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Spotlight: stop-start systems

by David Zatz on

Ram is adding a stop-start system to the Ram 1500, with the arrival of the HFE model; along with other changes, many based on Department of Energy projects, it will raise gas mileage to 18 city, 25 highway. For the first time, a full size pickup truck will achieve the same gas mileage as a minivan — though that’s partly because they share an engine (another first), the Pentastar V6.

The Ram 1500 HFE was announced for 2013, but might wait until the 2014 model year.

start-stop system

A stop-start system cuts the engine while the driver is temporarily stopped, and automatically restarts it when needed; most hybrids have this as part of the overall package, but it’s normally only referred to as a separate system when installed in a car with no hybrid system (no electric motor or regenerative braking). The system in the Ram is expected to restart the engine when the brake is released, so that by the time the driver is applying the gas, the engine is already up and running.

Buyers unfamiliar with stop-start technology, which has been used for years in Europe and other regions where gasoline is expensive, have posed numerous questions — whether it will affect air conditioning and heating, how the engine is lubricated, and whether the system will result in a constant need for new starters. We have done some research and consulted with a reputable automotive engineer to provide the answers to these questions (“Yes, but not as much as you might think; well enough; no”) and others, with the reasons why. Without further ado, we suggest you visit our new page on stop-start systems used in the Ram and expected to come to the Dart and 200.

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