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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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By omnicronx on 12/5/2008 12:35:01 PM , Rating: 2
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
In almost all cars, the engine needs to be on for the air conditioner to work... otherwise you are just blowing air. In most cases it is the compressor in a car is driven directly from the engine, usually from a belt. While some cars do use an electric motor for this, most don't.(and even if they are electric, most designs don't draw directly from the battery, but still require extra draw from the alternator, which obviously requires the engine to be on.)

RE: ummmmm
By JonnyDough on 12/5/2008 4:05:51 PM , Rating: 2
I can give up a tiny bit of comfort to save the environment and lower my travel costs. They're called WINDOWS. Besides, didn't you hear? The earth is experiencing global cooling!

In all seriousness though, having HEAT in the winter is far more important than having air conditioning in the summer. I would imagine that there is a solution to both the heating and cooling problems.

RE: ummmmm
By JonnyDough on 12/5/2008 4:10:42 PM , Rating: 2
*before anyone argues it with "but I live in Death Valley and I could DIE!" crap -

Allow me to just reiterate that you can DRINK WATER and OPEN WINDOWS in hot weather, but in cold weather you can't really wear a fresh roadkill to stay warm. I mean, you could but eventually the roadkill freezes too.

Another idea is to snuggle up bare with your mother on the way to her gyno appointment. Somehow though, I would imagine many of us would prefer to pass on that one. Except for Bob. Bob, you're just sick.

RE: ummmmm
By omnicronx on 12/5/2008 4:25:45 PM , Rating: 2
My point is air conditioning should have no effect on this system in terms of battery use when the engine is off.

RE: ummmmm
By wookie1 on 12/5/2008 6:14:48 PM , Rating: 2
Good for you. If I wanted to sweat through the summer I never would've sold my '63 Ford F-100 (seriously, I really liked it). On a newer car, I do not see why I should sweat out a summer. Forget about death valley, in the Phoenix area we hit 115-120F.

How does this car "save the environment"? It will presumably have a bit more hydrocarbons and CO since it is starting up so often. I think that they're only focusing on CO2 when they mention reduced emissions. CO2 isn't pollution, just plant food.

RE: ummmmm
By Spuke on 12/5/2008 6:54:47 PM , Rating: 1
I seriously doubt the car will shut off with the A/C on. All it takes is for some old person to die at a traffic light from heat exhaustion or stroke and the automakers (and Bosch) will be sued into oblivion. More than likely it will only shut off when no accessories are running.

RE: ummmmm
By JonnyDough on 12/6/2008 7:32:11 PM , Rating: 1
Yes, because old people venturing out in the cold in a vehicle they chose to purchase is the direct fault of automakers for not installing a heater in the car. I'm sure that would hold up in court. It's also the fault of my home builder that my cat dies in a house fire because he didn't build foresee the fire enough to me a fire-proof cat room. Darn him for not taking the precaution. I should sue him.

Then there's that time I got in a car accident and there were no pillows along the road...the road commission is sooo gonna burn for that one.

RE: ummmmm
By Spuke on 12/8/2008 4:03:31 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sure that would hold up in court.
I guess you don't get out much. Dumber stuff than what I suggested happens in the courts everyday.

RE: ummmmm
By bigboxes on 12/6/2008 12:09:18 AM , Rating: 2
JonnyDough obviously doesn't live in Texas. Up north the heater is obviously more important, but here in Texas I could live without the heat, but not the A/C.

RE: ummmmm
By JonnyDough on 12/6/2008 7:36:58 PM , Rating: 2
The fact is that we could both live without a heater/AC.

It's a matter of finding alternative solutions. While these solutions may not be ideal or as practical, they are there. I can wrap up in a warm blanket and drive slower. You could ride a motorcycle or drive a convertible maybe. If your car breaks down the AC isn't going to save you from heat stroke anyway. Temperate climates like CA or Tennessee are more ideal for living than the extreme temps of the north and south. Moving is also an alternative solution. But if we all live in these ideal climates, we'll be stacked on top of each other like Hong Kong family apartments. Which is why I often think that there are already too many people.

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