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Every car, whether it has a big V8 engine or an electric motor powering the wheels, is being equipped with fuel saving technologies.
Recall variable-valve timing. Introduced on the Acura NSX, and at one time a revolutionary technology, now practically all cars have some form of VVT. Now more technologies are being introduced as innovations for saving fuel. Let’s take a look at some of the more important and popular features being introduced on new models; many of which will soon be as prevalent as variable valve timing.
Stop/Start technology will more than triple in five years as automakers worldwide seek better fuel efficiency. This function allows a car’s engine to shut off when the vehicle is at rest, for example, at a stop light, and the engine restarts when the gas pedal is pressed.
With the engine turned off for short amounts of time like at stop lights, 5 percent to 12 percent of fuel and polluting emissions in conventional gasoline powered vehicles aresaved.
Stop-start technology will be used in 52 percent to 55 percent of new vehicles in 2016, up 8 percent from 2010, according to Johnson Controls analysts. U.S auto parts suppliers expect nearly 25 million vehicles will be built with the advanced batteries allowing start-stop in 2016, up from 7 million vehicles in 2011, also according to Johnson Controls analysts.
Johnson Controls Inc (also known as JCI) power solutions president, Alex Molinaroli, stated that overall start-stop sales will be 35 million within five years.
Companies like Toyota have been working on this technology since the 1970s and when tested, found a 10 percent improvement in fuel efficiency when the test car drove around Tokyo, thirty five years ago.
JCI also announed on Monday that the compnay would spend $138.5 million to convert its battery plant near Toledo in northwest Ohio. The company expects production to to begin on start-stop batteries in spring 2012.
Already popular in Europe, start-stop technology is about to become more common-place in North America – especially if you drive a Ford.
Common in hybrids, start-stop systems shut off the engine when the vehicle comes to a rest and immediately fires it up again the second the brakes are released so there’s no delay in power deliver when the driver reaches for the gas. Those few seconds when the engine is off add up, especially when you combine all the stop-signs, red lights and stop-and-go traffic. Some automakers claim the resulting fuel economy savings is as much as 10 percent – although it’s certain to vary depending on the type of driving you do.
Ford has announced it will expand its use of start-stop technology into its non-hybrid cars and crossovers, starting in 2012. It’s not year clear, however, which vehicles will be the first to receive the upgrade or if it will be limited to higher-dollar EcoBoost models – which is certainly a possibility.
Until changes are made to the U.S. government’s EPA testing procedures the use of start-stop technology won’t improve fuel economy numbers on paper, but real world improvements will be noted. And with Ford making this push, it will only be time before other automakers follow suit and the EPA tests begin to take start-stop technology into account.
Official release after the jump: