Though hybrids and fully-electric vehicles are now gaining buzz and being predicted as up-and-coming growth markets for the automobile industry, another energy-saving technology will be rolling out to the market along with them.
Stop-start vehicles have systems implemented that cut a car's engine when it is stopped, then re-start it instantly in time to move again. The technology saves fuel in the most straightforward way possible, and could lead to better fuel efficiency in the future.
Today market research firm Navigant Research set high predictions for stop-start vehicle technology, forecasting that stop-start vehicle sales will hit 55.4 million by the year 2022. That would represent a significant growth from the estimated 8.8 million stop-start vehicles that Navigant estimates were sold this year.
Though stop-start systems have obvious benefits for consumers, Navigant sees manufacturers readily adopting the technology as well. The technology is seen as a way for manufacturers to inexpensively increase their vehicles' fuel efficiency by a significant amount. This means that stop-start technology could end up being one of the methods manufacturers use to meet more stringent government fuel efficiency ratings in the future. Other (possibly more expensive) fuel efficiency methods will also be coming to vehicles as they compete alongside battery-powered alternatives.
“The latest stop-start systems are beginning to adopt some of the features that were first developed for full hybrid vehicles, such as energy recovery through regenerative braking,” said David Alexander, senior research analyst at Navigant Research. “The challenge for automakers is to get the biggest efficiency benefits from the smallest cost increment.”