Automobile engineers design and develop car feature for consumer’s comfort and convenience. And this can range anywhere from fuel-saving technology to autonomous driving. So, in today’s feature, we’ll have a look at a fuel-saving tech that many car manufacturers across the globe just love, called the idle start/stop feature.
Many carmakers advertise that this feature increases the car’s mileage and also increases the longevity of the vehicle. But is it so? Is the start-stop function really useful in India? Let’s find out.
What’s the idle start/stop function?
Many modern cars come equipped with an idle start/stop feature. This allows the vehicle to not only save fuel but al
so, control the emission in a certain way.
- This feature comes in super handy and is effective in city stop and go traffic.
- When a vehicle stops at a traffic light or a traffic jam after 4-6 seconds the car automatically shuts the engine.
- And as soon as the driver presses the clutch in a car with manual transmission and the brake paddle in the automatic gearbox, the engine starts automatically.
How does this save fuel?
The cars that have start/stop function as a part of their feature list, will usually have a bigger battery and a different starter motor. Well, this also varies from one carmaker to the other.
- When the car idles, for more than 4-5 seconds the ECU signals the engine to shut it down. And let me tell you, the engine does not stop anywhere it feels like.
- Many of the car makers specifically tune the start/stop feature of cut the engine with one piston just before TDC.
- This is to make the process of starting back the engine a little more efficient.
- The ECU take advantage of the crankshaft position sensor to precisely diagnose the location of the position.
- Now to start the engine, all the engine needs is a little nudge and voila, it is back to life again.
Shutting the engine off on traffic lights and any other situation, will definitely save fuel and reduce the emission. Now the important question.
Is it really effective in Indian traffic conditions?
Considering the amount of traffic in the metro cities like Delhi, Banglore, and Mumbai, it is evident that there will be traffic jams. This is in addition to the cars on traffic lights. Hence, in almost all the scenarios, having a car with start/stop feature is a better bet.
But let me tell you, many of us still think that cranking the engine takes more fuel than idle. Well, this was the case in older cars, when carburettors were used to deliver the fuel. But in this day and age with cars having electronic fuel injection this far from true. So, it is not a gimmick not a marketing stunt, it does make a difference.
Maruti Suzuki is among the leading brands to produce cars with a start/stop function. They call it SHVS (Smart Hybrid Vehicle by Suzuki). Nissan and Renault also are part that offers this feature.
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