DEARBORN - Ford Motor Company, by expanding auto start-stop technology to 70 percent of its vehicles in North America over the next four years, will enable customers to both reduce their impact on the environment as well as achieve better fuel economy with their vehicles.
Auto start-stop, a technology which has been available on European models for years, was first introduced in North America on the 2013 1.6L Ford Fusion.
“The technology was easier and less costly produce in Europe because manual transmissions lead sales in that fleet,” said Kirk Pebley, who has been working on the project for automatic transmissions for the past five years. “Fortunately we have been able to adopt some of the technologies used in our hybrids to provide the functionality for our regular combustion engines.”
The option, which is currently available on the 2014 1.5L Fusion SE, shuts off the engine when the vehicle comes to stop to drastically cut fuel waste in traffic and at lights. When the driver removes their foot from the brake the engine gently starts back up.
Advanced cabin control technology keeps drivers comfortable by keeping the engine on if the vehicle detects uncomfortable temperature changes. Drivers will also be alerted by an on-demand screen in instances when the feature cannot be used. While vehicles equipped with the $295 option have the technology always on, there is an on and off button near the vehicle transmission.
“We are in plans to make it standard on some vehicles and an option on others,” said Fusion Marketing Manager Sam Hoyt. “After taking a look at some of the challenges our competitors have with the technology, we are confident we are delivering a valuable product to customers across the board.”
The company also is proving that increased fuel economy does not mean a sacrifice in engine power, with the all-new 1.0L EcoBoost Fiesta, which achieves a whopping 45-mpg.
“Our engine combines the drive of a petro gas engine with the torque of a diesel to deliver exceptional power and fuel economy,” said Chief Powertrain Engineer Stephen Gill.
The 1.0L EcoBoost engine, which also was available in Europe prior to its North American launch, was recently recognized as the International Engine of the Year for the second year in a row. “It’s currently available as a five-speed manual SFE model in a hatch or a sedan,” said Paul Seredynski, manager, Global Powertrain Communications. “It’s a blast to drive.”
Ford also is using full car connectivity to reduce emissions by adjusting speed control with dynamic cruise control. By monitoring real-time road conditions, dynamic cruise control allows drivers to relax as their drivetrain is continuously adjusted to maintain their set speed point and improve fuel economy.
Auto Start-Stop saves fuel use when the car is standing and running at idle. Savings vary depending on driving patterns, but owners who spend most time in heavy urban areas and city traffic will benefit the most – up to 10 percent. On average, Auto Start-Stop improves fuel efficiency by about 3.5 percent.
“We’ve been researching this for a little over a year and a half as a part of the fully connected car system,” said Research Engineer Anthony D’Amoto. “The technology requires no internet connection or stored databases and has shown us improvements of up to 10 percent in fuel economy.”
A study by the United States Department of the Treasury estimates that congestion consumed an extra 1.9 billion gallons of fuel in 2011, approximately 5 percent of all the gasoline used.
As a part of the company’s Blueprint for Sustainability, Ford is doing its part to become a leader in the auto-industry by reducing its carbon footprint and delivering advancing technologies that improve the driving experience.