By on December 16, 2013

2014 Ford Fiesta

For those who are adverse to hybrids, EVs and the like, yet want to do their part to be green may be in luck: Ford plans to install their Auto Stop-Start fuel-economizing technology in 70 percent of their North American lineup by 2017.

The tech, already found in the 2014 Fiesta with its 45 mpg EcoBoost 1-liter I3, and the 2014 Fusion with its 1.5-liter variant, will allow drivers to add anywhere from 3.5 to 10 percent more fuel economy when faced with stop-and-go traffic.

Aside from helping the consumer save fuel, Ford’s expansion of Auto Stop-Start is due to costs; the tech is easy to implement, and barely makes a dent in the automaker’s bottom line. No word on when other vehicles, including the C-MAX and Expedition, will see their own version of the technology.

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70 Comments on “Seventy Percent of Fords to Receive Stop-Start By 2017...”


  • avatar
    redav

    I am always surprised at the number of people who think this technology is evil.

    • 0 avatar
      LeeK

      Fear of change. I drove a rental 316i in Germany for a week and after a day or two didn’t even give it a second thought. It really is no big deal and you can turn it off with a press of a button.

      • 0 avatar
        Kenmore

        “you can turn it off with a press of a button.”

        Will this hold true for future instances of start-stop or will it be mandated always-on?

        • 0 avatar
          LeeK

          The currently is no regulatory requirement that it be non-defeatable so it’s up to the manufacturer. All of them so far allow for override of this feature, but it does reset every time the car is turned off. A minor annoyance to be sure, but having lived with it for a week in a 316i and another time with a 116i, one with a manual transmission and one with an automatic, I didn’t feel compelled to turn it off. Now, if I was in South Florida during a sweltering summer day and the car turned off at every stop light only leaving the fan to cool the car, then I might complain. But I’m pretty sure there is programming in the system that disables the start/stop system if the external temperature is above 80F and the air conditioner is on.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            Is there a switch to turn it off on the current Fords that have it?

            I certainly could see the EPA making a rule that they can’t advertise the higher MPG if it can be turned off.

    • 0 avatar
      EquipmentJunkie

      I drove a BMW 116i in Germany with this feature and it was disconcerting for the first hour. After that, you get used to it and adapt pretty quickly. The start/stop feature didn’t even create a problem for us when we got rear-ended while in stopped traffic in Austria.

      • 0 avatar
        Chicago Dude

        Part of the problem is that the BMW system is quite rough. You don’t expect to feel that vibration in such an expensive car. Mercedes is far smoother with their system, and both Toyota and Ford do a great job with it in their latest hybrid vehicles, so you would expect that in the non-hybrid vehicles it is also smooth.

        • 0 avatar
          NMGOM

          Chicago Dude – –

          My experience exactly. When i took a new 328i for a test drive this past Spring, the person sponsoring the “Susan B. Komen Drive For Cancer” told me to make sure to NOT drive in “ECo-Pro” mode. Of course, that mode is exactly what I did drive it in. And was horrified at the crude vibration-filled behavior of that $38K car! Compared to my 2006 325i, this new 4-cylinder turbo with stop/start is a match made in Hell.

          ——————-

    • 0 avatar
      patman

      I don’t know about evil but I’d say it’s of marginal benefit to most drivers. Modern engines just don’t use much fuel when idling so unless you spend a significant amount of time idling, like hours out of every tank of gas, you’re not going to see much of a gain. People who spend hours in gridlock may appreciate it but people with normal commutes who might hit a couple of stoplights on the way home will barely notice an improvement, if any.

      On the other hand, there’s not much to it to implement it and might let them game the mileage tests just that little bit extra so there’s no stopping it.

      • 0 avatar
        James2

        “On the other hand, there’s not much to it to implement it and might let them game the mileage tests just that little bit extra so there’s no stopping it.”

        I recall reading some articles where Mazda complained that start-stop didn’t do much for the MPG numbers because the testing didn’t really accommodate it.

    • 0 avatar
      redliner

      Fear of out of warranty repairs too. As others have said, not all systems are created equal, and some are quite rough.

    • 0 avatar
      Prado

      Fear… of failure that the car wont restart at a very busy intersection or in the middle of a busy freeway. I would require a better charge monitoring system to have faith that the car will start again.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I think that the product-planners at Ford ought to just do away with the base 2.5-liter in the Fusion, if they haven’t already. I drove one. And it was so miserable that I doubt even fleets companies would choose it that often. The 1.6-liter turbo, however, was excellent, and I bet its new 1.5-liter replacement is, too…

    • 0 avatar
      TTACFanatic

      I haven’t driven either but the 1.6’s (and possibly 1.5’s) habit of catching fire makes me want to avoid small Ford turbos altogether.

      • 0 avatar

        a “habit” requires this to be a fairly common issue. While once is not good, it’s not like we commonly see Fords on fire on the side of the road. The 1.6T is found in Fusions and Escapes.

        • 0 avatar
          TTACFanatic

          Weren’t there 3 recalls related to engine fires for the Escape alone? The first one told owners to stop driving immediately and tow the car to the dealership for repair.

          And the 1.6T is effectively (key word) only in the Escape now since the only way to get it in the Fusion is by getting an SE manual.

  • avatar
    krayzie

    I know someone with a Mk.6 Golf R that comes with Start-Stop technology. Couple of months in with less than 10,000km it kept failing on him at the lights (as in he had to restart the car a couple of times to get it going again). The stealer put in a new starter and scrubbed the throttle body under warranty lol!

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      That sounds like every other part under the hood of a Volkswagen.

      The Jetta I owned had 3 or 4 parts valued at >$3k under the hood that were common to have fail, and at MAFs and other sensors like candy.

      I wouldn’t use VW to assess the reliability of any automotive technology…

  • avatar
    Toshi

    10% gain sounds like pure whimsy, even if qualified by “up to.”

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      Toshi – – –

      I have never heard any other manufacturer EVER claiming a 10% savings, even with the “up to” qualifier. What I have read is anywhere from a 2% to a 4% savings, which is peanuts compared to the cost and complexity of adding a heavy-duty starting motor and oversized battery to accommodate this nightmare.

      What would have been a better solution for ordinary driving is to have the stopped car go into ultra-lean mode at idle, such that fuel consumption is VERY low, — for the duration of common traffic lights, which are probably the most typical intended need. Then let’s see how much that saves, remembering that no added hardware would be involved.

      ——————-

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    The Cmax being a Hybrid has auto stop start already.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Mine sure didn’t Stop-Start this morning while the hybrid system was warming up.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Yeah none of the systems will stop until the engine has reached a minimum operating temp.

        Really cold weather will also mean that it may not stay off for the entire duration of a longer stop if the engine has just reached that min operating temp and the climate control system is calling for a lot of heat.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          I wish the regular hybrid could be plugged in to keep the battery system warm. Once the weather drops to below freezing consistently, my C-Max loses around four MPG on my commute. I don’t get into EV mode until I’m off the freeway, instead of being in EV mode before I get on the freeway.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            Although the owner’s manual says that the dash indicator represents when the hybrid system is up to temp to be able to enter EV mode the reality is that it is all about the engine temp.

            If the hybrid battery was too cold to use then the car wouldn’t start as that is one of it’s purposes.

            If you were to install a block heater your car would enter EV mode much sooner.

            It is something I’ve considered because our 2010 Fusion Hybrid goes from a 40~41 mpg average in the summer to 36~37 MPG in the winter.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I will think about that. I park my cars in a garage and have plenty of electrical outlets. I go from 43 MPG to 39 MPG. Thanks for the idea, I’ll check prices.

    • 0 avatar
      z9

      Assuming your engine is warmed up, what’s really nice about the C-Max that after you come to a stop and it turns off the engine, it will use EV mode to get you going again and then kick in the engine. This is much better than a pure start-stop feature on a non-hybrid. It’s very effective for helping you relax in urban driving situations. No vibrations at idle, and no coarseness on launch.

      The loud engine idle at the stoplight. A vestige of a less civilized era?

  • avatar
    Samuel Morse

    Wonder why many automakers are delaying stop-start launching in the US market. In Europe almost every single car being sold today has already that feature…although I particularly find it somewhat annoying. In fact I use to drive most of the time with the stop-start off, unless I drive in very heavy traffic.

    • 0 avatar
      Ion

      Because the EPA test numbers see no gain due to start-stop.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Yes they do, take a look at fueleconomy.gov and you’ll see that they break out cars that have optional start/stop technology and they are rated 1 MPG better in the city and sometimes on the hwy test too than the same engine and trans combo w/o the optional start/stop technology. The reality of course is that due to rounding the vehicle does not need to get a full 1 MPG better to get a 1 MPG higher rating.

  • avatar
    Dan

    One of the features of my Garmin is a display of time moving and time stopped. In the eternally jammed megapolis I’ve found the breakdown is fairly consistent at about 75/25 moving/stopped.

    Idling a warmed up, small displacement car is burning in the order of 0.15-0.20 gallons per hour.

    So driving 10 hours per week, the best case savings would be in the order of 20-26 gallons per year. In the real world this wouldn’t be achieved due to A/C use, cold engine time, etc.

    But even pretending that it would that’s still just 80 bucks a year.

    How much do the heavier duty starter, battery, alternator cost to build in the first place? How much to replace out of warranty later? If you don’t DIY then 80 bucks won’t even get it diagnosed.

    In a commuter car this just doesn’t add up.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      I agree, it doesn’t add up. But the Great White Fathers obviously must think that it does.

      If anyone has ever been part of the Great Gridlock during peak traffic hours on Southern California roads, they would know that they would be stop/start every 20 feet with about 45 seconds between movement, sometimes for miles at a time.

      Hopefully, there will still be vehicles available that do not have this stop/start feature in the future.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      All those parts? Don’t worry, that’s the second owner’s problem!

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    So my guess is whatever is saved in fuel will be completely dwarfed by the cost of parts and repairs going through more starters, alternators, and batteries.

    And I could see all sorts of other issues with things like the AC (is the compressor electrically driven?), the car overheating (is the water pump electric?), headgaskets, etc. I would think stop and go driving with a car constantly turning on and off with the AC running would mean it would be very easy to get it to overheat.

    I’m all for gas-saving technology, but no at the expense of longevity and reliability, especially when you’re talking about peanuts. If Ford can do it without all these problems, great, but I doubt it.

    My guess is the average consumer saves $1-$2 a month in gas with this technology, cars simply don’t burn up that much gas while idling without any load.

    A single ride in a tow truck when the car doesn’t restart at an intersection and causes a traffic jam will be more than whatever savings were created from this technology.

    • 0 avatar
      jz78817

      “So my guess is whatever is saved in fuel will be completely dwarfed by the cost of parts and repairs going through more starters, alternators, and batteries.”

      you’re assuming that engineers are so incompetent that they don’t realize a starter which gets much more use will have to be more robust and durable.

      I’d give them a *little* more credit than that.

      “And I could see all sorts of other issues with things like the AC (is the compressor electrically driven?),”

      auto stop/start is for short term use where stoppage of the compressor
      won’t cause an unacceptable loss in cabin cooling. The evaporator stays cold for a bit; further, the compressor doesn’t run continuously during normal operation anyway.

      “the car overheating (is the water pump electric?),”

      Eh? Ain’t a problem for hybrids. Besides, does the engine in your car overheat every time you turn it off? Didn’t think so. Water has an incredibly high specific heat capacity and acts as a thermal “buffer,” so to speak.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        The starter, alternator, battery, and other ancillaries are upgraded for stop-start duty.That isn’t a benefit when you’re accelerating, maintaining speed, decelerating or changing direction. Nor is it when you’re paying for the car. Accepting this to save a couple bucks a month on fuel is ignorant. The bureacrats forcing this on the market should be drawn and quartered.

        • 0 avatar
          J.Emerson

          Upgraded, more durable parts aren’t a benefit to car buyers? I learn something new every day.

          • 0 avatar
            Dan

            There’s no reason to believe that those parts will be specified for a longer life.

          • 0 avatar
            jz78817

            “There’s no reason to believe that those parts will be specified for a longer life.”

            O RLY? And why not?

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            Who said anything about upgraded durability? They are upgraded for the harder job they must perform. That means more mass, more friction, and more expense to achieve equal durability, but thanks for making my ignorance point.

            Stop-start proliferates because of EU bureaucrats. I suspect the EPA is incorporating a homologation component to encourage it too.

        • 0 avatar
          jz78817

          What bureaucrats? Stop/start has no bearing on EPA or CAFE mileage. It’s customer defeatable so it can’t be used for the tests.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            That is not what shows up on fueleconomy.gov as cars there with stop/start get 1 MPG better than the same car with the same engine but w/o stop/start. I don’t believe that it is defeatable on those cars.

      • 0 avatar
        jacob_coulter

        So automakers knew how to make these parts that last forever, they’ve just been keeping them away from us until now? Sorry, I don’t buy it.

        Things like starters and alternators just wear out, and if they are “super duper long lasting” I’m guessing those increased costs easily wipe out any fuel economy savings. When they do wear out, how much are these parts going to cost to replace?

        Cars are becoming disposable in order to eeke out miniscule gains in fuel economy.

        • 0 avatar
          jz78817

          “So automakers knew how to make these parts that last forever, they’ve just been keeping them away from us until now? Sorry, I don’t buy it.”

          That’s not what I said and you damn well know it.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          The main wear item in a starter is the brushes and they are dirt cheap so making a longer brush so it has a longer life will add an insignificant amount to the cost of the starter.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      “So my guess is whatever is saved in fuel will be completely dwarfed by the cost of parts and repairs going through more starters, alternators, and batteries. ”

      Yet the Prius is one of the most reliable and durable cars ever made.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        But the Prius doesn’t have a starter or alternator and the engine is started by the hybrid battery not the 12v battery. However a start stop system won’t decrease the life of the alternator or battery on a regular car. A hot engine takes only a fraction of the energy to start compared to a cold engine so the draw on the battery will be minimal and the alternator can replenish that in a matter of seconds. In fact it may extend the life of the alternator because the wear parts of the alternator are the brushes and bearings and with the alternator not spinning the wear on them will be reduced. An alternator does not wear more because it is charging at a higher rate.

        • 0 avatar
          jacob_coulter

          Have you ever felt an alternator after putting in a dead battery?

          I don’t recommend it, but it gets extremely hot and can burn it out.

          A car sitting with the AC on and electric cooling fans, cabin fans, head lights, stereo system, etc takes a toll on a battery when it’s not being charged.

          • 0 avatar
            WheelMcCoy

            >>A car sitting with the AC on and electric cooling fans, cabin fans, head lights, stereo system, etc takes a toll on a battery when it’s not being charged.

            Systems with stop-start tech will have capacitors which store energy for such purposes. Mazda’s i-ELoop does this. Ford must have some kind of regenerative system planned as well.

            Start-stop tech won’t be implemented without supporting systems or beefed up hardware.

          • 0 avatar
            jacob_coulter

            But that’s sort of my point.

            Now we’re talking about a new high powered capacitor system to accomodate this, along with a starter that needs to have about 100x the life span of a normal starter, etc. Ever priced a regular OEM starter from a dealership? What do you think these new ones will cost when it comes time to replace? What are these capacitors going to cost if/when they fail?

            All so the owner can save how much on gas?

            I’m all for energy efficiency, it’s not like I want to pay more for my gas bill. But if I’m looking at a service nightmare for negligible gains, I’d prefer to pass.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            The system won’t let the battery get that low.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I’ve read gen 1 and gen 2 Prius were overbuilt. I can’t confirm but I believe it. Would a bean-counted Prius perform the same?

      • 0 avatar
        jacob_coulter

        It’s also a Toyota, not Ford, and a Prius is substantially more expensive than say a Fiesta (around $10,000) Which was my point.

        And the Prius has a completely different system for starts and stops.

    • 0 avatar
      Chicago Dude

      “I’m all for gas-saving technology, but no at the expense of longevity and reliability, especially when you’re talking about peanuts. If Ford can do it without all these problems, great, but I doubt it.”

      What do you mean by “if”? This technology has been in their hybrid systems since the beginning. Over the past decade, Ford and Toyota have sold millions of cars with stop/start. Have you heard of any problems yet?

      TTAC had an article a year or two ago which estimated the cost at less than $300. If Ford is going to roll it out to all their cars, the price must have dropped even lower.

      This is what has so many people baffled. It’s a fuel-saving technology that actually HAS a reasonable payback period and HAS proven reliable. Yet so many people are against it.

      • 0 avatar
        jz78817

        in fairness, the hybrids use the electric drive motor in the transaxle to spin up the ICE. Stop/Start systems crank the engine over with the starter.

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          >> Stop/Start systems crank the engine over with the starter.

          Not true with every system. Mazda has an interesting method:

          From Car & Driver…

          “Mazda instead stops one of the cylinders at an advantageous point near the top of its stroke and fires that cylinder to get the engine restarted once the driver steps off the brake.”

          http://www.caranddriver.com/news/mazdas-efficiency-strategy-to-include-stop-start-energy-regeneration-diesel-and-more-car-news

  • avatar
    Freddie

    Several comments about stop-start being widely used in Europe…

    With a stick shift? How would that work?

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      “On a manual transmission vehicle, stop-start is activated as follows: Stop car & depress clutch – move gear lever to neutral – release clutch – then the engine stops. The engine won’t stop if the car is moving, even if the aforementioned steps are followed. The engine restarts when the clutch is depressed prior to selecting a gear to move the car.”

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        IIRC the first gen Civic hybrid with a manual transmission operated this way.

        Now there’s a unicorn for you car-hipster OCD types.

      • 0 avatar
        WheelMcCoy

        >> The engine restarts when the clutch is depressed prior to selecting a gear to move the car.”

        This might actually encourage more people to try stick. If you accidentally stall, just engage the clutch and the engine starts up again.

        Add a hill hold feature and automatic downshift rev-matching, and you essentially have a manual with training wheels.

  • avatar
    Spike_in_Brisbane

    Can I still park under a tree, idling to run the air conditioner while I wait for my wife?

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      That is one of the things I love about our Fusion Hybrid. Thanks to the electric AC compressor I can sit there running the AC for a fairly long time w/o the engine running. When the battery gets low enough it starts the engine up, recharges the battery to a point and shuts back off. I’d say it runs about 1 min for 4~6 min of off time depending on the temp and if I’m actually able to park in the shade or not.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    No thanks, I’d rather save gas by not running the air whenever possible.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      If you are rolling down the windows while driving to keep the AC off to save gas you are doing it wrong. With the aerodynamics of modern cars and the efficient modern AC compressor unless you are driving fairly slow then the windows down uses more fuel than running the AC. Now if you are stopped and waiting then rolling down the windows certainly uses much less fuel than running the AC.

      • 0 avatar
        NMGOM

        Scoutdude – – –

        “With the aerodynamics of modern cars and the efficient modern AC compressor unless you are driving fairly slow then the windows down uses more fuel than running the AC.”

        Yes. However, my understanding is that the “switch-over point” is about 60 mph, — but that was about 10 years ago.

        ——————

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          Of course it will depend on the particular vehicle but it is much lower today, I’d guess in the 35 +/- MPH range for most modern cars.

          I can’t find it right now but I read a test on a 00’s (IIRC) Suburban and they found the break even point somewhere in the mid 40’s. I’d say that is pretty much the worst case scenario. They have brick like aerodynamics so opening the windows make for a smaller change in aerodynamics than on a more aerodynamic vehicle and the huge volume and glass area mean that the compressor will be working harder than in a smaller car.

  • avatar
    Crosley

    These things are going to be stalled out clogging up intersections, bank on it. They’ve tried this tech before and it was quickly scrapped. And hybrids work completely different.

    I guarantee you honest technicians will be telling people to turn it off once it gets outside the warranty.

    All the issues this is going to cause, for a 3.5% gain in city driving? That’s around 1 mpg.

    But for the crowd that leases their cars, which is becoming most auto customers, I guess they could care less.

  • avatar
    NMGOM

    “Seventy Percent of Fords to Receive Stop-Start By 2017″

    Well, I guess that means that 70% of Ford drivers will disable Automatic Stop/Start (ASS), about 70% of the time. That will result in a 70% saving on fuel consumption waiting for a traffic light, and 770% greater cost of repairs on the engine/starter/battery system after seven years of operation…..(^_^)…

    —————


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