Sunday, August 12, 2012

Stop-Start Automotive Technology Gaining in U.S.

Feature is being added to more U.S. cars in 2013 model year

By Mark Huffman,

A technology that saves gasoline by stopping and starting the engine when a vehicle is idle is gaining ground in the U.S.

The stop-start system, a technology that shuts off a vehicle's engine when stopped in traffic, is fairly common in Europe and Japan. Lux Research predicts that more than eight million vehicles in North America will be equipped with engine stop-start systems by 2017.

As the name implies, the system shuts down the engine when the vehicle comes to a stop, such as at a traffic signal. It springs back to life when the driver touches the accelerator. With each start and stop it saves a few drops of fuel.

Around since the 80s

The technology has been around for a while -- as far back as the 1980s. But while 40 percent of the vehicles in Europe and Japan are equipped with the feature, it hasn't caught on in the U.S. But that's going to change, experts say, as more cars for the U.S. market are being equipped with the technology.

Currently all hybrid cars have stop-start capability but use a different technology than the systems on conventional powertrains. The first non-hybrid stop-start systems in the U.S. market are on 2012 highline vehicles from BMW, Mercedes and Porsche, according to AAA.

Jaguar is adding the system for the 2013 model year, as are popularly priced models from Ford and Kia. Even trucks will start to see some systems with Dodge adding stop-start to its V6-powered Ram 1500 pickup for a one mile per gallon fuel economy improvement.

Read the entire article here.

Anchorage, Alaska: Police report on fatal shooting leaves too many questions

Our view: Not good enough

By Anchorage Daily News

The Anchorage Police Department reports that the state Office of Special Prosecutions and Appeals has concluded that the fatal police shooting of Harry Smith in July was justified. Case closed?

Not quite.

Too many questions remain about this shooting. APD still hasn't explained exactly what happened. The assistant district attorney who reviewed the police investigation of the shooting says he can't explain what evidence led to his conclusion that it was justified.

Trust us, this man had to die, is not an adequate answer. Especially not in the third case of a fatal shooting by authorities this year.

This is no way for a police department to do business. The police work for the citizens of Anchorage. They are accountable to us. When they employ the power we've given them to use deadly force, they must be able to explain exactly why and how.

Read the entire article here.