You arrive at a red light, your engine shuts down. When the light gets green, you lift your foot off the brake pedal, and the engine restarts itself, instantly and automatically. This is a great feature that comes standard in all hybrid cars, but you don’t need a car to be hybrid to do this. The only things needed are a stronger starting motor, a beefier battery, and some electronics to control everything. Every car on the road should do it. I believe they will someday.
That day may not be far off in Europe, thanks to Bosch, the huge German auto supplier. More than 1,500,000 cars with a Stop & Start system from Bosch are already on the road, and with more and more models equipped, their number shall rise quickly. From Volkswagen’s Golf (in Europe) to the Porsche Panamera, not forgetting the Mini and the Fiat 500, there’s now a large choice of cars available, for every budget.
Another fact that shall help Stop & Start spread, is that they are now available with an automatic transmission. They used to be restricted to manuals, or automated manuals, you can now get it on the latest Audi A8. Americans should enjoy Stop & Start systems then, but we’re still waiting for a mainstream American car that has one.