A recent Tech.view column described how stop-start engines could help increase automobile efficiency at a relatively low cost. The idea with such vehicles is that they “automatically switch off the engine when the car is slowing below 5 mph, and re-start it the instant the driverâ€™s foot comes off the brake pedal.” Incorporating the technology into vehicles requires modifying their transmission, as well as beefing up their batteries and starter motors.
The column indicates that there are still issues to be overcome with the technology, but that it has the promise of producing significant improvements at far more modest cost than going to a hybrid vehicle. It seems like a demonstration of the fact that automakers do have low-cost options at their disposal for meeting new fuel efficiency standards. While this technology certainly isn’t transformational, it is the kind of low-cost temporary measure that can help us achieve a global peak in greenhouse gas emissions in the relatively near term, before beginning the difficult descent to carbon neutrality.