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StopStart Technology Explained

Over recent years, car manufacturers have toyed with all sorts of new ways to ensure the cars they make are less polluting.

Chief among these is something now fitted to most new models – ‘Stop/Start’ technology. If you’re moving out of an older model into a car fitted with this technology, we’ve put together this short guide to explain it.

What is Stop/Start technology?

It’s a piece of software that means the engine cuts out when the car is stationary (and, in manual cars, in neutral). When you come to a stop - say, at a red light or in traffic - it’ll happen automatically.

If it’s fitted to your car, it’ll be switched on automatically every time you start the car. But you can turn it off, if you wish, by pressing the Stop/Start button (a capital ‘A’ with a clockwise arrow around it). Sometimes this isn’t a physical button but integrated as part of the infotainment system instead.

It doesn’t kick in until the engine is sufficiently warmed up, so normally becomes active after 30 seconds or so of driving.

How does Stop/Start technology work?

The software detects that the car is motionless and, in the right conditions, will cut the fuel supply and spark needed to ignite it – stopping the engine from running. It’ll feel a little bit like stalling, without the lurching the comes from doing this in gear.

When you take your foot off the brake (in an automatic) or depress the clutch (in a manual), the engine fires back up incredibly quickly, so you can pull away normally.

Why is Stop/Start technology helpful?

It has several benefits.

  1. It reduces pollution

    Heavy urban traffic can sometimes mean we’re sat going nowhere fast. But if your engine is running while you do, you’re pumping lots of exhaust fumes into the air for no good reason. Cutting the engine when stationary counteracts this.

     

  2. It improves your fuel economy

    If your engine isn’t burning fuel needlessly – because you’re stationary for one reason or another – it means you’re only burning fuel while you’re moving. Which means you can go further on a tankful.

     

  3. Road tax is cheaper

The price of road tax is linked to the amount of CO2 your car produces, and this is measured through a standardised test. Part of the test (a quarter, in fact) is a period of idling. So if the engine is off during this period, it means the CO2 emitted is lower – and that can save you money.

What cars have Start/Stop technology?

It’s a standard feature across every model and engine from Jaguar, BMW, MINI, Land Rover, Toyota, Audi, Mercedes-Benz and Lexus, and standard or optional across the range with Volkswagen.

If you’re looking for a car fitted with this game-changing innovation, browse the new car range at Inchcape today.