Ford Motors said on Monday that it will add an Auto Start-Stop system that shuts off the engine when a vehicle comes to a stop. This feature, currently found in Ford Fusion Hybrid and Ford Escape Hybrid and some Ford cars in Europe, will soon be added to conventional cars, crossovers and SUVs in North America.

For the driver, Ford Auto Start-Stop provides extra fuel efficiency without inconvenience, as it works completely automatically, said Barb Samardzich, Ford vice president of Powertrain engineering. And, just like in our hybrid vehicles, the heater and air conditioner work as normal so drivers will not sacrifice comfort.

Ford's patented new Auto Start-Stop system for gasoline engines will improve fuel economy for most drivers by at least 4 percent. The gain can be as high as 10 percent for some drivers, depending on vehicle size and usage, the carmaker said in a statement.

Ford has more than 244 patents for its Auto Start-Stop technology and will showcase the feature on a concept in January at the North American International Auto Show, it said. 

The global rollout of Auto Start-Stop is under way in Europe. The system, designed to work on both gasoline and diesel engines, is standard on the ECOnetic models of the Ford Ka and Mondeo, and is launching now on Focus, C-MAX and Grand C-MAX. The fuel-saving system debuts in North America in 2012 and eventually will be offered in all of Ford's global markets.

Auto Start-Stop uses an enhanced 12-volt car battery and upgraded starter motor and does not require any additional maintenance, Ford said. An electric pump will keep engine coolant circulating through the heater so drivers stay warm in cold weather. 

Our hybrid owners tell us that start-stop is one of their favorite features, said Sorgenfrei. When the engine is off, they know they are saving fuel and reducing emissions.