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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 TomZ on 12/5/2008 1:44:05 PM , Rating: 1
If the engine is constantly being started your looking at additional wear. While as a whole the fuel consumption is lowered, the engine requires ...

Do you think that Bosch hasn't considered all these kinds of design challenges? Maybe you could offer your consulting services to them, LOL.

RE: and what about other wear components?
By tastyratz on 12/5/2008 2:42:10 PM , Rating: 2
good point.
Someone invented it, clearly there will be no valid alternative opinions/considerations/arguments. Shame on me for questioning them with my feeble questions.

Did you see anything mentioned anywhere regarding things other than' the starter?
Its not going to cause an engine to wear through these expensive things in 5k miles - but it WILL significantly increase their need. The only way to resolve the oil pressure would be an oil accumulator with an electrically triggered solenoid based on TACH signal presence.

Combine that with the extra money for the starter and battery, plus new replacement schedule - I bet consumers really start seeing diminishing returns.

but who cares whats in a landfill if we save the earth with a little less oil?

RE: and what about other wear components?
By TomZ on 12/5/2008 3:04:39 PM , Rating: 3
My point is that Bosch is a company full of career experts who have worked on these types of automotive systems for decades. Heck, Bosch invented a lot of the technology that is commonly used in vehicles today. So I think they are probably aware of the challenges and how to overcome them.

Actually, if you Google around a bit, a lot of the issues brought up by posters here have already been addressed by Bosch in their design. They're just not reported in this DT article.

RE: and what about other wear components?
By Alexvrb on 12/5/2008 6:25:17 PM , Rating: 1
Yeah except Bosch isn't a car manufacturer. They don't care *that* much about the durability of the engines in question. They made a solution to boost fuel economy, fix its major and obvious issues (super beefy starter, sensors/controller, deep cycle battery that is also suited to constant starts) and leave it up to the manufacturers to figure out the "petty stuff".

Bosch profits from selling all these components. So in a way, as long as the components in the system aren't breaking prematurely, they benefit from selling them initially, and from selling eventual replacements. A lot of parts for German cars are expensive enough to begin with, I can't imagine how much that super starter of theirs is going to cost to replace.

By Darkskypoet on 12/6/2008 9:37:14 AM , Rating: 1
Yeah, and Bosch's largest customers are Car Manufacturers. So Yes, they do care about things like Engine Longevity... Because the car manufacturers that have been extending their power train warranties like crazy (now 100,000 miles / 160, 000 Km for Gm, and others) aren't going to want to induce expensive fleet wide engine problems. Such problems that would make their cars and brand look pretty bad.

And since this isn't a last night invention, either, I am sure they would have process, and we established design practices, that they would supply to the firms in question to minimize engine wear, etc. Bet you the little fiat engine got upgraded, or was a recent design, lately.

By walk2k on 12/5/2008 2:48:44 PM , Rating: 3
Yeah you better show them this blog, they maybe don't even know about engine wear!

ANYway I the problem with wear is that the oil settles in the pan. I wonder if they use some kind of oil pump to keep the oil flowing (and hot) while the engine is stopped in traffic.

RE: and what about other wear components?
By RoberTx on 12/6/2008 4:10:51 AM , Rating: 2
I work in industrial maintenance as an electronics tech and electrician. I'm not a big fan of Bosch electrical products. I'm not a big fan of any German electrical products. Germans can complicate the hell out of a simple concept.

By RoberTx on 12/6/2008 4:13:23 AM , Rating: 2
Indramat is even worse if not the worst.

"Well, there may be a reason why they call them 'Mac' trucks! Windows machines will not be trucks." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

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