ABI Research has a study on Belt-Alternator-Starter ("BAS") cars, an urbanite's cheap alternative to hybrids. They basically are a normal car with a bigger alternator/starter combo, and automatic engine shutoff, to avoid engine idling. ABI charges to download the paper, but have a press release that roughly describes their findings:
"The devices allow for start-stop operation similar to hybrids, where the engine can be shut off at a stoplight or when idling, but at a price premium of just a few hundred dollars instead of the thousands required for hybrids. However, ABI Research cautions both consumers and financial observers that, 'you get what you pay for... A BAS doesn't provide any sort of assist in actually propelling the vehicle, and will often have far less capability for regenerative braking, if any.' "
Still, people stuck in stop-and-go traffic for most of their driving could see significant increases in mileage. And since these driving conditions make for the worst inefficiencies, they are a good first target to tackle. Besides that, efficiency shouldn't be limited to those who have the money for a fancy new Prius. It will be interesting to keep an eye on this technology in the upcoming years.
"The big attraction with this hot, new version of the C3 (Citroën's hugely cuddly urban supermini) is that it keeps stopping. That's not normally something to recommend in a car."
See Guardian UK review
John, we posted about the Citroen C3 a few months ago.
Stop-Start/Idle-Stop functionality seems likely to be the first hybridesque technology to get wide implementation across vehicle lines. There's no reduction in power, it can be cheap to implement, and the efficiency gain is notable: up to 15% improvement in mileage, depending upon driving patterns.
Green Car Congress has posted about the Toyota Vitz that also does this. Hopefully it'll make it to Europe and North-America soon.
Didn't VW show a prototype of something like this back in the 80s in the GTI? The engine stopped running while you were stopped, and when you let the clutch out the flywheel's mass was used to restart the engine. I remember reading about it in one of the gearhead magazines, need to go poke around the web and see what I can find.
Yes they treid it back in the 80s but back then the tech wasnt up to the task as starting is when pollution is worst and when damage to the engine is worst. Toom some big changes to fix those problems and back then the stop start engines simply ripped themselves to bits to fast.