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Fiat 500 at CES 2008  (Source: DailyTech/Brandon Hill)
Bosch Start-Stop system reduces fuel consumption and emissions by 8%

Reducing emissions and improving fuel economy is a huge area of investment for many carmakers. Most people equate this type of technology with hybrid or electric vehicles, but Bosch has a system that helps improve fuel economy and reduce emissions on diesel and gasoline motors as well.

The system is called the Bosch Stop-Start System. Bosch and Fiat announced recently that the Fiat 500 would use the systems and Bosch went so far as to claim that 50% of European vehicles would have the Stop-Start system by 2012.

Bosch has been making the system since 2007 and reports it has already delivered 500,000 of the special starters to BMW and Mini. In the Fiat 500, Bosch says the Stop-Start system would be available with the Dualogic automated manual transmission and the 1.2-liter engine. Fiat does say it plans to install the system on other vehicles as early as 2009.

The Fiat 500 will also use a Bosch engine control unit including Bosch software that analyzes the sensor data to start and stop the engine of the vehicle. Stefan Asenkerschbaumer, president of Bosch Starter Motors and Generators division said, "In 2008, roughly five percent of all new vehicles in Europe are equipped with a start/stop system. By 2012, we estimate this will be every second newly registered vehicle—most of them with Bosch technology."

The Bosch Stop-Start system works by turning the motor of the vehicle off when the vehicle is stationary. An example is if a driver pulled up to a stop light, the Stop-Start system would turn the motor off while at rest. When the driver put a foot on the clutch pedal to put the car back in gear, the engine would start back up.

Bosch says that the system reduces fuel consumption and CO2 emissions in the urban component of the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) by up to 8%. To ensure that the starter lasts with the significantly increased stop/start cycles, critical components of the special starter have been strengthened. Bosch says it increased the service life of starters used in the Stop-Start system compared to a normal starter. The bearings in the new starter were strengthened, the commutator is strengthened, and the planetary gear was improved as well.

The system has other components including control software, a battery sensor, crankshaft sensor, and sensors at the pedals. A high-efficiency alternator and a deep-cycle electric battery are part of the system.

A few specifics on the system remain unclear. For instance, presumably the system won’t function if the driver doesn't place the vehicle in neutral. Bosch isn't specific on that aspect of the system. Another concern is how long the vehicle will be able to remain with the engine cut off in high power usage scenarios like summer with the air conditioner running or in winter with the heater on.

Bosch doesn’t specify if the system would automatically restart the vehicle if it were still stationary if the battery started to get too low on power. Presumably, the system would restart so the driver won’t be left with a dead battery.

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RE: and what about other wear components?
By trisct on 12/5/2008 11:33:12 AM , Rating: 2
Look at the type of car they are targeting - 1.2 liter engine subcompact cars. Those engines spin up in less than a second anyway if they're warm. The Bosch system will work similarly to the stop-start on something like a Toyota Prius, it will have access to battery voltage and engine temperature sensors to avoid low temperature starts and low battery voltage. Note also that they are selling this along with their engine controller system, which already has all that info.

As far as people wanting to accelerate off the line they usually don't wait until the light turns green to depress the clutch and put the car in gear, I would think.

RE: and what about other wear components?
By Souka on 12/5/08, Rating: -1
By 306maxi on 12/5/2008 12:39:16 PM , Rating: 5
Funny thing is when I am in gear at the lights in my car and I take my foot of the clutch my car goes forward too.....

Ultimately the person driving the car is responsible for what it does and the car reacts no differently in this way than a normal car with a manual transmission.

RE: and what about other wear components?
By bigboxes on 12/6/2008 12:03:51 AM , Rating: 2
Who puts their car in neutral at a light? I have an automatic, but in the past when I drove a manual I always left the clutch in and shifted into first after stopping.

RE: and what about other wear components?
By EricMartello on 12/6/2008 12:51:12 AM , Rating: 5
Why would you sit at a red light with your foot on the clutch, putting wear on the throw-out bearing? Leave it in neutral until the light is about to turn green - cleverly gauged by glancing at the perpendicular lights and waiting for them to turn yellow.

By feraltoad on 12/6/2008 9:53:32 PM , Rating: 3
I just start reading at red lights until people start honking and cheering for me to go. They're always so enthusiastic.

By Davelo on 12/7/2008 12:38:30 AM , Rating: 2
Yep. In Germany the light turns yellow just before turning green to tell drivers to put the car back in gear and get ready to go.

By jRaskell on 12/9/2008 12:34:48 PM , Rating: 3
I've driven several hundred thousands miles over the years with a number of vehicles I've owned, and never had a throw-bearing failure. I've also never talked to anybody who has personally experienced a throw-out bearing failure in their vehicle either.

The truth is, cycling any sort of metal spring is as fatiguing, if not moreso than just leaving it compressed for the brief periods of time we're talking about here.

Do you also heavily utilize engine braking in an effort to reduce wear on your brake system?

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