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The 2013 Chevrolet Malibu ECO comes with a stop-start s... The 2013 Chevrolet Malibu ECO comes with a stop-start system (GM).
As I drove the new, redesigned 2012 BMW 335, I came to the place where I needed to make a left turn on a Monterey, CA road. I stopped the sport sedan to wait for oncoming traffic to pass. The engine cut out with a gentle rumble.

A problem? Out of gas? No. It was just the stop-start system kicking in, shutting down the engine and thus gas consumption. When traffic cleared, I stepped on the gas pedal, and the BMW responded immediately with perhaps just a hair of a delay, compared with a Bimmer without the system.

BMW has made the system standard in the new 3, and it will become standard on all BMWs just as it is becoming standard on an increasing number of new models.

The new 2012 Chevy Malibu ECO also sports stop-start. The system works a bit differently than BMW's. I had to strain at stop-lights and left-turn stops to even know that the engine was off. The transition from revving to stop and then to start was so invisible and quiet that I had to double check that the Malibu ECO actually had the system on-board.

The electric motor automatic stop-start system on-board the Malibu ECO, and other vehicles with a similar system, also cuts fuel to the engine entirely upon deceleration for more gas savings.

The technology has been wide spread in gas-electric hybrids but has now moved over to conventional vehicles to improve mileage and lower emissions by shutting off the engine when it's not being used. Instead, the car's systems, such as stereo, heater or air conditioner, gauges, lights and windshield wipers run directly from the battery, while the engine is off.

For some traditionalists, the system will be disconcerting. "There is no question that there are drivers and car buyers who are going to have to be walked through it--how it works and why it is on their car," says Rebecca Lindland, chief of auto industry analysis at IHS Global Insight. Indeed, Chevy and Kia dealers, to name two, have been put through extra training to make test-drives with prospective customers go smoothly for people to whom the technology is brand new.

Indeed, not all stop-start systems are alike. Kia Motors intended to put the system in its 2012 Kia Rio and Kia Soul, but has delayed equipping those cars with the fuel saving tech because journalists reviewing the vehicles criticized Kia's systems for being too rough when shutting down and re-starting. BMW is receiving criticism as well.

Over the next ten to fifteen years, the vast majority of new cars and trucks will adopt the system.

Johnson Controls, a leading supplier of the systems to automakers, says that the number of vehicles equipped with stop-start technology will at least triple within the next five years. Globally, Johnson Controls figures, stop-start tech will be standard in 52 to 55 percent of vehicles built in 2016, up from eight percent in 2010. The automotive supplier forecasts that nearly 25 million vehicles built in 2016 will come with an idle-stop system, up from seven million vehicles in 2011.

How much fuel does it save? Shutting down the engine while idling can reduce fuel consumption and emissions by up to 12 percent in conventional gasoline-powered vehicles. Secondly, in the drive to improve fuel efficiency, stop-start technology has an edge in costs over some of the more advanced fuel-saving systems. It's estimated that idle-stop costs an automaker no more than $1,500 to install, versus $5,900 for an advanced "clean" diesel engine and $6,000 for a full hybrid system.

View Gallery: These Cars Are Conking Out At Red Lights


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  • 470 Comments
      ms75c
      • 3 Years Ago
      wonderful, just wonderful. I'm surprised these "Lords of Automotive Wisdom", allow quick acceleration at all. No thanks....I'll keep my 94' FULL SIZED truck and my 75" FULL SIZED Olds... Tax payor funded GM, can keep it's A.I. munchkin mobiles.
      Mitch
      • 3 Years Ago
      Government Motors is at it again!.......My father worked for Chevrolet for over 44 years before retiring in 1991. When the feds bought GM, he told us that GM's days are now numbered.
        mrkoe
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Mitch
        So that is why GM posted it's biggest profits in it's history and toppled Toyota to be come number one again?.... You should check your facts.
          • 3 Years Ago
          @mrkoe
          mrkoe Because GM didn't pay back the overwhelming loans it received. It paid back the smaller one not the big one. In addition the have a no tax deal for 10 years. Just smoke and mirrors on that profit thing..
          davidl7082
          • 3 Years Ago
          @mrkoe
          Yes, record profits because the government isn't making GM pay income taxes for the next 100 years. The only way this dinosaur will stay in business. If it wasn't for fleet sales to the government they would be in bankruptcy.
      manitouharbor
      • 3 Years Ago
      The more important thing here is that is just one more thing the government does without public input. Whether it is the water level in washing machines, light bulbs, the style of cars, the food we eat. More and more evidence of politically powerful and techinically incompetent people making decisions in areas they know nothing about and they do it in the dark of night.
        tony
        • 3 Years Ago
        @manitouharbor
        Probably cause all the good bulbs have been banned. As a USA tax payer, I AUTHORIZE myself to do whatever I deem fit.
      wongtpa
      • 3 Years Ago
      Dumb, dumb!!! I am tired of wackos telling me what and how I live my life! All because of Obama!
        Miss Alex!
        • 3 Years Ago
        @wongtpa
        Really? Obama? You're scary...
        catsmeow89
        • 3 Years Ago
        @wongtpa
        Oh blow it out your ass. Improving gas mileage has been on the front burner since Richard Nixon was in office over 40 years ago.
        accsport
        • 3 Years Ago
        @wongtpa
        You are quite right. I don't want more junk mucking up my car. That system offers some serious safety issues such as you get a flat tire in Wisconsin in the winter and it is -20F when you pull over and stop the engine quits and so does the heat as you freeze to death.
        gkonig2
        • 3 Years Ago
        @wongtpa
        Talk about dumb.
        danwat1234
        • 3 Years Ago
        @wongtpa
        YOur dumb. The start-stop technology is seamless, you don't have to do anything and you don't have to change anything about how you live your life because of this start-stop technology! It saves fuel, it's reliable, it starts the engine very quickly. Stop complaining.
      Matthew
      • 3 Years Ago
      I love the fact that the system on a Chevrolet Malibu is better than a BMW This along with the safety of Onstar is why we ONLY own GM vehicles!! Ive owened 1 bmw and it was ok but not as exciting as our cadillac. Ill NEVER own a toyota product! Those of you who love them can all you want to but they lied and you dont get fined over 30 mill for nothing! They have countless recalls and could care less about their customers. Blaming them then having recalls. LIARS! Buy your toyota. Give your money to a company that lies to you. They will NEVER get my money! If GM did what toyota did Id NEVER give them another penny! How hard is this to understand?Im amazed people would support a company like toyota.. The whole "Bail-out" loan bit is useless. They were like alot of us affected by the economy! They repaid the loans with interest and have restructured and are making the best cars in the world!
        mt1975
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Matthew
        Toyota lie to you? Sorry but that is Ford, GM and Chrysler, when they speak of quality they claim they have, but really have NONE. You know how many Fords, GMs I've taken to the mechanic in my life, way too many many, now let's count all the Chrysler junk my freinds and family had to deal with OMG. I don't believe any of the Toyota recalls, The way Toyota has the floor mats hooked into the floorboard, it's the idiot owner that forgot to hook his mats into the floorboard. It's like the woman that sued McDonald's for having hot coffee poured on her, Are we boycotting McDonald's No, then why are you boycotting Toyota when you have never owned one. I have owned one for over 3 years, and my 2009 Tacoma 4 Door, 4WD, V6, 6 foot box, 17 inch tires gets 2x better gas mileage than any Ford I've owned, and it gets 3x better gas mileage than any Chevy I've ever owned. My Tacoma gets 24 MPG on the interstate at 75 MPH, and 17 MPG in town. I bought my Toyota cause I was tired of taking my Americna vehicles to the mechanic while my friends and family didn't have to take their Toyotas and Hondas anywhere except to get an oil change, and we're talking about repeat Toyota and Honda owners. That moron Mike Rowe that lies for Ford on TV better hope I never see him in real life, cause I'll definitely give him a piece of my mind. The High Quality Mike Rowe states Ford has is not Positive quality like he would have you believe, it's NEGATIVE quality where Ford beats Toyota and Honda. Hey Negative Quality is nothing to be happy about. It was The Big 3s Negative quality why I refuse to ever buy another one of their junk ever again. DO me a favor go buy a Toyota and man you'll kick yourself for never buying one a lot sooner. My Tacoma kills any Ford, GM or Chrysler on the planet, in gas mileage, the layout, the options, and the beauty, as well as the highest resale value period of any mid-size pickup. Heck Toyota kills Ford and GM in mid-size pickups, that Ford and GM are going to quit manufacturing their junk PERIDO. Rangers, Colorados, and Colorados couisn have already been given the coffin.
      Yvette
      • 3 Years Ago
      when I step on the gas, I want instant response...and may need it for safety. I won't buy a new car if they come on all new cars. Vote with your dollars...they listen to that.
        mrkoe
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Yvette
        Read the article.... that was BMW and KIA that had that problem, the Chevy Malibu was seamless.
      nichmyer
      • 3 Years Ago
      This is the most stupid idea some guy in a pant designer suit has ever thought of sitting behind his desk. Give me a break! Imagine the cost to fix something so stupid such as that! If I must make a fast get away at a stop light from either a drunk driver, or a guy with a gun to plans to highjack my vehicle cause it's not running and takes time to start it up again and put it in drive again? I THINK NOT! My wife will NEVER own one of these! THIS is stupid! stupid! stupid!
        danwat1234
        • 3 Years Ago
        @nichmyer
        @Rod, your stupid. The feature can probably be disabled and even if it can't, I doubt it would cause much delay if you mash on the gas. The motor turns the engine a little bit and the engine will spin right up and the car will shoot off. Probably will happen with 200milliseconds.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Sounds to me like one more Detroit half-baked idea to help expensive parts and maintenance costs go up -- for the dealer.
      mymedicalcd
      • 3 Years Ago
      get rid of obumma drill drill natural gas canada and get rid of obummas stupid regs epa and other bullcrap
      Charle
      • 3 Years Ago
      For the largest affect there would need to be a retrofit of existing vehicles that are staying in service much longer than in the past.
      dynasg2009
      • 3 Years Ago
      I love my Corvette just like it is and would hate to see that installed as would other friends of mine who own this fabulous car. I agree with the other people who recommend to just not buy them.
        vlady1000
        • 3 Years Ago
        @dynasg2009
        The Vette is the best bang for the money, and cheap (comparably speaking) to keep running.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Why not just implement traffic control systems that have cars stopping less often. How may times have you sat waiting for a light to change and no on is coming on the perpendicular street. When, the light does change you notice that a whole slug of traffic has to stop so you can go. The oil companies like this however so invest in a good car stereo, you're hosed.
        danwat1234
        • 3 Years Ago
        @justusw, what your talking about are cars that drive themselves, that way they won't sit at stop lights as much. I like to drive my own car..
          • 3 Years Ago
          @danwat1234
          What Justusw is referring to is the traffic lights not the vehicles. Why am I stopped at an intersection when there is NO cross traffic to speak of? Why do some lights, sans the errent driver, seem to be timed to let maybe 3 cars pass? I agree with justusw in that we should invest in the current traffic infrastructure first.
        Gumby
        • 3 Years Ago
        Dont worry, maybe in the future with computers, we can run stoplights without gettin ticketed cuz our cars will be so smart not to get hit at all!
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