Shitipedia: S is for Stop/start technology

Whatever happened to nice simple straight forward cars?

Every year I take my 22 year old Honda Civic for its MOT test and every year I cross my fingers that it will pass! I’ve looked for a new car for years, but they’ve all got stuff that costs lotsa dosh for extras that I don’t want, like SatNav and Bluetooth. Now we’ve moved on to the latest bit of Shitipedia – an engine that stops and starts when you’re not moving. Apparently, the Fourth Reich says we have to have this shit. I don’t want it and certainly don’t want to have to pay extra for it.

So what’s it all about? Well, it’s about saving the planet apparently. Official figures say that overall by not running the engine when the car isn’t moving it can improve your fuel consumption by ‘up to’ 3.5%. Wow! What a hell of a difference that cost saving will make! Book that holiday in the Maldives now!

But hang on a minute. That’s not actually a cost saving because you need a beefier battery. Your average car battery is about £70 but a beefier one to run this wonderful piece of technology comes in at around £160. And the average car starts up about 50,000 times over its life. This new wonder ups that 10 fold. This means your engine wears out faster.

So what it’s really all about is forcing you to replace your car more often, pay more for the new one, and buy more expensive and bigger batteries. All good for the motor industry but actually worse for you and definitely worse for the planet.

So all the carbon emissions you’re saving get used up in manufacturing extra stuff that you otherwise wouldn’t need to make. Apparently, research confirms that motorists are resistant to this particular bit of kit, but at the same time it confirms that they expect it! Says it all really!

Anyone know where I can get hold of a refurbished Volvo 240?…


15 responses to “Shitipedia: S is for Stop/start technology

  1. Mick Anderson

    You also have to chuck a load more fuel into the engine during starting. Even ignoring the extra wear on battery and starter motor, if the engine is stopped for too short a time, you waste more fuel than you save. There might be an advantage if the car systems could receive a signal from traffic lights so that the engine doesn’t stop if the lights are about to go green, but that’s just adding more technology to compensate for the lunacy that the existing technology is fostering.

    It’s all about fiddling the figures for fuel consumption, which is one of the reasons cars don’t have proper spare wheels any more – saves weight, improves calculated MPG. Not a good thing to leave out when the roads are as poor as they are around here!

    Apart from the ridiculous political (ly correct) targets which push engineering development in silly directions, we’re beginning to see completely unbelievable figures making the whole principle of standardised figures meaningless. The one that’s annoying me at the moment is the claimed 148mpg for the Mitsubishi Phev, which is allowed because any battery power not derived from burning fuel (like a hybrid, another silly idea) doesn’t count towards the figures. The Phev can be plugged in to the mains to charge it. If you want to drive from Southampton to Edinburgh at 148mpg, you’re going to spend a lot of time sitting at charging points loading the next few miles worth of electricity….

  2. Bernard from Bucks

    And it’s not without annoying problems either.
    A friend of mine, who has this system, tells me it will only work when the battery decides it has enough ‘charge’ in it. It’s a bit like my laptop ‘gives up the ghost’ when the battery level is too low.
    A car like this would ‘drive’ me ’round the bend’. 😉

  3. My (8 year old) car has this annoying start/stop system, but thankfully also has an override switch. Do more recent models omit the override?

  4. ” Not a good thing to leave out when the roads are as poor as they are around here!”

    The lack of any kind of road maintenance taking place in my corner of the UK is something that I’ve mentioned in passing elsewhere. On my daily commute there is a section that can only be described as ‘the remains of a road’. Every so often there appears a rectangular tarmac patch somewhere and occasionally a hundred metres of road gets a surface dressing. Otherwise nothing.

    On the subject of pointless technology, automatic handbrakes are another example, like it’s too much trouble to set the handbrake when you park your car.

  5. Tell ya what Dioclese. It’s got absolutely f*ck all to do with “emissions”, but plenty with filling the car manufacturers bank accounts.


    • Yep – I reckon that’s pretty much spot on. It’s like using ‘variable service intervals’ to force you to use a main dealer to service your car because only they can reset the fucking computer!

      My mate down the garage was showing me a car to computer lead for resetting the EMS on the car. It’s £150 and basically is just shorts two terminals across to make the lights go out.

      Car manufacturers are getting away with highway robbery if you’ll forgive the pun…

  6. Andrew Duffin

    “…any battery power not derived from burning fuel…”

    As if there is ANY battery power that is not derived from burning fuel.

    How do they think batteries get charged? The tooth fairy?

    • Mick Anderson

      Yeah, lazy typing…. You know I meant burning petrol or diesel put in to the cars fuel tank. You can charge a battery without burning fuel if you use any number of methods; hydro-electric, solar, wind to name just three. Nuclear uses fuel, but I don’t think you’d describe the method as “burning” it.

      Rapscallion: It’s sort of a consequence rather than a reason. The electronic systems are so integrated on a modern car that some features just require some firmware to be written. In this case it’s a stop/start system, but the same applies to safety systems such as traction control and stability control programs. No extra parts, just clever programming.

  7. My 30 year old car just passed it’s 27th MOT. Emissions @160ppm and 2.5% CO2

    • My wife’s 22 year old Honda also passed today.

      CO emissions zero, CO2 0.3%

      The cynical amongst us would wonder whether it’s because there’s no cat on it…

  8. My wife’s car has this stop start shite. I always assumed she was stalling it at the lights, but it’s a “feature”

  9. I still miss my Morris 1000

  10. Rob – I still have my morris 1000, I passed my driving test in it in 1968 when it was my father’s car and some years later when he wanted something newer I took it over. I’m currently renovating and overhauling intending to use it as my everyday car again – I’m sick of this overcomplex modern crap.

  11. Whenever I’m in the UK I always seem to get one of these piece of shit diesels palmed off on me by the hire company. Nowadays whenever I’m offered a diesel I refuse on the grounds that the bloody things always cut out in the middle of a junction or other dangerous location. Which is a tad risky, especially when you need to get out of the way sharpish.

    Don’t tell me the car manufacturers are applying this ‘technology’ to petrol engines now? No wonder the accident rate isn’t going down.