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Old 12-14-2007, 03:12 PM   #1
Scotsman
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Stop/Start tech???

This came to mind after reading an article over at TCC (http://www.thecarconnection.com/Auto...92.A13753.html) and thought, "what a great idea this would be!?". GM was present at the event mentioned in the article, so hopefully they have some good stuff coming our way like stop/start.

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All I want for Christmas is a stop-start system on every car in the world.

I am sitting in traffic in Shanghai. The diesel engine of the VW Santana taxi cab grumbles as we wait and wait and wait for the light to change. In the end, a Shanghai or Beijing green light doesn't mean go; we sit through two or three lights before go is an option.

I'm here for a symposium on alternative fuels and vehicles, sponsored by Michelin, called the Bibendum. All the major international carmakers attend the Bibendum. GM, Mercedes, Ford, Honda, Toyota and VW are here, along with France's Citroen and Peugeot, India's Tata, China's Chery and others.

One morning I threw open the curtains of my hotel room. I didn't see the city laid out before me. I saw nothing; a blank TV screen, smog mixed with fog. I photograph nothing because I think, no one will believe this.




I've been to the Bibendum before. This time there is an urgency as policy makers, automakers and technology developers talk about outrunning global warming, CO2, other pollutants. Hydrogen fuel cells, battery technology, compressed natural gas, and various adjustments to the internal combustion engine are discussed at length.

The unanswered question is how fast these technologies can get to market and if we can beat the rise in temperature. The prognosis isn't good for the immediate future but, Patrick Oliva, Corporate Vice President for Michelin and the unsung ambassador of these efforts says, "We're getting closer to which technologies will prevail. One thing is clear: The future will be multi solution. We have to accommodate different fuels."

Valeo, an automotive supplier that makes components, systems and modules for cars, displays their STARS micro-hybrid technology that can switch off the engine at a traffic light; it eliminates needless idling and starts again when the driver asks for power. Valeo's a frequent winner of awards for their innovations won the 2006 Automotive News PACE Award for this technology.

In city driving vehicles are at a standstill 35 percent of the time-it has to be greater in Shanghai and Beijing--the start-stop system results in fuel consumptions savings of up to 28 percent. Wow, what if every car sitting in city traffic around the world could save even 10 percent and up to 28 percent of its fuel consumption?

As my throat clutches from Shanghai pollution, it's what I wish for. Unfortunately, the system cannot be retrofitted to existing engines. But some automakers are putting them on new models. BMW has launched the 1-Series and the MINI with a Bosch system, another auto supplier. They equip all manual transmission cars with a stop-start system as standard equipment. The Bosch system is based on a starter.

"Valeo's starter alternator can be adapted to any stop-start strategy required by automakers," says Derek DeBono, Valeo spokesperson. "It will work within the parameters set by manufacturers for their clutch, gearbox, brakes or other comfort and safety equipment."

If the driver is in the process of stopping and changes his mind, the system restarts immediately. It can be combined with regenerative braking, the system hybrids use to recapture and convert kinetic energy produced by braking into electric energy used to fuel the battery.

Car companies are running in many directions trying to figure out which technology will be "the one." In the meantime this STARS system could eliminate plenty of CO2 if we put it on cars now. The same is true of ethanol. It might be a better idea to put 10 percent ethanol in every gallon of gasoline. We would immediately lessen our dependence on oil and we wouldn't have to build needless infrastructure for E85.

Until I actually witnessed China I couldn't imagine the global in global warming. But the country right now has 24 million vehicles mostly driven by individuals with newly minted licenses. Seeing BMWs, Buicks and Cadillacs, Hyundais, Toyotas, Volkswagens, Citroens, Kias, Suzukis, Nissans, Hondas and Fords competing in Shanghai traffic was nightmarish.

In China alone, vehicle passenger sales grew to nearly 480,000, a record 24 percent in September. Everyone, it seems, is working long hours so that they can improve their lifestyle. That includes owning a car. In the next 10 years there may be 65-70 million cars on the road in China. And that's just China. There's the rest of BRIC--Brazil, Russia and India, all developing. Each one of those cars will add CO2.

Listening to the speakers at the Bibendum and then seeing the gray, uninviting haze over China made me believe that unless car buyers start demanding CO2 and fuel saving technology instead of cupholders, we're in for it.

Auto companies respond to customer demands. Today we ask for leather seats and storage space; we should really be asking for cars with start-stop systems and other fuel saving devices, because that is far more important to the future.
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Old 12-14-2007, 03:27 PM   #2
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I think this is pretty much what the Malibu hybrid does.
It's pretty cool.
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