The 2013 Ford Fusion. Photo courtesy of Ford.

Ford mining mileage, new patents from Auto Start-Stop technology

The best technology does its job effectively and then gets out of the way.

As they strive to engineer better fuel efficiency for millions of drivers, Ford has more than 25 patents pending from their Auto Start-Stop technology, which is a $295 option on the all-new 2013 Ford Fusion.

“We set out to make Auto Start-Stop in the 2013 Fusion as seamless to drivers as possible,” said Birgit Sorgenfrei, Ford’s Auto Start-Stop program manager. “We wanted the system to improve fuel efficiency but otherwise remain transparent, so we developed a number of unique control strategies to smooth out the performance.”

It was one of the early advantages of the hybrid drive system, which would allow a gas engine to shut down when stopped, such as in rush-hour gridlock. Now this technology is migrating to many straight gasoline vehicles after being developed 15 years ago in the very first hybrid vehicles.

Ford’s Auto Start-Stop will now be available on the new Fusion featuring the 1.6-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine.

An ever more common feature on the newest vehicles, Auto Start-Stop switches off the engine when the car stops, instantly restarting it when the driver lets off the brake. This description, however, is a simplification of what really happens and just the tip of an engineering iceberg. That’s why Kirk Pebley and the Ford team have filed over 25 patents for innovations beneath the surface of the electronic controller system.

The new Fusion is the first Ford vehicle to offer Auto Start-Stop with a self-shifting gearbox. Automatic transmission requires maintaining hydraulic pressure even when the engine’s off, so Ford added an electric pump to the transmission, an upgraded starter,as well as an absorbed glass mat battery.


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