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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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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


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