Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
MikeT

Why North America Doesn't Get The Mhd Smart

23 posts in this topic

Stop-start saves fuel -- but not here; critics blame EPA test

by Mark Rechtin

Source: Automotive News -- December 28, 2009 - 12:01 am ET

LOS ANGELES -- Robert Davis, Mazda's top product-development executive in North America, wants to give stop-start a jump-start.

He says U.S. testing regulations prevent automakers from introducing fuel-saving technologies to this market.

In this case, stop-start technology, also known as idle-stop, has spread throughout the world -- just not here. The reason: The U.S. fuel economy testing cycle does not allow stop-start to work its magic, which means the miles per gallon benefit is not reflected in the official ratings

7% fuel savings

With stop-start, the car's engine is shut off when the vehicle is stopped and the driver applies the brakes. Releasing the brakes and touching the accelerator fire up the engine.

The problem: The EPA city-mode test cycle includes only one complete vehicle stop, so stop-start technology registers only a 0.1- or 0.2-mpg improvement, Davis said.

Since stop-start costs money to install, there's no marketing magic that will persuade people to pay the extra $500 Mazda would charge for the fuel economy gains that the EPA says don't exist.

"In Japan, we're seeing anywhere from 7 to 9 percent fuel economy gains from it," Davis said. "That's a jump from 33 to 37 miles per gallon in a metro environment."

He said Japanese consumers are so smitten with the technology that Mazda is selling nearly half of its Axela (Mazda3) and Biante (a small van) units with stop-start.

Relief could be on the way. The EPA is taking public comment on rule changes that could give cars with stop-start higher fuel economy ratings. A decision is expected in April.

Because the EPA is seeking input on its rule-making standards, Davis wants a united lobbying effort for a testing procedure that recognizes the benefits of stop-start.

Davis' pleas are obviously in Mazda's interest, but Mazda is far from the only automaker wanting to bring stop-start technology to the United States.

Volkswagen put start-stop in its Lupo hatchback in 1999, as part of its astounding 75 mpg rating. Since then others have developed systems -- mostly with diesel applications -- but have chosen not to offer them to U.S. customers for the same reason Davis outlined.

Mercedes-Benz has said it will have start-stop available on all engines by 2011 but has made no commitment for this market. This year Hyundai announced plans to bring start-stop to the United States but did not say when.

Audi of America spokesman Christian Bokich said: "We did not realize any savings in U.S. EPA estimates based on required testing cycles."

On hybrids only

Currently, the only vehicles using idle-stop in the United States are hybrids -- such as the Toyota Prius, Honda Insight, Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid and BMW ActiveHybrid X6 -- that use the technology as part of the hybrid powertrain's operating system. There is no U.S.-market vehicle that has stop-start with just an internal combustion engine.

Getting a useful measurement for stop-start's benefit may be easier said than done because Mazda's direct-injection technology works differently from other systems.

"We need to get some agreement," Davis said. "It needs to be industry-wide."

You can reach Mark Rechtin at mrechtin@crain.com.

Read more: http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/arti...##ixzz0ayAmAMKw

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The EPA test supposedly represent an average American's drive? I would like to hear from the person that only has to make one stop on their commute to work. This does explain how the North American built cars seems to be awarded higher EPA ratings than can be achieved in the real world though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Follow the money and then ask who benefits from this kind of ruling. Certainly not the European and Japanese car makers who are waiting to bring it here. Don't you just wish that the playing field could be level.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Escape hybrid shuts the engine off after the batteries are up to temperature, depending on your speed. Short trips in cold weather rarely reach the necessary conditions, but spend twenty minutes in stop and go, and it happens all the time. The electric engine that supplies reverse and powers the car in electric mode replaces the conventional electric starter so the whole process is quite smooth. You feel a bit of a shudder but the transition back to the gas engine is well modulated, especially with the cvt transmission.It is a little eerie coming off the highway finding the engine off as you coast to a stop at a light. Then the fun begins as you try to keep in electric as long as possible (always try to make it to at least the nearest Tim's).I think it is a neat feature.Ian

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

With stop-start, the car's engine is shut off when the vehicle is stopped and the driver applies the brakes.

According to
video featuring Niki and Mathias Lauda, the mhd shuts off power when coasting at 8 kph, not just when stopped, which means even more savings.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah just like the Honda Civic Hybrid, 8 or so km/h.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On a conventional engine it seems like firing up repeatedly would be hard on the engine, and what if you're in evasive manoeuvers and need to let off gas, then regain power quickly? I see the point if you have an electric motor that can pop in and out on juice and the engine is just a generator to charge the batteries but somehow it doesn't seem so wise with a regular engine!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's fine if the car has a starter-generator, which stop-start cars do, just like inboard boat engines have had for decades. Warm starts are not really that hard on an engine.

Edited by Mike T

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On a conventional engine it seems like firing up repeatedly would be hard on the engine, and what if you're in evasive manoeuvers and need to let off gas, then regain power quickly? I see the point if you have an electric motor that can pop in and out on juice and the engine is just a generator to charge the batteries but somehow it doesn't seem so wise with a regular engine!

At those speeds, the stop-start wouldn't kick in. If you mean you're coasting to a stop and almost came to a complete stop and had to, for whatever reason, accelerate quickly, the delay won't be that bad. The engine starts once the foot leaves the brake pedal so there are those few milliseconds before your foot hits the accelerator.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah that's the one part I hate though, since I never leave my foot on the pedal at red lights (as long as someone is already static behind me).-Iain

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

NOT leaving your foot ON the brake pedal, is a bad habit.If someone rearends the car behind you,yours will be shoved into on-coming traffic.The same think applies to riding a motorcycle.It's always safer to keep your foot on the brake pedal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Funny, I learned the opposite: firm pressure on the pedal means more damage, while a car sitting in neutral? Just a slight shunt. The "static" car behind you would have to get whacked slammed pretty damned hard to careen you into oncoming traffic.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are several different camps, on both sides. I like the European camp of handbrake on at lights. Mentally it bothers me that the pads are clamped up on the discs with the lights blinding the guy behind me.(which is why I apply the handbrake only after the next car has rolled up to a stop behind me)-Iain

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Related trivia: because the second brake light bulb in the rear clusters of the 450 smart has orange paint on it, its use for prolonged periods will make the paint peel off and make a mess inside your light cluster. They were intended to be turn signals only....I too put on the handbrake at longer lights, and put the car in neutral.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You must have hills; the car just sits at any of the lights around here, no brakes needed. ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are several different camps, on both sides. I like the European camp of handbrake on at lights. Mentally it bothers me that the pads are clamped up on the discs with the lights blinding the guy behind me.(which is why I apply the handbrake only after the next car has rolled up to a stop behind me)-Iain

Hi Iain, that is impressively considerate of youDid you ever drive truck ?Sounds like something a long hauler would do in townCM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No, but I try to imagine the kind of signals I'd want if I was the "other guy" - especially if I know they can't stop as fast (which is basically every other type of car on the road that isn't a smart) :)-Iain

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When you apply the hand brake, do you take your foot off the foot brake? I think it's really important to keep the brake lights lit when you are stopped in traffic. It's the only unambiguous way to let the people you share the road with that you are stopped with deliberation and not going to roll inattentively ahead or backwards.IMHO / YMMVBil :senile:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As I said, I'll leave my foot on the brake until the car behind me has come to a complete stop (if I see one approaching). Once they've fully stopped, then I apply the handbrake, and take my foot off the brake (as if to say, "I put my light on, because I think you're dumb enough you'd not notice I'm stopped if I didn't do this").

All this aside, I'd really like to try the mhd.

-Iain

Edited by Duck

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One advantage to having the brake lights on is when you pull away, the drop in light level signals to the driver behind to proceed. These days many drivers are distracted, with who knows what, to the point where they are unaware of changes around them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Do not think the change in light levels will be noticed by the driver behind. Distraction will cause that http://clubsmartcar.com/style_emoticons/default/rolleyes.gif

Watched someone (behind a Jeep SUV) merge into traffic last night - notice I said behind? The lead vehicle was pushed a good 2 lengths into the right lane of traffic. Lucky that no one was hurt. Guess the second driver did not see the lead vehicle had not left the STOP sign to merge. At least no injury (except to both vehicles).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

    Chatbox
    You don't have permission to chat.
    Load More