Research Automakers Increasingly Offer Ways to Deactivate Stop/Start Systems (Temporarily)

17:07  12 april  2018
17:07  12 april  2018 Source:   Car and Driver

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"If a problem is detected the system will automatically be deactivated and a message to the driver will be triggered." © David Muller Automakers Increasingly Offer Ways to Deactivate Stop / Start Systems ( Temporarily ).

"If a problem is detected the system will automatically be deactivated and a message to the driver will be triggered." © David Muller Automakers Increasingly Offer Ways to Deactivate Stop / Start Systems ( Temporarily ).

a close up of a stereo: Automakers Increasingly Offer Ways to Deactivate Stop/Start Systems (Temporarily)© David Muller Automakers Increasingly Offer Ways to Deactivate Stop/Start Systems (Temporarily)

When Buick launched the 2019 Envision last month, the brand said a decision to add an Off switch to its stop/start engine technology was "driven by customer feedback." As many new-vehicle owners know, stop/start tech has had a growing presence in nonhybrid vehicles because it saves fuel and reduces pollution. But apparently not all Buick owners have liked the feature, and dissenters who have spoken up seem far from alone. So automakers have increasingly been adding an Off button (like the A surrounded by an arrow shown above on a 2018 Jeep JL Wrangler). But there's a catch: on most of them, it shuts it off only until you shut the car off.

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"If a problem is detected the system will automatically be deactivated and a message to the driver will be triggered." © David Muller Automakers Increasingly Offer Ways to Deactivate Stop / Start Systems ( Temporarily ).

"If a problem is detected the system will automatically be deactivated and a message to the driver will be triggered." © David Muller Automakers Increasingly Offer Ways to Deactivate Stop / Start Systems ( Temporarily ).

Kristin Lewis, product manager for the 2019 Buick Envision, said consumer feedback on stop/start fits into three categories:

  • • They generally didn't notice it so didn't comment on it;
    • They didn't like it, and that isn't going to change;
    • It's fine, but they'd like it to be smoother or to be able to turn it off.

Lewis said that negative feedback on stop/start was extremely low as a portion of total comments received on the Envision's features. Nevertheless, Buick's engineers worked to address the concerns in the third category, in part by adding a deactivation button. People who dislike stop/start should get very familiar with that button, because in most new vehicles with stop/start, it is likely to be a "nonlatching" feature, meaning that every time the car's ignition is turned off, stop/start will reset to active once the vehicle is turned back on. If you never want to drive with stop/start engaged, you'll have to hit that button every time you fire up your car or truck.

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Automakers have been adding an Off button to their stop / start systems , but it's only temporary . General Motors had 13 models offering stop / start in 2017 and 19 for 2018, and while they have a nonlatching deactivation choice, that automaker is Or they’ll just continue to turn it off temporarily .

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Automakers get incentives to do it this way from the Environmental Protection Agency. If the vehicle's stop/start system is nonlatching and automatically turns on whenever you start the car, the EPA's fuel-economy test results will be calculated only when the system is engaged. But if a vehicle's stop/start system can be permanently turned off, then the vehicle's fuel economy is tested both when stop/start is active and when it's off. The EPA then averages the two tests for a resulting fuel-economy rating found on the car's window sticker—which is certain to be lower.

Since stop/start is estimated to boost fuel economy by 4 to 5 percent using the EPA test cycle, according to Buick, obviously it has a positive effect on the fuel-economy rating. Carmakers who have nonlatching stop/start systems also qualify for additional "off cycle" emissions credits from the EPA, and those can be applied to meet their overall targets for Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards.

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General Motors had 13 models offering stop/start in 2017 and 19 for 2018, and while they have a nonlatching deactivation choice, that automaker is by no means alone. The technology and the nonlatching deactivation capability are standard on all new Volvo vehicles, and every 2018 Ford and Lincoln vehicle that has stop/start technology, a total of 10 models, all come with a nonlatching deactivation button.

"EPA regulations incentivize the use of [stop/start] technology because it has on-road fuel economy and greenhouse-gas benefits not fully captured on EPA’s fuel-economy tests," a Ford spokesman said in an email. "In order to qualify for the incentives, [it] must be the predominant operating mode for the vehicle, such that the driver cannot permanently disable it."

That has not stopped some people from turning to the internet for ways to shut it off for good. In one example on YouTube, a young man plugs a trailer-light tester into the hitch receiver of a 2018 Ford F-150 to show viewers how to permanently latch an otherwise nonlatching stop/start system. In that case, the system won't engage because the truck thinks it's pulling a load. Incidentally, there are other scenarios in which the engine will not shut off, even when stop/start is engaged, such as if the steering wheel is being turned, the battery voltage is too low, or the air conditioning needs to keep running to maintain a comfortable cabin because of hot outside temperatures. Stop/start systems are otherwise accompanied by beefier batteries and starter motors to support the greater demands of the engine frequently cycling on and off.

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IHS Markit has been monitoring consumer acceptance (or lack thereof) of stop/start technology since about 2011, when manufacturers began to roll it out in the United States, said Devin Lindsay, the firm's principal analyst of North America powertrain forecasts.

"We saw early on that consumer feedback was going to be a bit more difficult in the United States than Europe, Japan, and other regions," Lindsay said. Anecdotally, Lindsay said one theory for the greater acceptance of the technology in those markets is the prevalence of manual transmissions; automatic-transmission-driving Americans are not as accustomed to the sensation of having the engine disengage from the drivetrain.

Lindsay noted that, for instance, a Mercedes-AMG car owner may welcome hearing the engine rumbling back to life after being at a stoplight, but for drivers of less exciting cars, it could be an annoyance. In any case, new-car buyers can expect to see more of it, Lindsay said. "I think we go through this with a lot of technologies," he said. "People will get used to it." Or they'll just continue to turn it off temporarily.

For Further Reading:

  • Ford to Make Auto Stop/Start Standard on All EcoBoost F-150 Pickups for 2017
    GM Drops eAssist from Chevrolet Lineup, Makes Stop/Start Standard on 2015 Impala
    2013 Lamborghini Aventador Adds Cylinder Deactivation and Stop/Start

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