2013 Ford Fusion Stop/Start: Ford Explains Why It’s Different

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2013 Ford Fusion

2013 Ford Fusion

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A few years ago, some automakers began offering stop/start technology on select cars as a way to help lower emissions and increase fuel economy in busy city traffic. 

Early stop/start systems in non-hybrid cars were often slow to respond to driver input, making them unpopular with drivers, but now Ford claims to have solved some of those issues in its 2013 Ford Fusion’s optional stop/start system.

Ford says it has filed over 25 patents in developing the 2013 Fusion’s $295 optional extra, and is confident that it has developed a much more usable stop/start solution.

Traditionally, a stop/start system works by stopping the car engine when the driver presses the brake pedal, switching off the engine completely when the car is stopped. It then restarts the engine when the driver releases the brake pedal to move off. 

Although it isn't technically a stop/start system,  hybrid cars like the 2012 Toyota Prius use a powerful electric motor can provide instant torque to both start the car moving and start the engine.  As a consequence, hybrid cars can stop the engine when stationary, but move away very smoothly and quickly when the brake pedal is released. 

2013 Ford Fusion

2013 Ford Fusion

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In non-hybrid cars with stop/start however, the car’s engine has to be spun up to speed by the starter motor before the car can move. This can result in a juddering lag between the driver requesting power and it being delivered.  

Less smooth than a hybrid drivetrain, automakers are striving to give gasoline cars without hybrid drivetrains the same smooth stop/start experience that hybrid cars have. 

Ford’s new stop/start system utilizes a more powerful 12-volt starter battery, an upgraded started motor and an extra transmission pump that maintains gearbox hydraulic pressure even with the engine off. 

It also uses new software to monitor and maintain battery voltage to ensure that the car can start cleanly and quickly when required, as well as a smart climate-control system that can start the engine early if the cabin gets too hot or too cold. 

Ford claims the system will help improve the 2013 Ford Fusion’s fuel efficiency by 3.5 percent, although as it fairly admits, the biggest influencing factor in gas mileage is the driver. 

Is Ford’s stop/start technology better than its competitors?

At the time of writing, we haven’t had a chance to test Ford’s claims, but as soon as we get behind the wheel, it’s something we’ll make sure we include in our first drive report.


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Comments (9)
  1. I don't think for a theoretical 1 mile per gallon (3.5%) most people will want this increased complexity.

  2. Increased complexity...??? Uh, start/stop systems are not new, they ahve been common in Europe and Asia for a decade or so, although, as the article notes, primarily in hybrid or EV applications. Adding a basic auxilliary transmission pump is far from complex and this is a very basic system, not something most would even consider complex.

    Get used to it, you'll see various versions in this in the coming years, even in the U.S., where the actual mileage/emissions advantages aren't properly shown due to outdated traffic cycles in the EPS tests. Whether using a hydraulic accumulator & brushed motor or a brushless motor and aux. pump, most vehicles will have this before long.

  3. Ford might have a good idea here....

  4. Mazda reportedly has one of the best, but, of course, it is forbidden fruit here in the land of cheap gas.

  5. Actually, Jeff, Mazda already has the SkyActiv system, including stop/start in the new CX-5. I believe it's coming in other vehicles, too, but please confirm that yourself since I'm too lazy to confirm it... Mazda initially said it would not bring SkyActiv here since the outdated EPA mileage/emissions tests use an unrealistic traffic cycle that doesn't properly show the real-world benefits of a start-stop system, but something may have changed. Anyhow, it's impressive in terms of mileage.

  6. @Robok2: Mazda's start-stop system is called iStop. "SkyActiv" refers to the company's highly fuel-efficient combustion engines & transmissions, as transplanted mid-cyle into the Mazda3 for 2012 and fully realized in the 2013 CX-5 crossover.

    The iStop system, thus far, is NOT used on the CX-5.

  7. I had a 2008 Malibu Hybrid with the start/stop mild hybrid system. It was the part of the car I enjoyed the most. I traded it after a brief time when I was unable to match the EPA rating on the sticker. I can normally beat EPA by several mpg, but not with the Malibu. I tried to give it to my wife, but she wouldn't take it, so we traded it and left the GM brands. When I buy another hybrid, it will be a Toyota. They are still the mileage champs, AFAIK.

  8. This is one of the reasons I sold my 2011 Insight. Get into a hot car,drive off,come to a light,AC stops as the engine does,very hot and annoying.Until the figure how to get around this,I will never own another with it.

  9. Mark, sorry you get a notoriously bad version of a start-stop system, which is yet another reason the Insight has sold so poorly. I have stop-start in my car, a Volt, and the A/C never shuts down, even when the engine does.

    Overall,I agree 100% and after reading reviews of cars like the Insight, I made sure the Volt would not do that to me and leave me a sweaty mess all summer long. With hybrids having an electric compressor, there's no reason I'm aware of for Honda to have done what they did. I'm traditonally a Honda fan, but they blew it in this case.

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