If you’re not a fan of start-stop engine systems, you won’t be happy to know that the technology is only going to increase in the coming years. Estimates peg current implementation of the fuel-saving innovation in only about seven percent of all new vehicles available for purchase in the United States. A new report from IHS Automotive estimates that by 2020 over half of all new cars sold in the country will come with a stop-start system.
What’s fueling the shift? The ever-increasing fuel economy standards from the government. Automakers are pulling out all of the stops to stay abreast of federal requirements, which so far they have done exceptionally well. The start-stop systems provide an easy way to continue meeting or exceeding those standards.
Just because the technology is going to take the industry by storm doesn’t mean that consumers are happy about it, or even understand what it is. People who have owned hybrid vehicles or certain luxury brands have experienced what it’s like to have the engine shut off automatically when the vehicle comes to a full stop at a light, drive-through window, etc. Automakers worry that the public in general won’t like the sensation of the engine turning itself off and starting up again. Some might worry that such a technology is hard on the engine, makes it so they can’t get going again quickly at all, or will mean that air conditioning or the heater won’t be available while the vehicle sits.
Of course, not all start-stop systems are created equal. While many luxury vehicles have systems that operate relatively smoothly and with little noise, that’s not the case with all cars. For example, some people have complained that the start-stop system on the 2015 Chrysler 200 is rough and noisy, plus takes too long to get the engine going again.
One of the most ridiculous but realistic concerns about widespread start-stop adoption is that some consumers will complain their vehicle stalls out whenever it stops. Dealership service departments might be tired of explaining that one over and over.