AUTO START AND STOP TECHNOLOGIES IN THE PRESENT CAR

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When the fuel running low, I will stop the car in the traffic jam and will ignite the car back using the traditional key to start the car. But for now, the car lovers did not need to do it again because most of the car now especially the continental car has a system that is called as Auto Start and Stop function. This can be activated via a button that will place in the center console or beside the gear knob where once it had been activated the car will stop when in the traffic or when in an idle and will restart once we are on the move. These technologies although it is common in most of the car now, it was started by Fiat under their model Fiat Regina “ES” and the Volkswagen Polo “Formal E” both is the car model that had been built in the 1980’s.

Volkswagen Polo formal E one of the earliest car that had auto start and stops function

Why the system that started in 1980’s did not become famous like now? It is because some of the drivers did not like the system and the price for the car model that had been fitted with this system is pretty much high during those time. Currently, most of the car sold around the world have this Auto Start and Stop with the car brand like Citroen, Peugeot, Land Rover, and Volvo using the Valeo system and car-like Volkswagen, Nissan, SEAT, and Fiat is using the Bosch system.

While the system is basically being an auto start and stop but the implementation is different from each car maker. For the ultra-luxury car Bentley, Volkswagen Group had only introduced the Auto Start and Stop in the SUV model Bentayga. BMW had a different implementation of the auto start and stop where BMW is using the enhanced system developed by Robert Bosch that can withstand the increasing number of the auto start and stop of the engine and in this system the alternator of the car is not activated most of the time hence it is using the battery power and due to this system BMW is using the AGM car batteries in all of their models.

Another car manufacturer from Japan, Mazda also have some different implementation of the Auto Start and Stop. Mazda’s first system that is called as the i-Stop system, unlike BMW, is detached on which piston that is enabled to restart quickest and which this kind system Mazda car that is fitted with this system can make instant engine restart at 0.35 second. Honda meanwhile does not use the start and stop in their normal sedan but usually will fix this system in their hybrid like the Civic Hybrid, Accord Hybrid and they had been using this system for more than a decade in the Japanese domestic market starting with IMA mild hybrid system in their first-generation Honda Insight.

Like most of the car technologies that created in the past, this function gets the popularity now and they are many reasons for it. One of the reason is that this system is reducing the fuel consumption by 5 or 10% according to the car manufacturer claims. Most of the time the car lovers will be stuck in the idle situation like the in a traffic jam during the peak time. When the car is at idle, it is widely acknowledged that in this situation the fuel consumption of the car is high hence this system will eliminate this situation.

Easier to implement in the present. Unlike in the present where most of the car is using the automatic transmission due to the convenience for the driver and advancement in the gear shifting process that makes it a far simpler to implement this system in the current car than in the past. In the past, most of the car uses the manual transmission and in order to activate the start and stop function, the car lovers simply need press clutch during the car is in idle, moving the gear the neutral and releasing the clutch to stop the engine and when to start the car lovers need to press the clutch and moving the gear knob to start the car back. Quite a work if compared to the current car and this is one of the reasons why the system did not get the popularity in the past unlike in the present.

The advancement of the car drivetrain also contributes significantly to the usage of the auto start and stop function in the car. Where in the past, the drivetrain is only using the combustion engine or diesel engine but now with Toyota Prius that had started the rise of the hybrid engine and also Tesla Motors with their electric car, these had increased the usage of the lithium-ion battery in the car. The lithium-ion battery is far durable than the normal battery to withstand the multiple time of the start and stop in the car when this system is activated.

A typical lithium-ion battery in the hybrid car

However, they are still some concern about this function in the modern day car. Before, I had mentioned about the different type of the battery that can be used but unfortunately not most of the car is fitted with lithium ion and still using the normal battery instead. The power of this battery can be diminished quickly with the continuous start and stop function and the cost to replace this type of battery is usually on the higher side compared to the normal car batteries.

Some of the start and stop can be considered annoying when it is activated. The sudden lunge forward and the jerking that is associated with this system can be an inconvenient situation for the car lovers instead of convenience and in some car, the compressor of the air conditioner will be turned off making the car lovers unable to get the air conditioner flow when this function is activated. However, some of the car manufacturers had resolved this issue but not all car manufacturer is able to do it.

One of the suppliers of this system, Robert Bosh had said although this system is in most the car but it still had its own flaw where the function is not working seamlessly unlike in the hybrid where the transition between electric motor and combustion engine and vice versa is smooth and in some case never had the feeling of transition and Robert Bosh is trying to make the system working seamlessly like hybrid with no noise and jerking when auto-restarting the car.

The car manufacturer, however, knows the flaw of this system hence they had given the choice for the car lovers to activate or deactivate the system via the button fixed in their car and according to the Environmental Protection Agency, most of the car lover will deactivate the system due to the flaw of the system. However, the system will be in most of the car and a continuous improvement based on the suggestion from the car lovers, Valeo, Robert Bosh, battery supplier and car manufacturer will be expected to reduce the flaw of the system and making it work like in the hybrid drivetrain where it is seamless and flawless.

 

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