If you’ve purchased a 2013 or 2014 model year car recently, there’s good chance it has automatic start/stop technology under the hood. If you’re not familiar, the system shuts down the engine when its idling, like at a stoplight, in order to save gas. When the driver’s foot comes off the brake pedal, the engine is quickly restarted – often running again before the driver’s foot has even made it to the gas pedal.
While this was once a technology reserved for hybrids, nearly every automaker has jumped on the fuel-saving technology for gasoline-only cars, too. Several automakers, including, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Chrysler, Chevrolet, and Ford, – to name a few – all sell non-hybrid models with automatic start/stop.
There’s another nice incentive for automakers to include start/stop technology, the EPA rewards vehicles fitted with start/stop with a one mpg rating bump over those without it.
We, like a lot of consumers, were initially concerned with the reliability and longevity of the components used for frequent engine restarts. Manufacturers require the start/stop systems to handle at least 150,000 to 300,000 start/stops. By Comparison, standard starter motors are only rated to handle around 30,000 starts.
“SpeedStart is a belt-driven Integrated Starter Generator (B-ISG) system incorporating the control and power electronics in a single housing. The core of the system is a liquid cooled, switched reluctance electric motor, with no permanent magnets which, when coupled to state of the art electronics, provides premium performance with a high and efficient power output,” CPT explains on its website.
The U.K.-based Controlled Power Technologies (CPT) has a start/stop unit called the SpeedStart that can handle over 1.2-million start/stop cycles, according to Green Car Reports. CPT feels the key to the survival of the technology lies in proving the systems can be foolproof.
CPT put the SpeedStart through a grueling 7,200-restart regimen every day for an entire year in which it started and stopped every five to 25 seconds.
Another added benefit of the Speedstart system is that it’s completely recyclable. It’s composed of steel, copper, aluminum, some plastics and silicon.
Automakers are reportedly quite interested in the SpeedStart and customers should see (or not see) SpeedStart-fitted vehicles hit showrooms in 2015.
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