The development of start-stop technology is one of the most exciting automotive storylines in the last decade, which is why it’s great news that it will be a $295 option on the all-new 2013 Ford Fusion. Recent studies (like this one) have also shown that American buyers are more willing than ever to experiment with the new technology.
With its ability to shut off the engine when the car stops, and then instantly restart when the driver’s foot releases the brake, start-stop technology is an easy way to quickly reduce emissions and improve MPG. Its simplicity makes you wonder why no one thought of it years earlier.
Start-stop is available in many different new models these days, but Ford has taken start-stop to another level in the Fusion. For starters, start-stop is mostly offered in hybrids. When it comes to non-hybrids, start-stop is almost exclusively available with a manual transmission. Since American buyers overwhelmingly opt for automatic transmissions, Ford developed new technology to implement start-stop.
That meant fitting an electrically-driven pump to the transmission to maintain internal hydraulic pressure while the engine is off. In order to keep the driver from having to shift into neutral to employ start-stop, Ford also develop algorithms that force start-stop to engage before you actually come to a complete stop.
“We had to develop some unique control algorithms for the engine and transmission to overcome this obstacle and still ensure an extremely quick, smooth and quiet restart,” said Ford Auto Start-Stop program manager Birgit Sorgenfrei.
The 2013 Fusion start-stop system also monitors its evaporator core to start the engine sooner and ensure the cabin doesn’t get too hot on warm days, and monitors the power being used by all electrical components to deactivate start-stop if it may overdrain the battery. In all, Ford filed for twenty-five patents relating to start-stop technology in the 2013 Fusion.
Ford estimates that start-stop technology will improve fuel efficiency by up to ten-percent, especially in heavy city driving.
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