fuel savings, but for 500 dollars, you will make that money back over the lifetime of your car (and then some)


RE: I dont see the fuss
By Spuke on 12/30/2009 1:53:30 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
~80% of Americans live in urban areas, a large percentage of that within big cities, to say that this technology is useless in the US is a major oversight.
You are misinterpreting that data. That 80% is the percentage of Americans that live in a metropolitan area . A metropolitan area as an area where the population is 100,000 or greater and typically includes a city where the population is 50,000 or greater. 55% of Americans live in metro areas where the population is 1 million or greater.


RE: I dont see the fuss
By omnicronx on 12/31/2009 12:39:22 AM , Rating: 2
I'm not misinterpreting anything, they basically mean the same thing . Urban areas in the US are usually either a town of at least 50k, or a certain population density per area. I could have said either and my point would be exactly the same. (if you look it up, you will find both at around 80% depending on where you look). Furthermore, even if you were correct, my point would be even more valid as a metropolitan areas have a higher population requirement.

What you fail to realize is anywhere you need to stop, whether that be traffic light, stop sign etc etc, stop and go technology can be used. It does not mean you need stop and go traffic to make use of it.

This was my point, these are the kind of things that would occur in higher population densities which consist of most of the US.

Stop and Go technology makes sense, but as Jason explains it is the EPA ratings that do not show how effective it can be because of faults in testing procedures.


RE: I dont see the fuss
By Keeir on 12/31/2009 2:31:49 AM , Rating: 2
errr... I think your misreading the data also.

For example, look at the City/Urban/Metro of Seattle (a place likely to pay for start/stop and has bad traffic)

Its true that ~2 million live in the "urban" area, but most live in the 500 person per square mile (more than 1 million). Thats what i'd call surburb since we are really talking about 2-3 people per acre counting as an "urban" area.

Metro. is even worse. Sure the average population density of the City is more than 7000 per square mile. But the Metro area minus the city is ~350 per square mile or 1/2 per acre....

Seems like even though 3.3 million might live in the metro area, more like 1-1.5 million live in an area where population density reachs 1,000 per square foot.

I also think you have an elevated opinion of start and stop. Start and Stop, on a convential ICE car, only benifits if the car has been stopped long enough to recope the cost of starting the engine again. In ideal conditions this can be less than 9 seconds (or maybe even less with Mazda's fancy cylinder placement) or more than 30 under less than ideal situations. Start/Stop doesn't make sense for stop signs or lights shorter than 15 seconds long (or that curb lane that is always inching forward). Now driving in the city at rush hour can have significant benifit... but shouldn't it be the manufactures expense to convey the benifit of a technology that is only useful to the consumer under very specific situations? (I know the majority of start and stop would not benifit me, so seeing an additional 8-9% EPA rating would just be frustrating and not tell me which car is actually more efficient)


RE: I dont see the fuss
By Alexstarfire on 12/31/2009 6:25:57 AM , Rating: 2
1,000 per square foot? Pics or it didn't happen. :P


Issues i see
By FITCamaro on 12/30/2009 11:43:07 AM , Rating: 5
While I am not trying to deny the fuel economy benefits, there are more things to think about.

The majority of the wear on a car's engine is at startup. So by having the enigine stop at every light, you are drastically increasing that kind of wear on the motor.

Another thing not being looked at here is how people drive in Europe vs. the US. In Europe people come to a complete stop less than here. They have more roundabouts instead of stop lights than we do.

I personally wouldn't want my GTO shutting off at every light. In the end it'd just mean more and higher maintenance costs.




RE: Issues i see
By corduroygt on 12/30/2009 12:11:19 PM , Rating: 4
Wear is bad at cold startup in the morning when the car has been off all night and all the oil went down to the crankcase, but when the car is warm, stopping the engine between 1-120 seconds won't do harm. Any stop start system would have to be monitoring the oil temperature and not go into effect if it's too cold.


RE: Issues i see
By Spuke on 12/30/2009 2:02:41 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
but when the car is warm, stopping the engine between 1-120 seconds won't do harm.
How so? Please explain.


RE: Issues i see
By Alexvrb on 12/30/2009 7:30:54 PM , Rating: 2
A good stop-start system will avoid turning the engine off when it hasn't yet reached operating temperature. But there could still be slightly increased wear when the oil is given a minute or two to drain. I'd say its generally a non-issue.

However, there are other problems with stop-start on a non-hybrid vehicle. Even half a second of delay (and that's if everything works perfectly) would drive me up a wall, especially in stop and go traffic. But I'll let that one pass, since we'll call it user preference. What about the starting system, what modifications do they make compared to a traditional starter motor -> flywheel/flexplate setup? Then there's your accessories and other components:

- Blower motor - does the blower motor stop working? Or continue to run off the battery(ies), providing you with heat and maybe even marginal A/C.
- Rear defroster - I bet that shuts off, its a power hog.
- Radiator/condenser fan(s) - I'd say these typically shut off - but even if its hot and the heat from the exhaust manifold(s) continues to bleed into your engine?
- Water pump - electric water pump? Why not, while we're saving a few % with a stop-start system. This will save a few more.
- A/C compressor, are they going to install a 12V electric compressor, and if so do you think a 12V compressor will be USEFUL compared to the high voltage units they put on a typical hybrid? Or just stick with a belt driven unit and have it shut off.
- Most important of all - How well will your standard non-deep-cycle 12V automotive battery going to handle all this? Maybe they'll throw in a auxilary battery or two, and a bigger alternator, or maybe they'll make it a 24V system. Two deep cycle BCI group 31 batteries, that's the ticket.

There are issues with stop-start on non-hybrids, and the cost of the stop-start system alone does not fix them. So a vehicle with a stop-start system that does NOT suffer from the above problems will certainly carry a premium above the $500 mark.


RE: Issues i see
By Alexstarfire on 12/30/2009 8:03:17 PM , Rating: 2
I would imagine the fans and water pump would be all electric. There is no reason for them not to be. Not sure about the rear defrost, but I don't think 30 seconds of not having rear defrost is going to be a big deal. Not like it provides heat for you. The AC compressor I'd imagine will be just like normal ones, so not electrical. That'd make a huge strain on the battery and would probably be pretty crappy at it as well.

And no, no way they'd provide extra batteries. They might, however, put in a slightly larger car battery, but I don't see any reason for them to without putting either rear defrost or an electric AC compressor in there.


RE: Issues i see
By lucyfek on 12/30/2009 8:13:18 PM , Rating: 2
well, i don't have a fancy car so my stop-start system if fully manual. i shut the engine off at lights (or even before, no stupid auto-transmission in my car either) and start when lights are about to turn green (radar detector is good for predicting this - if you can't see lights/traffic, with some experience you get of the intersection ahead of others). so far so good and i believe this actually reduces engine wear. and i would especially shut off engine when not fully warmed up - modern cars guzzle until they get warm (and wear engine at high rpm to get there) and i don't feel like paying for not moving. if you're concerned with engine wear when cold get full synthetic 0w the next time you change oil - well forth the extra few $.


RE: Issues i see
By Spuke on 12/31/2009 12:39:57 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
if you're concerned with engine wear when cold get full synthetic 0w the next time you change oil - well forth the extra few $.
Cold start wear has everything to do with oil flow. Think about it.


The cost...
By Jansen (blog) on 12/30/2009 10:16:29 AM , Rating: 5
Actual cost with mass production will be closer to $200, according to Bosch.




RE: The cost...
By Radnor on 12/30/2009 11:53:05 AM , Rating: 2
200$ is nothing. I think the car industry should meet the IT modus operandi.

Standardize most stuff and sell cars the modular way. Like, computers !! My dream is to buy a car and when i go to choose the "specs", have more than color, rims, gimmicks and predefined engines.

like a Dell "configure your pc" , but much better. Car makers never learn. And yes, i know about cars, im rebuilding a Lancia Delta HF turbo and Peugeot 309 GTI 16v as a hobbie.

Car makers just need to learn in some things. Bosch, Magnetic Marelli, Magna, valeo and others already make most parts so....



RE: The cost...
By Solandri on 12/30/2009 1:38:31 PM , Rating: 2
The auto industry is operating on a razor thin profit margin (1.1% in 2008). i.e. They're only making $275 per sale of a $25,000 car. In contrast, computer manufacturers like Dell are operating at a 6% profit margin.

http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune500/...

So, really, from the consumer's perspective, it's Dell who needs to learn from the car makers and cut its prices even more. The "configure your PC" option they provide apparently comes with a hefty price tag of 5% tacked onto every sale.


RE: The cost...
By Kurz on 12/30/2009 2:52:53 PM , Rating: 3
Umm... 5% profit is a good margin.
All dell needs to do is compete, if another Computer makers make a cheaper product you'll bet Dell will slash their prices.

Though most Corporations turn to Dell for their computers.
They are Cheap and have good support.


not necessarily worth it
By coldmm803 on 12/30/2009 2:01:16 PM , Rating: 2
This isn't worth it...if it only gives a gain of 7-9%. I have a Subaru Legacy GT and get 18mpg in the city, a gain of 9% would only take me to 19.6mpg. I wouldn't pay off the $500 cost until 40,000 miles on a brand new GT with premium fuel @ 2.80/gallon. The Mazda in the article, a 9% increase is actually 2.7mpg (not 4mpg) and would take 75,000 miles with regular gas @ 2.50/gallon.

Actually, it is more reasonable to use on my Legacy than the Mazda, I would save money sooner.

With a 12% gain, my Legacy (increase to 20.16mpg) would begin to save after 30k miles and the Mazda (increase to 33.6mpg) at 55k miles




So...
By Pneumothorax on 12/30/2009 10:26:59 AM , Rating: 2
I assume this will only work if your heater/air-conditioning is off? Otherwise, they would have to redesign the car to include electical powered climate control.




RE: So...
By Kosh401 on 12/30/2009 11:21:08 AM , Rating: 2
Hard to say. I have a Malibu Hybrid and there's two A/C options, one to use while maintaining the "hybrid" mode and one that's more powerful but will disable most of the hybrid features. Heaters don't impact it.

For a normal, non-hybrid car it'll be interesting though because there is no extra battery in the car, all of this would have to be accomplished from the 12v under the hood. Extra engine wear and tear is nothing to be concerned about as someone had mentioned, but perhaps you would go through 12v batteries a bit faster?

Anyway it's a great tech that I think should find it's way into most vehicles. Very little downside to it.


More than worth it?
By Shadowmaster625 on 12/31/2009 7:46:50 AM , Rating: 2
If your car gets 30 mpg, that costs about 10 cents a mile in the US. So after driving 50000 miles you've spent $5000. If you save 7 percent with stop-start, it means you've saved $350 after 50000 miles. Clearly, it is not worth the extra cost. Even if you did save money after 5 years of driving, you have to take into account your $500 five years ago is worth $650-$750 today. So the real inflation adjusted cost of stop-start is closer to $700 than $500. And you gotta pay tax and finance charges on that amount too. How does $800 sound? You'd have to drive over 100,000 miles in 5 years for this to pay for itself. But if you drove those kind of miles, they'd obviously be mostly highway, so your savings wouldnt be nearly 7 percent. Surprisingly, Americans are not universally stupid. There's a reason they dont bring this technology here; because its a ripoff. Gas needs to be well over $5 a gallon for it to make sense. And even then its only breakeven. Why pull forward your spending just to break even. Buying this technology, even if it does save a bit of money, leaves less money to spend elsewhere.

Not to mention you are increasing the wear on your starter motor, which could cause premature failure. So you may as well add an extra $20 to the price tag to cover the reduced average lifespan. Also, by stopping the motor you cycle the oil pump as well. And the timing belt. And many other systems that may or may not have been properly designed to constantly start and stop. Remember, it is the torque delta that causes most of the wear on belts, motors, and pumps. They all last much longer if run consistently at their optimum speed.

In the case of the oil pump, you are allowing oil to drain from the motor. So when it starts back up, the engine wear during those first few hundred cycles is going to be 1000 times greater than it would otherwise be. This will result in quicker loss of compression and deteriorating fuel economy in the later years of the engine's life, all but erasing any efficiency gains. Why subject yourself to all those additional risks just to save at most a hundred bucks IF (and only if) the price of gas were to go above $5 a gallon???? It makes absolutely no sense, in any country, under any scenario, and the people who brought this to market need to be fired.




RE: More than worth it?
By Shadowmaster625 on 12/31/2009 8:01:57 AM , Rating: 2
What if its cold outside? Are you going to sit there in traffic freezing your butt off because your motor stopped and you got no heat? Or if its electric heat, are you going to sit there and constantly drain your battery so that it needs to be replaced every 3 years instead of 5? Add another $20 to the price tag for that. And what if its 96 degrees outside? Good luck trying to run A/C off a battery... Yeah sure you could spike your A/C while the car is moving but then you are placing an extra load on both the motor and the A/C system while the care is trying to accelerate. There goes your fuel economy... Not to mention the lifespan of the coolant. Add another $20 to the price tag for that too. After all is said and done I bet the true average cost of this scam (with interest, amortization, tax, and increased component fatigue) goes over $1000. No one under any driving scenario, even a taxi cab driver, is going to save any money at that rate. Remember, most taxi cabs are bought with corporate debt issued at about an 8% rate. That ups the total cost of this option to well over $1000 not even counting component fatigue. So no, not even taxi companies would profit by purchasing this option. But I'm sure some of them will. (And they should be fired too.)


Want it!
By ummduh on 1/1/2010 11:52:49 PM , Rating: 2
I am completely against hybrids but would welcome this with open arms. I live in the SF bay area and of course spend a lot of time idling sitting in traffic.

I first ran into this tech with golf carts of all things and have wondered when cars would get into it.




RE: Want it!
By ummduh on 1/2/2010 12:03:10 AM , Rating: 2
And I seriously doubt these things will continue with the standard old starter motor. They don't clarify, but I'd be willing to bet that there is an entirely different setup, probably consisting of a motor/generator combination between the engine/transmission.

A/C compressor, and p/s pump would more than likely be electric. (which also help out fuel econ, getting them off of the belt) Electric p/s pumps are common now anyways, and could also run a hydroboost setup for the brakes, negating the need for an electric vacuum pump.

As for the battery.. Well yea, a standard size car battery probably won't cut it. I doubt the engineers would go through all this effort and leave a group 51 battery to take care of it all. There would probably be a smaller starting battery and then a larger capacity accessory battery.


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