• Sep 19th 2010 at 9:31AM
  • 85
At a stop light. In the drive-thru. In your driveway. Stop-start technology turns off the engine whenever the vehicle is on and the driver's foot is on the brake. The merits of the technology are hard to ignore; fuel economy savings as high as 15 percent. But while stop-start has been widely adopted in Europe, here in the U.S. the only non-hybrid vehicle to feature the tech is the Porsche Panamera.

Part of the reason stop-start hasn't taken off in the States is that many Environmental Protection Agency tests don't take stops into account during testing. And without gaining precious miles per gallon in EPA fuel economy testing, many customers will have a problem footing the bill for the the technology's otherwise reasonable $500 price tag. But as testing methods change and fuel economy standards become more stringent, stop-start is coming closer to making its way into your next vehicle. General Motors, Ford and Chrysler are among the automakers looking to incorporate the technology in U.S.-market vehicles by or before 2014.

Stop-start is relatively seamless in operation and imperceptible to most users. When you begin deceleration or come to a stop, the engine cuts off. When you lift your foot off the pedal, the engine fires back up. The upside is considerably improved fuel economy in city driving. There isn't much downside other than the change we Americans tend not to embrace. We're pretty sure we're ready for start-stop. Are you? Take the poll below to let us know where you stand.

Are you ready for stop-start engine tech?
Yes, absolutely 9657 (66.9%)
No, definitely not 3104 (21.5%)
Don't know 1677 (11.6%)

[Source: The Detroit News]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      It's great tech, but for places that get extreme winters it's just not viable. If the engine turns off there is no heat and the engine cools down. When it's -30, -40F outside that's not really an option.

      Or like a few others have stated, places like the southern states turning off the AC also isn't much of an option for a lot of people.

      The tech is great, but it has to come with a switch to disable it for when you absolutely have to keep your car running at stop lights. And for those who don't think those conditions exist, you should probably travel a little more.
      • 4 Years Ago
      As of this month, they're beginning to produce the 2011 M3 V8 with Automatic Start/Stop, which can be switched off.

      Does that answer 80% of the comments here?
      • 4 Years Ago
      I have this on my BMW 3 Series Coupe.

      It will only shut off the engine under certain conditions:

      1) The car is in neutral and clutch disengaged.
      2) The car is warm
      3) you have been driving > 5mph and not been in reverse.

      When the stop mode is active (i.e. sat at the lights) and the car starts to cool down it automatically starts the car back up, the startup time is VERY fast, i.e. after a few times you don't notice it.

      It does switch off things like aircon and power steering.

      • 4 Years Ago
      My only question is how does the power steering and brakes continue to work with the engine shut off 0_0

      • 4 Years Ago
      No thanks. Let me control when the engine is off and on. Plus all that starting and stopping is bound to wear something out faster than normal.
      • 4 Years Ago
      If the $500 is going into the starter motor, which I'd hope so, I still doubt it will extend the life of it. Starting and shutting off a car repetitively isn't good for any engine, no matter how modern, unless it's a hybrid with a dedicated generator/motor attatched to the crankshaft itself.

      It's not about not embracing change, which is usually bad anyway, it's about protecting the longetivity of our cars.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Now consider, does 15%(on a day when you're so lucky you find a chunk of gold bullion in your desk) fuel economy warrant the extra $500 on the purchase price, plus the extra cost every time you have to have the more expensive starter replaced?

        Now you're combining your alternator AND starter repairs into one expensive unit, and we've all had our alternators replaced at some point.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Generally that's how you do stop start. You replace the alternator and starter with one unit, which is bigger and much more durable, and can start the engine all day long for years.

        I don't know why people don't think the engineers have this figured out.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Change is always a good thing, otherwise we'd still be living in the dark ages!

        This tech has existrd in Europe for many years now and nobody I know with stopstart has had any problems. Plus, in Europe, we do way more stopstart driving than in the US!

      • 4 Years Ago
      It's been here before. GM's mild hybrid system. And with the 23 stops in the EPA city test cycle, it will reflect in the numbers. Look at the Aura/Malibu 4-cylinder vs. the mild hybrid version; 22 city vs. 26 city.

      The reason why ... profits, and considering the state of American drivers, manufacturers are hesitant until folks are more understanding of the technology. Can you imagine the number of calls from folks stopped at a red light - MY CAR SHUT OFF AND NOW I'M SCARED!
      • 4 Years Ago
      depends what "relatively seamless" means. i'm ready to try it, but if its annoying i'd rather just turn the key off at traffic lights
      • 4 Years Ago
      Is it not mileading to show a Engine stop/start switch and discuss on Stop-start technology. Both are different. A few replies are on the passive keyless entry and push button start whereas the article discusses stop-start feature which stops the engine when idling ...
      • 4 Years Ago
      This article isn't entirely accurate. The new Porsche Cayanne also has Start/Stop technology. Im not 100% positive if it comes stock but I know that it is available.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Start-stop sucks. I don't want any delay pulling away from a light. And systems on automatic transmissions (including dual-clutch!) create a delay moving away from a light.

      On top of that you lose your A/C and seat heaters. Heck, in stop and go traffic you can lose a lot of your regular heating too.

      Give me a mild hybrid at least, to get the car moving while the engine starts up.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Where's the "only if it works with a stick" option?
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