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Two Facts On Why Start Stop Technology Is Horribly Inferior To The Toyota Prius

The Toyota Prius is an amazing vehicle. Other car manufacturers have been compelled to keep up. The sad part is, they are not doing it right. Here are two facts on why start-stop technology is inferior to hybrid technology.

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When it comes to advances in the automotive world, hybrids were an incredibly smart move. Some advances, however, make life not worth living sometimes.

Start-stop technology is for sure one a bit of technology that I wish would go away. Here are two facts about start-stop technology why it is inferior to Prius.

Start-Stop Technology Is A Band-Aid Solution
Full disclosure here, I am going to bash this technology, but for a good reason. Start-stop is a way for car makers to get emissions credits. That is the simplest way I can put it.

Start-stop technlogy is absurd

This technology is not a solution to the long term problem of relying on oil. It is a minuscule advancement, if anything. Due to CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards, automakers have been forced to find new ways to achieve higher numbers for their fleet lineup.

The issue is, not every carmaker has adopted hybrid technology. That means as fuel economy standards become more stringent, engineers need to find a new way to increase fuel economy numbers. Then some engineers had a bright idea to steal technology from Prius to shut the car off periodically to conserve fuel.

Okay, so how is this different from what a hybrid does already? It is not. The real kicker to this is what I have next.

Start-Stop Tech Makes Simple Systems Horribly Complicated
If we think about how an automatic transmission works, it requires hydraulic pressure. When the vehicle is running, the torque converter is spinning and turning a pump inside the transmission. This pump is responsible for creating the fluid pressure the transmission needs to function.

With start-stop technology, the vehicle shuts off. The engine is no longer spinning, which means the torque converter is not either. That equates to no available fluid pressure, but wait there is more. Instead of having a simple system as Prius does with the motor generators, there is a complicated fluid pump inside the transmission.

Tramission with electric fluid pump

This pump is more complex and adds to the sophistication of a labyrinth kind of system. The pump has to be there continually running. It allows the driver to have instant acceleration as soon as the brake pedal is released. Meanwhile, we are relying on a low 12v system to operate all of the other onboard functions.

Here is only one example of why it is utterly ridiculous to have a start-stop in our cars. I have others, but honestly, I am already seething enough. Think about it. What happens when the 12v battery becomes weak? The engine could stall, or it could also not go into a start-stop mode, which is counterproductive to the whole idea.

So, let me get this straight. Instead of adopting proven technology that has been around for more than 20 years, we will throw in an unproven system that is significantly more complex and potentially very expensive to repair. We all are thinking about it, I am saying it. We know it is going to break.

I wish that these car companies would have taken a look at the Toyota Prius and said, you know what, they are right. Yet, here we are over complicating things like it is the end of the world.

Save yourself and buy Prius people. The technology is proven, they are everywhere, and they are not as complicated.

Thank you for reading, be sure to check out my other story, Two Ways The Toyota Rav4 Hybrid Is Beating The Prius

Watch the 2021 Toyota RAV4 Plug-in Hybrid Prime video presentation and click to subscribe to Torque News Youtube channel for daily automotive news analysis.

Peter Neilson is an automotive consultant specializing in electric cars and hybrid battery technologies. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Automotive Service Technology from Weber State University. Peter is also an Instructor of Automotive Technology at Columbia Basin College. Peter can be reached on Linkedin and you can tweet him at The_hybrid_guy on Twitter. Find his page on Facebook at Certified Auto Consulting

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Don Humphrey (not verified)    November 25, 2019 - 11:46PM

Amen to this.
I am all for whatever can be done to preserve the health of our environment, but the stop/start is worse than a band-aid.
Such small ineffective measures, which as Peter correctly pointed out are doing more harm than good, are the fluff which keeps real change from happening at the rate urgently needed for preserving resources for real.

My aunt has a new Jeep with this feature, and when I rode in it, my impression was the stealerships will be thrilled to fleece so many people for starter motor replacement every 40K miles.

Thank you Peter for telling us how it is!