- Start-stop system
- This article refers to the automotive technology. For the use of start-stop systems in telecommunication, see asynchronous serial communication.
In automobiles, a start-stop system or stop-start system automatically shuts down and restarts the internal combustion engine to reduce the amount of time the engine spends idling, thereby improving fuel economy and reducing emissions. This is most advantageous for vehicles which spend significant amounts of time waiting at traffic lights or frequently come to a stop in traffic jams. This feature is present in hybrid electric vehicles, but has also appeared in vehicles which lack a hybrid electric powertrain. For non-electric vehicles (called micro-hybrids,) fuel economy gains from this technology are typically in the range of 5 to 10 percent.
Since automobile accessories like air conditioners and water pumps have typically been designed to run off a serpentine belt on the engine, those systems must be redesigned to function properly when the engine is turned off. Typically, an electric motor is used to power these devices instead.
This technology has also been used on Honda Motor scooters in Asian markets for the last decade. Their PCX 125cc model was released in 2010 to be sold in Europe with this technology, though their North American model does not feature it.
Carmakers and models
Devices of this type have been tested since the mid-1970s, when the Toyota corporation fitted a Crown sedan with a electronic device that would automatically switch off the engine after sitting stationary for 1.5 seconds. Testing showed about a 10% improvement in fuel economy in Tokyo traffic.
Some of the earliest production vehicles to use this technology were the Volkswagen Polo "Formel E" and Fiat Regata "ES" models of the 1980s. The Volkswagen Group also adopted it in the Golf Ecomatic in 1994 and in the Volkswagen Lupo "3L" and the Audi A2 "3L" in 1999. Though these early implementations were considered rather disconcerting by many drivers, and high pricing failed to yield these cars much commercial success, both the Volkswagen Lupo and the Audi A2 (in their "3 litre" leverage) still hold the world record for most fuel efficient production car to date.
Citroën introduced a more refined system in its C2 and C3 models by 2006, named "Stop and Start". The Citroën implementation combines a SensoDrive automated gearbox and an electronically controlled reversible alternator or integrated starter-generator (ISG). An ISG, also known as "integrated starter-alternator", combines the role of the starter and alternator into one unit; manufacturers include Valeo and Denso.
BMW is including the technology across many of its cars and the MINI line for 2008 as part of its Efficient Dynamics brand. BMW has been interested in ways to reduce parasitic losses on engines, so the company took the technology a step further. Instead of using an integrated starter generator, BMW has used an enhanced-starter which is nothing more than a conventional starter, developed by Robert Bosch GmbH, that can withstand the increased number of engine-starts in a stop-start vehicle. BMW has developed the system such that the alternator is not activated most of the time. This means that electrical components in the vehicle are normally running on battery power. When the battery needs to be charged or when decelerating or braking, the alternator is activated to recharge the battery (regenerative braking). Since this battery experiences very different load characteristics than a normal car battery, BMW used an absorptive glass mat type instead. Due to the use of regenerative braking, some have started calling this type of system a micro hybrid, a step below a mild hybrid system where the ISG can be used to assist the engine or even drive the vehicle.
Toyota has been selling cars with start-stop system for several years in Japan. Both Toyota and Mazda will be introducing stop-start technology available also outside of Japan in some of their 2009 model year vehicles, and Renault will introduce the technology in all of its European models by 2010.
Fiat introduced the Robert Bosch GmbH made system in the end of 2008 in Fiat 500, while Volvo introduced it in 2009 in its DRIVe models. Starting September 2009, Alfa Romeo also introduced this system in its Alfa Romeo Mito series utilising Fiat Powertrain Technologies' (FPT) 1.4 L Turbo petrol MultiAir engines.
Mahindra's were the first in India to launch Stop Start based Micro Hybrid system. This involves home-grown technology and first of its kind component development like Hall sensor based neutral and clutch pedal sensors. Mahindra & Mahindra introduced the stop start based Micro Hybrid system to Indian Automotive market. This involved home grown technology for vehicles with mechanical fuel injection and later JV with BOSCH for common rail based vehicles.
Late in 2010, Ford announced that its start-stop system, already used in its hybrids as well as several mainstream models in Europe, would be introduced in North America with the 2012 models, initially with 4-cylinder engines and later proliferating into V6s and V8s. Eventually the system will be available in all Ford vehicles.
The redesigned 2012 Kia Rio and Rio5 (hatchback) debuted at the 2011 New York Auto Show was announced with their Idle Stop and Go (ISG) feature, or stop-start technology. Kia claims the combination of direct fuel injection and stop-start will offer 30MPG City/40MPG on the highway in both 6 speed manual and automatic transmissions. While both the Kia Rio and Rio5 share the same new direct-injected four-cylinder 1.6L engine with it's cousin Hyundai Accent/Verna (also newly redesigned for 2012), Hyundai made no mention of this feature in their Accent line.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the US raised questions about non-hybrid Honda vehicles equipped with the company's 'Idle Stop' transmissions in February 2001 due to concerns over the "sudden lurching forward of a vehicle in an automatic restart" – rather than the "gradual creeping forward found in current transmission designs." 
Hybrid/electric assist vehicles experience almost no delay in power from a stop, due to the instant availability of power from the traction battery to the electric motor(s). Gasoline/microhybrids on the other hand generally experience slight delays (albeit fractions of a sec).
Many people think that long term use may wear the components in Start-Stop implementations which require a starter motor, but this is not true. Mazda i-stop used in their Mazda3/Axela line (in Europe and JDM) uses combustion to restart their engine by sensing the position of the piston in the cylinder. They claim quieter and quicker engine restart within 0.35 seconds.
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