Automatic Start-Stop: An Eco-Friendly Technological Advancement

The concept behind the automatic start-stop system is quite straightforward: by temporarily shutting off the engine during brief periods of inactivity, such as waiting at traffic lights, both fuel consumption and emissions can be significantly reduced. This technology plays a crucial role in fuel conservation and environmental protection, offering CO2 emission reductions of around 3% to 8%. As a result, automatic start-stop systems have rapidly become widespread across various vehicle classes, driven by the need to comply with increasingly stringent EU regulations on pollutant emissions.

Understanding the Functionality of Automatic Start-Stop Systems

Automatic start-stop systems utilize sensors to detect when a vehicle is stationary and consider various factors related to its operating mode. For example, when a driver comes to a stop at a traffic light and shifts the transmission to neutral, the start-stop system will automatically shut down the engine. In some newer models, the engine may even switch off when the vehicle’s speed falls below a certain threshold. Despite the engine being off, all electrical consumers and assistants continue to receive power from the vehicle’s battery. Once the clutch is engaged, the automatic start-stop system seamlessly restarts the engine. In vehicles equipped with automatic or dual clutch transmissions, the system responds to the actuation of the brake alone. If the vehicle comes to a complete stop and the driver’s foot remains on the brake pedal, the automatic start-stop system halts the engine. Releasing the brake triggers the system to restart the engine.

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Sensor Control in Automatic Start-Stop Systems

Various sensors provide information about the driving status to the automatic start-stop system. These sensors include a neutral gear sensor, wheel speed sensor, and crankshaft sensor, which determine whether the vehicle is in motion or stationary. The engine controller coordinates the start-stop processes and integrates them with the engine management system. Additionally, an electronic battery sensor (EBS) communicates data about the battery’s state of charge, voltage, and temperature. As the voltage in the onboard network briefly drops each time the engine restarts, compensation mechanisms ensure the proper functioning of critical devices and electronic assistants. To ensure the longevity of the starter and withstand the increased number of starts, starter components subject to high stress are reinforced and designed for extended service life, such as bearings, gear units, and engagement mechanisms.

Recuperation and Automatic Start-Stop Systems: New Battery Technologies

Conventional batteries may struggle to meet the demands of vehicles equipped with automatic start-stop systems. However, batteries with AGM (Absorbent Glass Mat) technology were specifically developed for vehicles that feature start-stop technology, energy recovery (recuperation) systems, and other fuel-saving mechanisms. AGM batteries efficiently accept energy received through recuperation. On the other hand, EFB (Enhanced Flooded Battery) technology batteries are designed for entry-level automatic start-stop systems.

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Recuperation, which involves capturing and utilizing braking energy, generates electrical energy when a vehicle brakes and the engine enters thrust mode. In cars equipped with recuperation, the recovered energy is fed back into the battery by the generator, which powers comfort functions during subsequent periods of stoppage. Utilizing this efficient technology alongside a powerful AGM battery enables greater fuel savings and further reductions in emissions compared to simple start-stop systems. To enhance overall efficiency, some vehicles decouple the generator during acceleration phases, allowing the engine to work more efficiently with the entire motor power dedicated to acceleration. During this phase, the battery powers all electrical functions, underscoring the importance of a robust battery specifically matched to the vehicle’s energy management system in modern onboard networks.