Defeat Your Car’s Autostop Feature With A Little SwitchBot

These days, many new cars come with some variant of an “auto-stop” feature. This shuts down the car’s engine at stop lights and in other similar situations in order to save fuel and reduce emissions. Not everyone is a fan however, and [CGamer_OS] got sick of having to switch off the feature every time they got in the car. So they employed a little robot to handle the problem instead.

The robot in question is a SwitchBot, a small Internet of Things tool that’s highly configurable for pressing buttons. It’s literally a robot designed to press buttons, either when remotely commanded to, or when certain rules are met. It can even be configured to work with IFTTT.

In this case, the Switchbot is set up to activate when [CGamer_OS]’s phone is placed in phone mount, where it scans an NFC tag. When this happens, Switchbot springs into action, switching off the autostop function. It was set up this way to avoid Switchbot hitting the button before the car has been started. Instead, simply popping the smartphone in the cradle activates the ‘bot.

It’s a rather creative use of the SwitchBot. They’re more typically employed to turn on dumb devices like air conditioners or heaters that can otherwise be difficult to control via the Internet. However, it works well, and means that [CGamer_OS] didn’t have to make any permanent modifications to the car.

The design of the SwitchBot reminds us of the Useless Box, even if in this case it has an actual purpose. Video after the break.

Got real tired of turning this off every time I got in my car. from funny

207 thoughts on “Defeat Your Car’s Autostop Feature With A Little SwitchBot

    1. Because it’s bad for your engine. The oil film of the cylinders are tearing up. On every motor start there is more friction because of the missing lubrication. Also its bad especially for diesel particle filters. These features only exist to comply with emmision laws

          1. “Regardless of engine wear and tear it will definitley shorten the life of your starter.”

            Yes, but starters are *designed* wear items, and it’s not like tires where the wear item is fundamental to the cost. In fact, most research studies on start-stop systems focused entirely on (conventional) starter wear because engine wear is utterly negligible.

          2. Yeah, tires are a “wear item” all the same but you don’t see me doing a burnout at every stop light.

            You can treat “wear items” better and have a longer interval between failures, which is the entire point of this article.

            In addition, a starter replacement on any modern vehicle is going to be $1500+ with labour.

          3. “Yeah, tires are a “wear item” all the same”

            On tires the wear item is *fundamental* to the cost. As in, longer-lasting tires cost proportionally more.

            With starters the wear items are *not* fundamental to the cost: a 300k cycle starter does not cost 5 times more than a 60k starter, and a 600k cycle starter will not cost 10 times more.

            Meaning the starter wear cost contribution to the TCO of a vehicle is not strongly impacted by start/stop systems. There are plenty of economic studies out there detailing this. This is, of course, affected by manufacturing quality of each vehicle, but that’s true of anything.

          4. Okay, I will still not unnecessarily use cycles on a wear item.

            What you’re ignoring is that the actual cost of the starter is insignificant to the cost of replacing it, unlike tires. The starter itself is likely $300-400 if you return your core. Labour will be $1000 or more.

            Additionally, tire replacements benefit from a massive economy of scale, starters do not.

          5. Piston rings and engine bearings (and spark plugs, fuel injectors etc etc) are a wear item, you gonna make them do hundreds of unneccesary cycles instead?

          6. “What you’re ignoring is that the actual cost of the starter is insignificant to the cost of replacing it, unlike tires. The starter itself is likely $300-400 if you return your core. Labour will be $1000 or more.”

            Every car needs starters replaced. The question isn’t the cost of the starter replacement, it’s the marginal increase. The marginal increase for a properly-designed start/stop system is minimal.

            And, of course, if you swap to an ISG (which plenty of cars *do*) the whole “starter replacement” thing becomes a non-issue. Now it’s a higher up-front cost but lower operating.

            There are economic studies on this. Your numbers are also fairly off (about a factor of 2) based on actual market data.

          7. “Every car needs starters replaced”

            A starter can reasonably last the life of a conventional engine. The number of original starters I’ve pulled and used from junkyard cars confirms that they regularly do outlast most vehicles.

            “you gonna make [piston rings] do hundreds of unneccesary cycles instead”

            Yes, absolutely, with a massive preference for it. Engine internals complete several orders of magnitude more cycles than a starter is expected of.

            Another consideration is that starting a car not only stresses the starter. You are putting undue stress on every component of your engine as you yank it to life overcoming static friction that would otherwise not be encountered during running.

          8. We haven’t actually had to replace a starter on a car built this century yet, in the greater family fleet. Last one was a 98 Neon a decade back.

          9. “A starter can reasonably last the life of a conventional engine. The number of original starters I’ve pulled and used from junkyard cars confirms that they regularly do outlast most vehicles.”

            The life of a conventional *engine* is typically 500k miles. Cars in junkyards are typically there due to accidents, improper maintenance, or cooling system failure. Conventional starters aren’t going to get you to 500k miles.

            And again – how often (properly designed) starters get replaced in start/stop engines is not significantly higher. Certainly not enough to override the cost benefits if the system’s designed right.

            “You are putting undue stress on every component of your engine”

            No, you’re putting *different* stresses. If you design the engine for it, it’s not a serious concern. There’s plenty of research on this. The primary wear’s on the journal bearings, you can mitigate it with proper oil and surface formulation.

            There’s a difference between complaining about the technology (which isn’t fundamentally a problem) and implementations from certain manufacturers (which *can* be a serious issue).

            Of course you can have crap starters and crap engines which get blown apart by a start/stop system. We’ve had crap starters and crap engines which barely make it to 100k miles for decades, too.

          10. The vehicles you find in junk yards are vehicles with conventional amounts of use. Unless they were in an accident, they “died” of natural causes, where the cost to repair exceeded the salvage price. Normal vehicles have components fail that do not make financial sense to repair and are off the road well before 500k miles.

            I have no doubt that vehicles with auto start/stop have been specifically engineered to mitigate the affect of starting/stopping. But fundamentally, mitigate is all you can do. You are still subjecting components of the engine to much higher stresses than they would occur during operating. You will still have oil leak down from your bearings and that fraction of a second it takes to rebuild oil pressure will cause wear that would not normally occur during operating.

            And this extra engineering didn’t come for free, either. Start/stop engines will have extra components like oil check-valves, hydraulic tensioners, etc. that wouldn’t have otherwise be needed.

          11. This is literally my point! Cars with “typical” mileage won’t have any loss of function or increased cost due to engine wear or starter failure because the wear amount is negligible over the typical life of the vehicle!

            Yes, if you manage to keep a car running for 300k+ miles you’ll see additional wear. You might have to replace a starter. So what? For *typical* mileages it doesn’t matter. All you end up with is a pristine motor and starter in the junkyard, exactly like you said.

          12. It is not cooling down when you stop it, it is heating up. When the engine is running the water pump is running, and when the radiator gets hot enough the fan runs, the system stays cool. When you stop the car, the cooling system stops but the engine is still hot, so the engine actually gets hotter before it starts to cool down.

            Also, going straight at a stop sign or light is not too big a concern but as these things age and sputter and pop when they first start I think they are going to kill a lot of people making left turns. Not a good time to have the engine starting going into a left hand turn.

          13. None of your arguments matter if the planet is too hot for us to grow food and your too cheap and worry about a part replacement on a car that is literally designed to auto stop…. I’d hate to go out on a date with any of you big spenders!

          14. When it’s 100 degrees with 90% humidity here in Houston, sitting for 5 minutes at a red light, having the AC go on a finished cycle makes a huge difference.

          15. The big issue I see is with the lifetime of the battery. Almost everyone has had a battery “go bad” after parking and coming back or just starting up one morning. With shutdown and start you have a risk of bad battery causing you to be in the middle of a street blocking traffic if you cannot restart due to dying/weak battery that was not changed out.

        1. The thermal input difference between idling and off is less than between idling and getting up to traffic speed. 0-2kW and 2-30kW if you’re gentle with the pedal 2-150kW if you’re not.

          Most cars don’t even cool off enough to go back into open loop warmup mode inside 15 minutes in winter… though that’s a little below freezing calm day winter, -40 with a howling wind into the front it’s cools off in 2 or 3.

        2. My car auto restarts if I’ve been stopped for more than 2 minutes so it never gets cooled enough.

          I don’t mind the auto shutoff because I regularly drive on freeway and country where stops are few and infrequent. People who regularly gets stuck in bumper to bumper jam or in cities where you stop every block might benefit from shutting off auto shutoff option.

        1. The problem with responding to something like this is that yes, they’re correct, but it’s basically entirely pointless, *and* there are plenty of ways that the engine can be designed for it. Basically, modern automotive engines have such a ludicrously long (proper) wear life that even a 50% increase in wear rate should be totally unnoticeable. It’s a bigger deal for industrial applications. If you don’t maintain an engine properly, yeah, obviously, it can be terrible. Don’t do that.

          The bigger cost is of course the wear on the starter system, but that’s a design aspect: you can trivially extend the lifetime of a starter without increasing its cost.

          Granted, start-stop in a full hybrid system is a smarter option, since wear is a non-factor then.

          1. You are remembering the old 10-30W engines.

            Modern engines run on 20W and have racing style skinny rings. They aren’t lasting 250k like the old ones did…engines never typically lasted 500k. Excepting pre smog diesels.

            The worst are Toyota V8s. They hide the starter under the intake manifold. Mind boggling dumb, when did Toyota get bought out by the French?
            The best are hybrids, where the starter is the electric drive.

          2. “They aren’t lasting 250k”

            I’ve literally taken apart 250k engines under 10 years old (due to gasket failure). They’re beautiful. There’s like no friggin wear at all. It’s the materials, not the design.

          3. Pat:
            Maybe one…flukes happen. Highway miles etc.
            You claim is suspicious. Why would you fully disassemble a ‘beautiful’ engine that had a gasket failure? Makes no sense.
            Your ‘no wear’ claim makes me think you’ve never actually been inside an engine and are just reflexively in favor of government misregulations.

            I’m engineer, but many mechanics in family and circle of friends. Car durability is way down sense 20W and skinny rings. Even Honda.
            German cars now feature a perfect, precision Teutonic warranty timers. When the warranty is over, the engine blows, trans pukes, the doors break off and the interior attacks the passengers.

      1. The cylinder oil film depletes on the timescale of days, not minutes. Which is why if not driving a car much it’s better to get a battery tender than start it every 2 weeks to bring the battery up. Starts days apart might be dry starts, starts minutes apart are not.

        Also to cover oil paranoia myths in other comments, you really don’t need any oil pressure until the motor is over 1000 RPM and under load.

      2. I did 210k on an 2010 Audi A4 TDI and used the stop/start all the time. Everything on that engine was original except the fuel pressure rail valve and clutch+flywheel. Servicing was done on the standard 18k long life intervals.
        The high pressure fuel pump munching itself internally is what killed it. Known fault apparently and there was class action lawsuits in the USA.
        Speaking to many different mechanics at both backstreet and main dealers, none of them have known to ever really replace starters on stop/start vehicles.

      3. The inside of your cylinders will be coated with oil soon after initial startup. Do you really think your cylinders are going to dry up during a red light? I don’t.

        I have wondered about the starter, but from listening to these things I don’t think it’s a traditional starter. I don’t hear a solenoid. So I wonder if it’s a hybrid starter/alternator.

        1. The starter/generators are really the right way to go. Functionally it just makes it a mild hybrid type with a tiny battery: they often call them “micro-hybrids” in research papers. And the cost over an alternator is just negligible.

        2. They also have fairly decent electronic control, so they can stop the engine near tdc, so the direct injection combined with a spark will get most of the starting done and the starter just needs to give it a little bump. Nothing on the level of a cold start.

      4. Powertrain test engineer here for an OEM. We use more durable starters for stop start applications so durability is a non-issue. We also do specific start testing (thousands of starts) at various temperature to test for lubrication. So I personally would not worry about turning my stop-start off.

      5. They are not cold starts so what your saying really doesn’t apply. And cars are smart enough to start the engine again before any of the oil and lubrication has enough time to settle. The myths about auto stop features causing excessive sweat have been continually disproven.

      6. Simply, IT’S ANNOYING and saves minimal fuel for the consumer. It’s only purpose is to lower a manufacturers average mpg across their entire line to meet federal CAFE mandates.

    2. There are arguments over how useful this really is in terms of total cost of ownership. While it reduces fuel use by some amount, in increases wear on starter and battery. Some argue it is more about meeting specific EU emissions standards than overall reduction in cost.

        1. Rolling black outs will lead to an increased use of small dirty gasoline powered generators,like in developing countries like e.g. india. At that point the greens have shot themselves in the foot.

          1. Assuming rolling blackouts, and that power usage from cars isn’t time shifted to when power is normally least used (pre-dawn), and can more effectively use baseload power.

      1. On my 2.0 diesel, the original battery lasted 6 years, and the starter is in an easy-to-access location, and have lasted for 190.000 km. Sample size of 1, but so far i’m pleasantly surprised by it.

        For the very hot days where i disable it, it’s very obvious when sitting at red lights the “this trips fuel consumption” increases by several 0.1l’s pr 100km, so over 200.000km, maybe half that in cities, so over 100.000 km, 0.1l/100km becomes 100 liters. I’m pretty sure it saves more than that too, but yeah, if the starter has to be replaced even once, it isn’t worth the extra complexity.

        That being said, i can see how people find it annoying at times. If it just shut off, there’s a slight delay before starting again (I can hear some kind of pressure-release when it’s shutting off, likely to avoid vibrations), so especially in the US where full-stops are very common, where it will likely shut off every single time, but in Europe that’s not nearly as common. Those kinds of intersections have either become a traffic light, or a roundabout, where you can usually avoid stopping, or will be stopped for several 10’s of seconds.

        1. 1.6 diesel from March 2013, 190 000km too, only items that’ve been replaced is is one front spring and the cam belt. Battery I suspect is getting a bit old as the start/stop has been disabled for the last few months stating ‘battery charging’, then surprisingly it kicked back into action yesterday and was still alive today.

          I actually think the lack of driving during the last 2 years may have let the battery drain a bit more than it should, even driving 4 days a week, 85km a day didn’t seem to be enough to get it back to a happy state quickly. Interesting to see if it stays enabled.

          As for the disable switch, I have one but it’s never used. Being a manual car if I don’t want to activate, like I know the lights will be changing in a few seconds then I keep the clutch in. My ‘rule’ is if it’s gonna be off for less than 10s then keep the engine going.

          1. “My ‘rule’ is if it’s gonna be off for less than 10s then keep the engine going.”

            Yeah, that’s probably about right. Even for conventional cars the break-even point (with starter cost dominating) is typically ~60 s, and start/stop vehicles with 300k starters are right around 10 seconds or so. There are economic studies on this easily searchable.

        2. Mostly around here, I find it difficult to predict whether a stop is going to be 2 seconds or 2 minutes, so I only go engine off manually when it’s a train or lift bridge or something like that.

          However, in this time of high gas prices, if you did want to do it manually as a matter of habit, I would recommend you investigate putting a starter switch and a stop switch in parallel with conventional keyed ignition switches…. because those buggers wear out easily and are expensive to replace. Though do be sure you can’t start without the key still, or your ride might stray.

      2. I have a 12 year old car with this feature. Original battery, original starter motor, never had any mechanical issues.

        Note that disabling this may be illegal in some places, as it increases the car’s emissions.

      3. “While it reduces fuel use by some amount, in increases wear on starter and battery.”

        It *does* increase wear on those two things, but… they’re both designed wear items. Manufacturers have been cheaping the hell out on them for decades. Take apart a starter from a conventional car in the 2000s and it’s barely changed in decades. Also, the starter’s friggin’ dirt cheap. The only significant cost is in the labor, and making a starter easily replaceable is totally trivial. Some car manufacturers are just jerks.

        In other words, if the start-stop system of a car increases its TCO, it’s not the start/stop technology that’s at fault, it’s the fact that the car manufacturer is an idiot.

        Think of it this way. If you had to completely disassemble a manufacturer’s engine in order to change the oil, you could argue that changing oil isn’t useful to TCO. Better to just run the engine until it explodes and replace the car! But that’s because the manufacturer was an idiot, not because changing oil isn’t useful to lowering overall costs.

        There are absolutely designs out there for low-cost starters that can handle 600k+ start/stop cycles. This isn’t a technological problem, it’s just manufacturer inertia.

        1. So…. May e go DO IT instead of writing paragraph after paragraph about how it’s like zero time and zero money.

          Hey this guy is offering to replace everyone’s starte, he’s got money, and then he’s going to invent a better starter that sells for the same as one’s being built in existing factories. Just watch.

          1. Yes, I’m going to… invent a starter that’s been on the market for over a decade?

            Jeez, download a Bosch catalog. It’s literally on the second page!

        2. Corrosion and running the starter too long a period of time at once because you’ve not maintained your plugs or fuel system are what kills starters most.

          Captain Partswapper over there probably has no clue why he has to replace them because he doesn’t do a teardown each time, or averagely ever, where the number of times he might have done is not statistically signifcant.

          1. So to be clear, if you use remanufactured extended-life starters, I wouldn’t be surprised if those tended to fail prematurely. Conventional starters have brain-dead fail parts and you can probably remanufacture them in like, an hour. Extended-life starters probably fail a bit more spectacularly because the obvious wear points are gone.

            But the fuel savings for a start/stop system easily covers the price difference between a brand new and remanufactured starter. At least for the ‘simple’ one, I’m not so sure about the more aggressive coasting start/stop systems.

    3. I drive a lot and on most occasions it’s a nice feature to have but sometimes when there are a few cars ahead of you at a cross road and lets say one can turn right every 30 seconds or so the engine will shut down and restart every time you can move a little forward… when it’s your turn to wait to turn chances are your engine will stop as well and while it starts relatively fast it’s not instantaneous.. I’d like them to have a little feature such as hold the “cancel” button on the wheeldrive for it not to stop the engine sometimes…

      1. What if you leave a little bit of space so that you can keep rolling forward at a slow but constant speed? In theory that’s more efficient than coming to a complete stop anyway, regardless of engine shut off.

        1. That would be very awkward in a big city like Dallas, where you run into lots of 2-minute lights. I rented a car a few years ago with auto-stop–it was a lower-end Chevy, so maybe it’s not as bad on more expensive cars, but every time I’d press the gas after the engine went off there was a delay of about a second as the engine started. Also, in a hot Texas summer, the engine can go off long enough for the AC to start weakening.

    4. From the comments it seems like it’s a lot more intrusive on some cars than others, and automatic vehicles have a harder time determining the appropriate time to shut down compared to manual (where the clutch position gives a better idea of how quickly the driver is expecting to start accelerating again.)

      And there are people who are still labouring under outdated practises about keeping the engine running to reduce starter wear, even though modern engines are designed to mitigate that.

      1. No they are not designed to mitigate that, the starters are no different and now just die prematurely. (Source: I’m an autospark) also while automatic gearboxes have a provision to maintain oil pressure when stop starting, I’ve never seen such on an engine, so if you have , say, a marginal timing chain you really are giving it hell with each stop start. I understand the emissions side but it does an engine no favours to be stop started, irrespective of how new it is.

        1. “No they are not designed to mitigate that, the starters are no different and now just die prematurely. (Source: I’m an autospark)”

          Yes, obviously, if some idiot manufacturer/owner uses a crap starter, it’s absolutely gonna die prematurely. But… there are entire engineering reports out there on the changes in starter technology since start/stop systems were pushed.

          I mean, jeez, there are cars that don’t even *have* dedicated starters anymore (they have ISGs) because of this. And both Bosch and Denso have had enhanced starters for over 15 years.

          Google “In-market Application of Start-Stop Systems in European Market.”

          1. Normally I’m not one to quote a document I’ve just pointed people to, but:

            Bosch: “greater design strength such as strengthening of bearings subjected to heavy loading, improvement of planetary gear mechanism, strengthening of pinion-engaging mechanics, optimization of commutator for longer life,”

            Denso: “longer life due to development in electrical brushes, which results in up to 10 times higher durability compared to conventional starter. Denso also claims that development of unique structure and pinion spring mechanism has reduced friction between pinion and ring gear noticeably.”

            There are also completely different starter designs used, such as a tandem solenoid which allows for starter engagement when the engine’s still turning (by detecting the ring and pinion gear positions and engaging synchronously), as well as permanently engaged starters which are clutched.

            On the more bleeding-edge level, there are designs out there for low cost brushless starters as well.

          2. Well aware if the ISGs head many many MANY vehicles recovered in that stopped due to stop-start, then couldnt restart as they had thrown the auxiluary drive belt when the ISG kicked in. leaving the owner blocking a junction. and Had they had a conventional starter they could have got out of harms way. Like I say this isnt me reading a marketing brochure from bosch or denso, this it what I actually see. in the wild, you know, real life. and my god you better be sitting down when the ISG fails and you get handed the invoice. :)

          3. “Well aware if the ISGs head many many MANY vehicles recovered in that stopped due to stop-start, then couldnt restart as they had thrown the auxiluary drive belt when the ISG kicked in.”

            Wow, crappily designed implementation fails dramatically, so let’s throw out the technology? ECUs can fail at highway speeds and cause *really bad* situations. Should we get rid of them? And of course the Takata airbags literally *killed* people, so should we get rid of all airbags?

            Yes, belt-driven starter generators are prone to (dramatic) failure. Because they’re the cheap option and require tons of design effort to get right. Don’t buy cheap options in the early stages of technology deployment.

            I mean, any system with a critical belt is prone to dramatic failure. They should all have dramatically big warnings of “you need the belt checked/serviced every X miles or your entire car is in huge trouble.” Taking apart an interference engine that’s thrown a belt is always super-interesting.

            “this it what I actually see. in the wild, you know, real life.”

            Really? You’re replacing starters every 1-2 years in vehicles? Because that’s what it would be like if the starters were no better.

    5. Easy: for the driving experience – which is of course a personal thing. I own a car with start-stop, but I never use it. I have tried, it just gives me ‘no, thanks’ feeling. The car also has an eco-mode, basically slower/less sensitive response to the gas pedal. I drove like that for at least 2 years, but it is no fun. So once I disabled it I never wanted back.
      An unwanted feature is not really a feature.

    6. Well, here in the city where I live there are tons of traffic lights and the hesitation of auto stop is quite irritating when it happens a lot. Also, having worked on engines for years I am not so much worried about the starter which is easy to replace but this cannot be really good for the ring gear and that is quite a pain to replace. I don’t mind it if I am going to be stopped for quite awhile like a train but it is super irritating in stop and go traffic where you might be stopping a starting several times in a minute. Another time I hate it is when I am waiting to make a left turn in an intersection. You really do not want the hesitation it cause when trying to clear an intersection. If they were smart they should detect the left signal and disable auto stop/start when the left signal is on. It may not make sense to everyone but in order to get around in a large city you have to be cutting it close timing wise to travel efficiently.

    7. To keep your air conditioner running when it is 105 degrees outside and even hotter air is coming off of the road below you. While these things are annoying at intersections (to the UK reader, Arizona is a state where everyone shuffles into the intersection as the light order is different) they are the worst when it comes to keeping your vehicle cool.

      These suck in Tucson and they are miserable in Phoenix.

    8. On the Lincoln aviator this annoys me when trying to accelerate from stopping on a slight incline. I can never be in tune with what the car thinks and it either refuses to go or turns on and accelerates too much it’s very annoying maybe even a safety concern. Maybe other cars are better. Not to mention I’m in florida and need ax when stopped. The sad thing is it only gets slightly better mpg than the older v8 model

    9. I used to repair cars and yes, frequently starting and stopping engine is detrimental to the engine. It is actually a no brainer. For one, starter motor get worn faster (very unnecessarily, if I may add) and so are the rest of the components. Not the best of ideas, IMHO.

      And it is annoying as hell.

    10. Doing short duration roadwork. There are only so many starts in a battery when it’s not being driven far. Wasting them in traffic or at a light, means I may have to leave my truck running for 15 minutes while working once the battery gets low.

  1. I can think of 2 situation where you do not want the auto stop/start to be active:
    a) some part of the car are not designed for start/stop (e.g. from batterie type)
    b) the restart time of the engine is far to slow (some cars start faster than others)

    I also hate it if there are option that are reseted on restart -> my grandpa’s car has an aircondition that reactivate afer each engine restart.

    1. a) If you’ve a stop/start car and fit it with a battery not recommended for stop start, then that’s your fault, like replacing the oil with the wrong type. The car still runs, just not as good as it should. If it was fitted with a bad battery from the factory then you need to be looking at a different manufacturer that knows what they’re doing.

      b) If the engine isn’t fast enough starting then you’ve picked the wrong car. The only issue I have with stop start is starting on a hill and accelerating, there it seems to lack power initially and can stall.

      If weird things happen after the car restarts, then that’s a bug. Air con should remain in whatever state it was before the car stopped.

  2. its just annoying if you are driving in a town. zero benefit its just a way to reduce the number in some spec sheets. I had a car with this, some times it didnt start the car in time, sometimes it turned the engine off just to start it a second later. if you think “why would I disable this feature” you probably riding a bus.

    1. When you say “zero benefits” you mean zero benefits for you, right? Because when I’m on my bike behind your car in traffic, I can confidently list a big benefit of not breathing in your fumes.

        1. I’m not sure I follow – it hasn’t been designed to reduce emissions? How do you figure that one out?

          Yes, of course my positioning in traffic is dependent on the situation. Sometimes it is better to filter to the front and sometimes it is not. But, that’s not relevant. The difference between, say, 20 cars sitting at the lights idling versus sitting with their engines off is huge and very noticeable regardless of my positioning in said traffic.

        2. Because it is dangerous. I always stay behind first car in line. I can acellerate up to 30km/h faster than any car, but I cannot go much faster. It means that before I reach to the other side of intresection the car that was first will be overtaking me.

          Usually second car in line waits until first starts to move and only then the drivers push a clutch, engage gear and start to roll (which I, as a driver, don’t understand completly). That gives me enough time to get off the intersection.

  3. Pour one out for the erstwhile Chevy Volt. It’s architecture divorced the engine entirely from the drivetrain almost all of the time. Whether the engine ran or not was entirely dependent on battery state. And as a series hybrid (again, most of the time), it was an EV first.

    1. Walk:
      It is 30 kilometers from my house to where I work (on days when I can’t work from home.)

      It is 30 kilometers through hilly terrain with no bike trails between my house and where I work. This would mean riding a bike on a federal highway for most of the distance – competing with cars and trucks.

      It’s a ten minute walk from my house to the bus stop, then a 20 minute ride to the train station. From there it’s twenty minutes to the town I work in. Once there, it’s a twenty minute bus ride across town or a half an hour walk.

      “Move to where you work” doesn’t work. For most of the time, the rent on a house in the town I work in was double what I was paying on the mortgage of the house my wife and I built.

      The whole world ain’t built around “walk, bike, train.”

      By the way:

      This is in Germany. It is much more public transportation oriented than the US – and it still sucks to use public transportation. If you don’t live right smack in the middle of the public transportation nets, it does you no good. If you do live where the nets are good, you can’t afford to do anything anyway. Rental and home/appartment prices are highest where public transportation is good.

      1. While I do agree public transport isn’t always practical even in Europe where the infrastructure isn’t completely awful if you have a nice stable job you can always find a few spaces to live that public transport or cycling will get you there practically (Or so it seems to me for Europe), and usually not costing you heaps more to live at – remember the travel has costs to add in too but being out in the cheapish areas but on a more direct bus/train route aught to work out much cheaper than a car from a further out cheaper area. So for those without any tethers locking their home to where it is its certainly possible to find a space that works.

        Also that heap of 20 min rides doesn’t sound that bad to me, when I know folks that have commuted where just the primary train journey is about as long as your combined entire trip – and its not like you can’t fill the time on the move useful or enjoyably – read a book!

        1. I have commuted by train where it took me nearly two hours to get to work. No, thanks.

          I read at the rate of an entire novel in about three hours – I can’t find that many good books often enough to read a new one every three days. I’ve re-read most of my more than 500 novels dozens of times each.

          I have things to do other than sitting on my butt in a train for hours on end.

          Driving to work takes me about 30 minutes. The total of one hour leaves me time to do other things at home.

          Minor things like raising kids (though they are grown now, that was a major consideration for most of the last 20 years.)

          I could (and did) work on software on a laptop while commuting by train. It is a pain. Just as you get into the flow of things, you’ve got to change trains or get off the train and board a bus.

          Been there. Done all the things that public transportation proponents propagate. It sucks.

          1. Never said it was perfect or as convenient as driving can be, but there are folks that choose it – and in many ways if you have to work somewhere as near to hell as London I can see why you would, hour or two on trains and tubes (with your kindle unlimited library – I too read quickly so e-books it has to be, as the shelves are groaning with dead trees as it is) seems a small price to pay to live somewhere less awful for however long you can stomach working there, which if your job is interesting could be a rather long time…

          2. “Been there. Done all the things that public transportation proponents propagate. It sucks.”

            So in other words, you used public transportation in an environment where public transportation sucks and everything is geared to make personal transportation easy. And you’re surprised that it sucked?

            Of course public transportation sucks. We spend billions – literally, billions – to make sure that personal transportation is super-fast and basically nothing to make sure public transportation is.

            Just imagine if there were literally zero roads available in a downtown area where people worked. If you wanted to drive, you had to park, say, 2 miles away and walk in, but there were public transportation terminals throughout the interior. Everyone would say “oh my god, driving sucks.” (We call this “a city.”)

            Public transport isn’t fundamentally worse or better. It’s just not funded and personal transportation is.

          3. “As an American who spends 10x more tax on driving than I do on public transportation, I can confirm that public transportation just doesn’t have the money or right of way to be convenient”

            Hahaha yeah. And?


          5. @TAM well that will very much depend on what you read too – Read something like a Harry Harrison story it won’t take 3 hours, as his stories are usually remarkably to the point action filled affairs with just enough drinking, depression and smoking to both date the book and provide some down time for the charecter to figure out their next daring plan. The more ‘standard’ length books are of course somewhat longer (and if they are that more puzzle/mystery with interesting hints perhaps a bit extra to ponder as well if you feel like it) and the whole of something like Lord of The Rings or the increasing misnamed many parts of the Hitchhikers guide to the Galaxy Trilogy…

        2. No, I can’t see time wasted in a train as useful. Also not everybody likes it to be stuck into a full train. In my car or on my motorbike I have always a free seat :-)

          1. Not really free as just the seats existence costs. Though I do see and somewhat agree with your point, I’d still say its only wasted time if you lack the imagination or choose to make it so – really its just slightly more constrained time you can use for a great many things, by the standards of pandemic lockdowns…

          2. For any mode of transportation I have a simple rule. Only one asshole can be in the cabin at any given time. Since I am a self described asshole the threshold is met. Travelling on public transportation with the dregs of society is almost guaranteed to include other assholes so I’ll just drive

        1. given that he’s in Germany, the toxic gasses are being farted out by the massive coal powerplants since they decided to shut off several GW worth of nuclear…

      2. I think there should be more effort to have a full coverage “Tree” of public transport, with all levels co-ordinated from the leaf and twig to the main trunk… the trunk might be rail or high capacity buses, whereas the leaf and twig might be shared minivan taxi type shuttles, smaller buses for branches.

        Though the biggest problem in public transport networks is when you want to go maybe only 60 miles across the net, but you can only go 80 miles down to a hub and back up again to get there. If the links are high speed and cheap, it might be less annoying to the passenger, but it would take some figuring to see if it is less efficient to have economy of scale on those trunk routes to the hub, but cause uneccessary passenger miles, vs less economy of scale and higher cost/mile on a shorter cross link.

        1. Really its that cheap point that matters, as if it saves you a great deal of money the minor inconveniences of less direct travel, and probably longer trip times are paid back – right now UK rail travel is often so expensive the only reason to use it is that it actually runs very much where you want to go with very little walking/bus, and it has been that way a long time, didn’t the Top Gear Muppets do and succeed at a challenge to buy a car, insure and fuel it and do the same journey cheaper 15 odd years ago?

          The UK’s public transport I would say has declined somewhat in my lifetime, but its still pretty damn capable, just often too expensive so folks won’t use it if they can avoid it, which makes it yet more expensive as you are running close to empty services much of the time just to have services often enough they might get used, where drop the price and you would have to lay on extra service at peak times and be running much more full (Even more so now while fuel is so pricey) the rest of the day.

    1. My most annoying start-stop experience was in an rental Renault where start-stop couldn’t be deactivated. Each stop start the media system reset to 100.0MHz FM radio. There was no station there. It didn’t matter what was used. Media off? Start the radio. Map? Radio on, and have to select the map view again, which had to load. Horrible in a city. Bluetooth music? Radio on. Tap on the screen to select it again. Utterly horrible. I hope an update fixed that eventually, but that the car was actually sold with that? What the hell were they thinking?

      Several work cars have start stop, and a more sane version. Still, found other cars with bad habits, like always started the radio and music even if it was turned off before. Even turning the volume down low resetted each time the car was actually stopped. And that was a Volvo.

      Start-stop has it’s use, but man can it be annoying as few other things. Not having start-stop was important when my last car was bought.

      1. Also, in winter conditions, it might be very annoying as the cold and constants restarts simply drains the battery. That can be bad enough without stop-start. Having to connect and charge the battery, when you actually live in an apartment without somewhere to do that charging?

      2. Cheaper small cars (renault, peugeot, citroen, fiat etc) have token gesture stop start, its garbage and slow. but what you experienced isnt right, id almost bet the car you drove was in “transport mode” where a solid link that looks like a fuse was in the dealer delivery position and not the end customer position. the idea is it disables all paracitic draws during dealer delivery and up to Pree-delivery inspection, but on handover should be changed. I see this a surprising amount as its easy overlooked.

  4. The autoshutoff feature on my 14 Skoda Octavia, 1.6 diesel (and most others I assume) will disable if battery voltage is low. So in my case I got hold of a OBD-usb cable and managed to raised the voltage threshold for the autoshutoff feature to a higher voltage than the battery will ever be able to provide, and bum-bada-bing autoshutoff feature circumvented :)

    Messing with the OBD it seemed to me that the location of such data will differ from car to car and manufacturer to manufacturer – so I don’t think it is possible to write a general tutorial in how to accomplish this.

    1. If you’re not careful, you could end up lieing about battery voltage to other system components and either have the battery run too low and shorten life, or boil from overcharging.

      1. he changed the stop start threshold, he did not tweak or alter the ability of systems to monitor battery voltage. Assuming he did what I think he did as its a common way to neatly disable it.

  5. I hate auto-stop. I drive mostly in urban traffic. I hate it so much the last car I bought was used, specifically because it doesn’t have auto-stop. Auto-stop is not only bad for the engine and the environment,it’s down-right dangerous. I used to drive a rental for a significant amount of time and it had mandatory auto-stop. On many occasions it would auto-stop in the middle of a busy intersection while I’m waiting to turn. That’s NOT GOOD!.

      1. I’d like to think the Hackaday were more data driven than the average punter, but judging by some of the comments on here, I’m not convinced cold hard facts will change any minds!

        1. Are you allowed in the US to stop at the middle of an intersection (waiting to turn)?

          In most European countries, you are not allowed to stop on an intersection. If you can not leave it, you have to wait before the intersection.

          1. Say what? I am not digging through traffic codes of all the countries, but following your reasoning:
            if you want to turn left – you wait in front of the light, becuse cars form other side are taking space. Then they stop, but it is because of the red light that also happens to turn on on your side. So you’re stuck forever. Ort until 23:00 when some of the list switch to “blinking yellow mode” and intersections become sign-driven.

          2. Having driven the godawful road design of the US, there’s often no other choice but to drive into the intersection and then wait to turn. Because if you don’t you’ll be waiting at a green light for the intersection to clear, by which time your light will be red again. But that’s an infrastructure problem and somehow few US-ians seem to realize just how terrible their road infrastructure actually is, preferring to blame things like stop-start problems on the system rather than the bigger issue and leading cause that simply shouldn’t exist in the first place.

          3. @J_B said: “Are you allowed in the US to stop at the middle of an intersection (waiting to turn)?”

            Yes, provided you can safely complete the turn. That’s how it is here in Florida anyway.[1] It should be noted that with mandatory auto stop-start enabled, my experience has taught me it is NEVER SAFE to enter an intersection to perform a left turn. Auto stop-start should be banned:

            1. Can Florida drivers legally move into an intersection while they wait to make a turn? Trooper Steve Montiero answers viewer questions.


            It is allowed to go out into an intersection prior to making your left turn as long as the traffic signals allow it. The problem occurs when a driver goes out into that intersection and now can’t complete their action because of some stopped traffic ahead,” Trooper Steve said. He wants everyone to remember that you should not begin a traffic maneuver, such as a turn, unless you can finish it, “especially within an intersection.”

    1. You should not enter an intersection if you re not certain you can make it through i.e; you shouldn’t be putting yourself in the situation of stopping in an intersection that often, regardless of the features of your car.

  6. I am astonished at the amount of hate for start-stop functionality in this group. There is a lot of FUD about batteries, starter motors and engine heating cooling which are simply not true. Next time you’re sitting in traffic with your engine idling, spare a thought for the pedestrians, cyclists and people living in that area who have to breath in your noxious fumes. It isn’t all about YOU.

    1. I’m amazed at the FUD from people who aren’t car owners or have never driven a car with the auto start/stop feature…

      Yes in certain conditions it reduces emissions but in many others (depending on implementation) it’s either annoying or borderline unsafe and offering very little benefit to anyone.

      Yes in heavy traffic it’s sensible that the engine cut out if you are likely to be sat idling for a while (and this should be true for everyone and should be pushed more), but in stop/go traffic or briefly rolling up to a stop sign it’s very annoying, saves nothing, and as other commenters have said, it can lead to stalling or just unexpecedly pausing which is irrittating and dangerous if you’re trying to get across a busy junction or the car behind you doesn’t realise you just stalled (I bet ASS doesn’t put the brake lights on if it does that).

      1. Why do you assume they aren’t car owners? I own two cars so I think I am qualified to express an opinion on them.

        There is an Engineering Explained video called “Americans Have No Idea How Much Fuel Idling Uses” that has some good data in it. One study, that Jason talks about, found that the breakeven point for stopping the engine rather than idling it is just 7 seconds.

        IME stop-start is very predictable and you just need to adjust/improve your driving style to have some control over it. I’m sorry if adjusting your behaviour is a tiny inconvenience to you, but as I said, it isn’t all about you.

        1. If you’re sitting at a light for more than seven seconds without moving, blame your city.

          It seems like what you’re actually saying is “in most cases (which are less than seven seconds) this might make things worse.”

          1. That is another problem with auto start/stop: The time when it designed ot stop.
            If thre breakeven point is a 7 second stop it is not good to just count the first 7 seconds after at stop and then kill the engine.
            Because if the stop is only 8 second you would have to restart the engine right after 1 second in this senario.
            To solve this the car has to know in advance how long the stop will be.
            So there need to be some communication between the cause of stop and the car/driver.

            Easiest way might be to make a red phase counter mandatory on each traffic light. Than the driver knows how long the stop would be and can decide if killing engine is feasible.
            => some cities have such duration indicators but good luck to implement them in a wider range

            The best way to stop waisting fuel is to stop using it altogether.

            Also there is a real extrem method to stop polution: Forbid having kids, once no more children are born the polution caused by humanity will slowing go to zero.

          2. “To solve this the car has to know in advance how long the stop will be. So there need to be some communication between the cause of stop”

            There’s some intelligence built in to try to predict the stop length. That’s partly why they seem so fussy.

            In truth though, with start/stop systems the fuel consumption break even point’s a lot shorter, since the ECU’s designed to handle it better. The driving economics are primarily in the starter/battery.

            “Easiest way might be to make a red phase counter mandatory on each traffic light.”

            For the most part just watch the opposing traffic light. Although I do agree I’d *love* to have a visible “red is going to change” indicator.

  7. In my case (2016 Mazda 2 Diesel) it is a perfectly suitable solution to just fix the button in the pressed position. So i squeezed a little cutoff from an old credit card in the small gap between button and frame… Now it automatically disables the autostop a few seconds after starting the car… too easy ;-)

  8. The issue with start-stop logic is that it does only work 99.9% of the time. That 0.1% is enough to annoy the driver. This means that every day or two it will do something stupid eg.: stall the engine when starting, or stop it at the wrong moment.
    It regularly stall on me while trying to do a hill start for example When I’m releasing the clutch it tries the start the engine the moment when the resistance is large enough that it can’t -> stall. Or it shuts down the engine when stopping at a stop sign for 1 second. Or if it fails to stop the engine at the right crank position: it needs another full turn of it to restart making it a ~1-1.5 second process. If it manages to stop at the right position then it restarts in half a second.
    Also, in urban traffic it just kills the battery fast. It’s active for like 3-5 minutes (10-15 stop-starts) then the battery voltage becomes too low.

    1. “The issue with start-stop logic is that it does only work 99.9% of the time. That 0.1% is enough to annoy the driver. This means that every day or two it will do something stupid ”

      If it works 99.9% of the time and does something stupid every day or two, you’re averaging 750 starts/day and you’ll be buying a new starter every year.

      I think your numbers might be a bit off.

      “Also, in urban traffic it just kills the battery fast. It’s active for like 3-5 minutes (10-15 stop-starts) then the battery voltage becomes too low.”

      This isn’t a problem with the technology, it’s a problem with the manufacturer. It’s not hard to figure out how much battery capacity is present and ensure there’s standard reserve. Designing a battery to handle this isn’t a terribly difficult problem nowadays.

  9. So this entire hack just shifts the location of the disable button from the center console to the phone cradle, and introduces at least two new points of failure (phone, switchbot) because we’re upset that we have to press one more button? Sounds like pouting with extra steps.

  10. Hybrids use start stop based on battery charge. I don’t even notice it in my Prius and the AC compressor is electric, so I don’t deal with no A/C during the engine shutdown. No problems getting through intersections or anything else. I think Hybrids are a good step for vehicle technology and have been proven to work exceptionally well. Why the idea of electric cars is being shoved down our throats I’ll never understand. Isn’t any vast improvement to the MPG of a vehicle a WIN for the green energy movement?

    1. “Why the idea of electric cars is being shoved down our throats I’ll never understand.”

      I can help here. Hybrids are a marginal gain at best (“vast” is a bit of an exaggeration) and don’t provide enough of a change that is required to stop or even mitigate catastrophic, man-made climate change. Whilst current BEV technology has issues (mining of rare materials for example), it allows a fundamental shift in personal transport paradigm where we remove billions of mini, inefficient power plants from cars that often exist in the same places as people, to remote areas where the power plants are firstly much more efficient and secondly easier to replace with sustainable alternatives (such as nuclear).

      1. I had a compact car (2008 Honda Fit) that if I played at hypermiling on my commute it got 33 MPG.
        I now have a 2013 Toyota Prius, with as much room and more comfort features than I had in the FIT and I’m getting 47 to 53 MPG. The newer Prius Prime gets even better mileage. So if it’s marginal it’s a very WIDE margin.

        But until the questions about how we are to deal with electric vehicles are answered, and you pointed out some of my concerns, I’m a firm believer in moving to hybrids. What I don’t want is a fire in a car to be an environmental disaster because of the lithium batteries. You change the passenger cars over to electric without some way to mitigate the fire potential, and we’re going to be worrying about something a whole lot bigger than climate change. Superfund sites all over the highways.

        But you fix those issues and make the price and range right….and start building gen IV nuclear plants…I’ll drive an electric vehicle no problem.

        1. The Nissan Leaf has an eMPG of 153 mpg – now that’s what I would call a “vast” improvement versus your Fit. Other modern fossil fuel cars can easily do 47 to 53 MPG.

          Don’t worry too much about BEVs catching fire. I can’t deny they take longer to put out if it does happen but they also happen much less frequently than cars with a large tank of highly flammable liquid and there isn’t really an “environmental disaster”.

          But yes, more investment is needed in sustainable, predictable power generation (i.e. nuclear), road-side infrastructure as well as consideration for those without off-street parking.

          1. What good is 153 mpg if a BEV is not even considered as an option for some people because of inherent limitations?

            In places with cold climates where population is less dense and things are further apart, 200km commutes are non uncommon. Just this last month I’ve done a 1200km day trip and a 800km day trip to attend events. No EV can handle this even under ideal conditions, and ranges are cut in half when it’s -40C outside.

            There are plenty of people like me who would love a hybrid to get around town, with the backup of an ICE for extreme cold and long road trips.

            The arrogance of “hybrids aren’t good enough” is just so ironic. Instead of supporting two products, a BEV and perhaps a plug-in hybrid to suite the needs of a massively varying population, you actively try to defeat an option that would get someone who otherwise would drive a ICE for the rest of their life into something more economical. Pretty sad.

          2. “Other modern fossil fuel cars can easily do 47 to 53 MPG.”

            Yes, and a motorcycle can get 80+ mpg easily, but there are realistic safety and practical concerns as to why you can’t get 50+ mpg with a straight fossil fuel engine in the US.

            The highest conventional ICE vehicle available in the US gets just around 40 mpg and far less in city traffic (and is commonly referred to in reviews as a death trap due to its poor acceleration). Forced hybrid adoption would likely cut passenger transportation emissions by 50% in the US and CO2 emissions from passenger transportation isn’t a serious enough contributor that forcing money into the system helps.

            Just do the math. In 2020 passenger vehicles put out about 600M mt CO2. Cut it in half, and it’s 300M mt CO2/yr. Total net US CO2 emissions were 5222M mt, so it’d now be 4922M mt with passenger vehicles making up 6%.

            In other words, if the entire US passenger fleet were hybrid vehicles, going from hybrids to magical non-emitting vehicles would save a grand total of 6% of the US’s CO2 emissions.

            Forcing the entire US fleet to convert would be a huge monetary investment, and it’s a poor way to use that money. You’d be better off taxing people and using that money to convert to non-polluting power plants.

          3. @Jared, I’ve got a great idea: If a BEV isn’t suitable for your needs then don’t buy one. Doing a 1200km day trip is hardly typical usage is it? (on a side note, driving for ~12 hours in a day seems like a pretty dangerous thing to do)

            I never said Hybrids should be “defeated”. I never said BEVs were the only answer. There was no arrogance in my comment. But for many, many people a BEV is a better option than a hybrid.

            One thing I don’t understand – why would you need an ICE as a backup for a hybrid? A hybrid has an ICE and can just be used like a regular ICE, no?

        2. So, you refuse to drive an electric car before all preceived issues are resolved, while simulteneously advocate for more nuclear powerplants before the issues of nuclear waste disposal are resolved?

          People don’t always realize doing nothing also has a cost and creates issues later on, which are often worse than the issues/costs for making a change.
          Those people will never understand “why” hybrid is a dead and going full electric isn’t.

          1. “So, you refuse to drive an electric car before all preceived issues are resolved, while simulteneously advocate for more nuclear powerplants before the issues of nuclear waste disposal are resolved?”

            Yes, because it’s got a much bigger lever arm. Converting the entire US fleet to electric vehicles overnight would have a much, much smaller effect than converting the entire US power generation infrastructure to non-polluting.

            Electric cars use, on average, about 1/3 kWh per mile. For 1.4 trillion miles/yr, that’s 466 billion kWh, or a 10% increase in the average US electrical load, which would add 155M metric tons of CO2. The US passenger fleet currently uses 600M mt.

            So converting the entire US fleet saves ~450M mt of CO2, or ~10%. Converting the entire US power generation saves 1500+M mt, or nearly 30%.

          2. Using Gen IV reactors and new molten salt designs the amount of nuclear waste for power produced is miniscule compared to what we see with any other power generation process (green technologies included).


            Hybrids dead? No. Still being marketed. Problem is the information being pushed out is “go electric because it doesn’t pollute at all” Except, it does. Until power generation is changed to all non-CO2 emitting sources, there’s Carbon Dioxide going into the air for that BEV. With line losses, how much is it REALLY less than a hybrid?

            So, thanks to clever marketing techniques, you’re paying more for a car with less range, longer recharge/refuel times, that STILL pollutes, just does it somewhere else. The ultimate NIMBY mobile. “I feel great, my car doesn’t pollute here it does it somewhere else!” It makes the owner feel good about themselves, it doesn’t really fix the problem, it distorts it.

          3. “Hybrids dead? No. Still being marketed. Problem is the information being pushed out is “go electric because it doesn’t pollute at all””

            I don’t like arguing against the fact that EVs are a good long-term solution to short-range commuting. They are. It’s a good idea.

            The problem is that that’s not what’s being pushed upon US consumers. Instead we’re getting this heavy push for *long-range* EVs, which… doesn’t make sense. They’re extremely high cost and the heavy demands put on the battery means that you’ll never get economies of scale because every new generation is a totally new battery design (which is *already* what you see).

            Oh, and the other problem is that they suck up huge amounts of battery production, which, as Tesla *correctly* guessed, is the limiting feature for worldwide adoption. Think about it: for every 100 kWh vehicle you build, you could build 10x 10 kWh PHEV vehicles which would get you very damn close to the emissions reduction of the single 100 kWh vehicle. (And don’t even get me started about the longevity issues when trying to shove megawatts into a damn battery).

            The fact that California talked about a full ICE ban straight away rather than doing, I dunno, *intelligent* things like heavy taxing trucks/SUVs to discourage their purchase (or restricting *their* sale, f’crying out loud) or going incrementally to allow it to happen faster just tells you this is all about optics more than anything else.

          4. “Hybrids dead? No. Still being marketed. Problem is the information being pushed out is “go electric because it doesn’t pollute at all””

            That’s a bad way to think about it. EVs are a good long-term solution, but dumping so much money into them right now is just dumb. Let the market get there by itself. At this point for new vehicles it’s a status symbol and the market’s turned, you can phase out EV tax credits no problem.

            It’s the existing fleet that’s the problem. The average age of a US vehicle is over 10 years old. That’s what people can afford.

            Think about it. They’re talking about upping the EV tax credit to $12,500 in the US. Imagine if you offered a $2000 tax credit to swap from an older used SUV to a passenger hybrid. *Any* passenger hybrid. Even used. You’d have a far larger effect on the US fleet CO2 consumption, which is all you should care about! And as the US fleet’s gas consumption goes down, you can increase taxes (keeping price constant) and use that to fund power plant changes.

          5. Tax credits are a joke. Depending on how much you’re making, it’s not an incentive at all. I was considering buying a Chevy Volt when I got the Prius, but I couldn’t get a decent answer on how much the tax credit was going to do for me, and meanwhile I’m buying a car that was $7k over the cost of the Prius. Call it a rebate on the purchase price of the car WHEN I purchase it and then I’ll make my decision.

          6. “Tax credits are a joke. Depending on how much you’re making, it’s not an incentive at all.”

            That’s why I said it’s (currently) a horrible use of money. Handing $10,000 to a person with large disposable wealth to encourage them to buy *1 extremely expensive car* differently is nuts. You could hand $2K to 5 people who have significantly less disposable wealth and get significantly higher payback. Last time I checked, “1 person/135 mpg + 4 people/30 mpg” is higher than “5/50 mpg”.

            But, of course, if you did that and allowed *used* cars to qualify, you wouldn’t be juicing auto manufacturer’s wallets, so we know how likely that is.

        3. Hahaha wow imagine thinking that a car fire is worse than climate change.

          Just hurry up and get where you’re going boomer, so we can clean up your mess without you also making more.

          1. Localized poisoning of the environment will have an effect. Superfund cleanup of an area is certainly a concern.

            And the only reason the fires aren’t being seen as a problem is because the penetration of BEV is so low, with full scale adoption the number of fires will be nearly the number of fires seen in ICE vehicles, that’s a lot of environmental cleanup.

        4. What?
          . You use not a single NUMBER in your entire “argument” and you expect to be taken seriously.

          Besides that, I’m not convinced the ecosystem will survive climate change. And I’m not convinced civilization will survive ecosystem collapse. And I’m not sure humans will survive the end of civilization, at least not without losing what made us human.

          So your fires do not compare. At all. It’s just another in a long list of excuses. You learned from experts you’ve trusted experts your entire life, but you find has convenient so you know better than experts in this case, where it comes down to convenience vs hurting others after you’re that one case, you can know more than experts without bothering with a single number.

          1. Your opinion, not mine. Until I see the industry address the charging issues and the fire suppression issues I will not purchase an all electric vehicle. If the technology changes and nuclear is adopted as a large part of the CO2 mitigation plan for the future, I’ll consider it.

            But while the CURRENT numbers say “electric vehicles catch fire less often than gasoline powered vehicles” I am concerned when the fleets in service become higher percentage BEV that the number will change, and the difficult to extinguish, exceptionally hot fires that Lithium Ion technology is known for will become a real problem. Chevy Bolts CANNOT park in the Airport garage near me. That will get your attention when picking someone up.

      2. If you build a nuke power plant by subscription, you’d have to charge about $20,000 per for a 1kW share, 24kWh/day.. and need 2M ppl to sign up… then figure out how you’re gonna pay a couple hundred workers when you’re not selling the output. (Actually that might not work out so bad, $20 a year maintenance fee maybe) .. and the ppl who bought in would only breakeven in 25 years. (Assuming 10c/kWh) So yeah, with hybrids your hump around genny probably puts $5000 or less on the sticker and you can have about 100kW when you need it.

        1. Overnight costs for building a nuclear plant are currently on the order of $2500/kW. Replacing the entirety of the US’s power generation (~1B kW) would therefore cost, up front, around $2.5T and save 1500M mt of CO2 per year. Replacing the entire US fleet of ~250M vehicles would cost $8.75T at $35K per and save 450M mt of CO2 per year.

          This obviously is a terrible direct comparison (the US replaces its fleet on a much more rapid timescale, and it’s only the marginal cost increase that matters) but scale-wise if you’re talking about trying to inject money into the system to accelerate technology adoption, throwing money at the passenger car industry (which is what tax credits do!) isn’t a smart tactic.

          1. Actually a better comparison might be to just use the 7500 USD tax credit value (which is what the US government is currently functionally injecting), which would put it as 1.9T to save 450M vs 2.5T to save 1500M.

            And I don’t even think nuclear’s a great option! But in terms of money it’d be a way better return.

      3. Hear hear! My local grid hit 6g of co2 per kwh briefly yesterday. 6. That makes even an inefficient EV emit about 100x less co2 per mile than a reasonable petrol car (2 vs 200g per mile, 50mpg where a gallon is 4.5 litres). Today’s peak is 64g.

        Show me a hybrid that can do hundreds or ideally thousands of miles per gallon, that’s what it’d take to keep me interested in petrol.

        1. Passenger car emissions just aren’t a serious enough contribution to justify whole-scale elimination. Doesn’t make sense.

          If we got rid of CO2 emissions from every other source and *only* had passenger car emissions for the entire planet scaled to US levels, the world would be emitting at 1960s levels (and that’s insane, not every country is as badly-designed as the US for transportation systems).

          Halving the current US average fuel consumption for passenger vehicles (so 50 mpg) would take that to early 1900s levels.

          I’m not saying EVs aren’t good long-term, they’re just not a serious short or even medium-term solution. The problem’s way, way bigger than that.

          1. I don’t really buy this. Firstly, it’s not just about CO2 emissions, its about air quality in general. ICE cars emit toxic gases and particulates at lung-level in the places we live. BEVs do not.

            Transportation is a significant proportion of CO2 emission (about 20% in my research), and 45% of it comes from passenger vehicles.

            But there is no “one solution” to CO2 emissions. Sometimes I hear people say that we (in XYZ country) shouldn’t bother addressing the problem until China does, until India does, until the US does and so on. The truth is we all need to make changes across many different areas of our life. There isn’t one magic bullet and people would be foolish to believe that BEVs were it.

          2. “ICE cars emit toxic gases and particulates at lung-level in the places we live.”

            Not on long-distance drives. A plug-in hybrid would get you zero emissions in populated areas and emissions in unpopulated (well, lower-populated) ones too. A vast increase in public transportation systems in populated areas would do the same thing as well.

            “Transportation is a significant proportion of CO2 emission (about 20% in my research), and 45% of it comes from passenger vehicles.”

            Last time I checked, 20% times 45% is 9%. Focusing money on 9% of the problem is a bad plan, especially when you’ve got a method to get it to 4-5%.

            “But there is no “one solution” to CO2 emissions. ”

            I’m not saying there is. I’m saying that if you want to make people pay money (which is what forced EV adoption or tax credits for EVs does!) to deal with climate change, you would be far, far better off taxing people to change the US’s electrical infrastructure.

            I’m just talking about the overall ROI in terms of emissions.

          3. Let me add a bit of context:

            In the 1970s, 75% of the US vehicle fleet were passenger sedans. In 2020, only 25% of the fleet are passenger sedans, with trucks/SUVs basically taking that 50%.

            Trucks/SUVs average 24 mpg fuel economy. A hybrid passenger sedan can reach 50+. A fleet vehicle mix from the 1970s (still allowing ICE trucks!!) would result in a reduction of US CO2 passenger emissions by 40%. And again, with the US’s current electrical infrastructure the lowest you can get is a 75% reduction.

            In other words, if you want to push for emissions reductions, you can get over half the way there by just telling people to stop !*#%ing buying SUVs and buy passenger hybrids and it requires no changes in the national infrastructure.

            So why does it make sense to offer a tax credit to go to EVs and not give an economic incentive to buy passenger hybrids instead of SUVs?

          4. I’m a hatchback/wagon guy myself Pat, but some manufacturers don’t even have a sedan or small car in the range any more… if you wanted to go out and buy a car tomorrow, there’s very little theoretical choice, and due to continuing supply issues, only 30% of that is available.

          5. “I’m a hatchback/wagon guy myself Pat, but some manufacturers don’t even have a sedan or small car in the range any more… ”

            States are talking about forcing market shifts by banning ICE vehicles. There’s no reason why they can’t force market shifts by banning an SUV-heavy manufacturer mix. Or just tax it. If someone really needs a friggin’ SUV, make them pay for it and dump the money into emission-free power plants.

            “if you wanted to go out and buy a car tomorrow, there’s very little theoretical choice, and due to continuing supply issues, only 30% of that is available.”

            I’m talking about long-term. Besides, if you wanted to fix that problem you could also offer a tax credit to individuals who purchase refurbished/rebuilt used hybrid passenger sedans.

          6. “The problem is likely a significant contribution to the drake paradox.”

            Fermi paradox. Drake made up a stupid equation at a SETI meeting in the 1960s. Fermi basically figured it out 10 years earlier.

          7. The bit you fail to comprehend is that private passenger vehicles make a substantial enough contribution to be worth removing/reducing, its easy to start making progress on it and most importantly it costs your government or infrastructure owning companies almost nothing to make this CO2 saving!!

            Better still it doesn’t really cost the citizens anything much either – as you are not having to replace you perfectly serviceable ICE now, but all the new cars that had to be made and purchased to replace worn out (or ‘so last years model darling, we really must trade in and get the newer model than the Jones’ over the road’ perfectly good cars) anyway are being pushed toward Plug in Hybrid or full EV – and the price differential upfront is both not that huge (if its more at all), and easily offset by the reductions in running cost (if you actually do enough miles to need to own your own vehicle being able to do most miles damn nearly for free at home electric rates).

            It is so trivial to reduce the environmental vandalism of this part of human life it would be criminal not to do so, meanwhile harder things to improve or remove like international shipping, industrial process, the production of steel/concrete have to be targeted, but are much harder problems to just solve – which means you can just with a few years of minimal effort and very little economic burden fix it, and when its going to really hurt how the global economy ‘functions’ and in many cases transcend nations its going to take lots of diplomacy, investment and time to create alternatives…

      4. 70% of my vehicle usage would be battery only on a PHEV with batt range of 40 miles or better. Unfortunately, the 30% that isn’t does not completely fit inside EV performance envelopes.. the longer trips need to be out and back range capable due to sparse infrastructure outside population centers, and winter can be harsh here. In theory, trips I want to do could maybe be planned in a dogleg that hits a charger for several hours in the middle, adding distance to the drive, but if I was up for lots of forward planning and waiting around, I’d take a train. It’s not that I’m averse to such, it’s just life doesn’t happen in smooth ways that let me.

        Anyway, lots of PHEVs get over 100mpgE on battery only, not far off full EV for similar vehicle size. However if I’ve gotta take route detours to guarantee charging and possibly extra meal stops due to humans needing fuelling at regular intervals, especially if you go an hour out of the way, wait a couple of hours, etc.. then I’m not sure the effective 75mpgE vs straight line plus carbon costs of convenience food and whatever else I had to do would be all that much better than 50mpg PHEV IC highway and not having to waste an extra half day.

        Ergo, I think a PHEV would better suit my use for the next 10 years, in 10 years I’ll look again, see if every mom and pop convenience has a charger outside or something. Mandated charging spots at apt buildings maybe. 5 minute battery swaps would be nice.

        1. Personally I’d rather improve the car rental market than buy a PHEV but it depends on the frequency of long trips. I only do one or two long (100+ mile) trips a year so for 363 days a year a PHEV would mean hauling around a petrol engine I don’t use. It’d make my car heavier, less efficient and may force an increase in size from the 2 seater I need to a 4 seater I don’t.

          If I could visit a car rental place and leave in half an hour with a long range touring vehicle with cheap daily rates that would be fantastic. If the 100kWh EVs ended up in rental fleets where they’re heavily used that’d help with concerns over wasted battery material. You could also evaluate less carbon intensive travel methods like trains per trip instead of defaulting to driving on petrol.

          1. If daily use was in the 40 miles and below area, then a pure EV is lugging around battery it doesn’t need. This when platforms are shared tend to approximate the weight of the IC drivetrain and gas tank…(for the same suspension, brakes and carrying ability) at least you can leave your tank low in PHEV through the week, only maybe need a gallon in it to get to a gas station if you have to.

            The paradox with the transit, is if it’s a well served area, on a route with frequent trains, that probably means it goes through some denser population, which means you can also EV drive it because anywhere more than about 20K people there are chargers now. However, if you wanna go out where there’s 7K towns, they also don’t have trains, or if they do they are twice a day only in season or something crap, expensive, and dump you 20 miles away from where you need to be, with no public transit at that end, apart from a taxi company 15 miles in the other direction at the slightly bigger town, who is gonna make you pay through the nose. On some routes, you’d look at the fares, figure the likely taxi cost, pull a face, then phone the local airfield and see how much it is for a ride in a Cessna.

  11. If you don’t like auto stop, the solution is to buy an LPG or a methane powered car.

    By the way I have a car with start and stop, and if I don’t want to engage it at a rondabout or a stop sign, I simply press the clutch but don’t punt the gear in neutral.

      1. GM and Chrysler throw-out bearings only spin when the clutch is down, but Ford throw-out bearings are in constant light contact with the clutch and are designed appropriately (at least for man type V8 engines, YMMV if your car watches ‘The View’).

        You still don’t want to stand on the clutch for hours at a time.

    1. Yep. I certainly don’t want my car/truck/suv to stop/start on its own. No way. Also, the less electronics and self driving/self braking/etc. the better as far as I am concerned. That is one good reason why I am sticking with my older truck too. Didn’t need it then, don’t need it now.

  12. If only someone could tell me where in the US Constitution the federal government can force this kind of garbage technology upon consumers like air bags, CAFE standards and almost anything else you can think of like the remote switch off starting in 2026. It’s sickening the corporations don’t tell the feds to stuff it and mount a public campaign to oppose much of this stupidity. What does a government bureaucrat know about car design anyway? How do I as a consumer benefit? The newer cars may save fuel, but that is quickly destroyed by the higher maintenance in some ways of these systems and long term whether they last much beyond 100,000 miles.

    1. Democracy has become a game of solving problems in the last direct way possible. Direct solutions like safer roads and traffic law are unpopular,which means they aren’t truly possible is a compete democracy. But nobody votes out politicians for the things people do in the name of profit.

    2. They didn’t have cars when they wrote the constitution, hence the power grab.
      They had luggage, which is why you should always carry illegal things in locked luggage in your car. Not that I’ve ever done ANYTHING illegal. Must have been someone who looked like me.

      But good news:

      It’s not hard to keep an old car running, damn near forever, for much less than new car payments. Think of it a routing around dumb laws.
      Just keep you ego in check, you don’t need the new shiny, it won’t get you laid. (‘If you are in marketing, kill yourself!’ para Hicks)
      Your right BTW, the new shiny sucks balls.

      2 liter turbo 1/2 ton trucks have a lot to do with the increasing value of old V8 trucks. Even new car morons know they suck big wet donkey balls.

      Big corporations love regulatory capture. It locks out new entrants. Not just the car industry.

      1. After borrowing my mom’s new car my 20 year old v8 suddenly felt incredibly luxurious. Real analog gauges, dedicated buttons for any functionality you could want. Engine that keeps the a/c nice and cold even when stopped at a red light. A simple Bluetooth receiver that connects to my phone for music but doesn’t take over the call functionally. Large comfy leather seats. I could go on…

        I saw some data that profitability amongst third party mechanics is up like 50% YoY. People aren’t stupid and are deciding to hold on to their reliable old cars rather than subject themselves to underpowered, over-automated cars with anti right to repair features baked in.

        Lots of YouTube channels popping up on how to modernize an old car too. It’s been a nice past time for me. A lot of potential partners are impressed with someone who can keep an old car looking fresh.

  13. Engines rarely fail when the engine is already running. With a start-stop system, every intersection is a risk that the car won’t restart. On a snowy winter day, that’s a risk of death by freezing at every remote intersection, and a risk of a huge traffic jam at a busy intersection. From a safety standpoint, start-stop systems are a no-win proposition.

  14. “…got sick of having to switch off the feature every time they got in the car.”

    First-world whining. Solution is more difficult than the “problem”, therefore illogical. How hard is it to press a button once? Not sick of walking to the car, opening the door, and starting it, but sick of pressing a button, but not sick of working for the money to pay the money for the device and the time installing it?

    First-world humans are weird.

  15. It seems no one reliases that the guys who design and build the engines and features are actually really clever people. Auto-Stop will not affect the life of your engine at all because it was designed with auto-stop in mind. It’s been tested through thousands of start/stop cycles with no appreciable additional wear and tear on the cylinders, rings, starter, etc. In the typical wait time at lights the oil does not drain away enough to cause additional wear, the engine does not cool down enough to cause a cold start, and starting friction is negated by stopping a cylinder at TDC with a fuel charge waiting for a spark.

    So, by always turning off the auto-stop Old-Mate here is just pissing away his money turning it into more greenhouse gas emissions and doing no real work with it.

  16. At least in the U.S. — Start / Stop has more to do with establishing fuel economy estimates than any real benefit to the environment. If the manufacturer uses the feature to make the milage rating on the Monroney sticker a bit higher, the feature must not default to off. (A recent rule – my 2018 car lets me permanently turn it off – i/e the button setting “sticks” ) My newer car defaults to “on” because it was “on” during testing and certification.

  17. I have a BMW 640i, and it comes with start/stop. I don’t like it, so I just coded it out (using an OBDLink-II adapter with Bimmercode). Probably, your dealer could change the config of your car if you request it. And if they doesn’t want to, you can search for ” coding OBD2″ on google and see what options do you get….

    1. Those kind of actual mechanics won’t read a service bulletin published after 1977, reuse TTY head bolts, torque FWD hub bearings to RWD specs and blame all the comebacks on anything but themselves.

  18. Well for vag cars its quite easy to code it out. make car thubk that voltage is incorrect and it wont stop engine.

    People talk how bad ir is for car, but its also so uncomfortable, as it turns off when you need to start driving and it takes so time and it makes even worse rush hour.

  19. I’ve pulled the heads and oil pans on dozens of 240ci/300ci Ford 6 cylinder engines with more than 400K miles in taxi service. Oil changes every 3000 miles. There was no scoring in the cylinders, an imperceptible ridge (< .002) at the top of the cylinders. No bearing wear was observed. Of course these are 7 main bearing engines. What wore out on these motors were valve stem seals and sometimes exhaust valves. Of course, things like water pumps, alternators, carbs/EFI fittings and starters all needed some work in that lifespan. Most of those motors would easily go 750K and when paired with a C6 auto, they were very reliable. Most cars were scrapped because of accidents.

    This auto stop stuff is a 'feel good' technology for the greenies. No rational engineer would ever design this unless forced to by some artificial constraint placed on the manufacturer by the Feds or Kalifornia.

    This guy's push button idea is quite brilliant, although I'd try and simply disable the whole system by firmware replacement, if possible. That way, you can also load your own fuel curves and get a decent performing vehicle that still gets good mileage.

    Of course, the best idea is to simply buy older cars that don't have this garbage, especially Cummins diesels before 2007.

  20. Ever since some of the higher end cars came out with this “auto stop” feature, I though it was so stupid but I would never be buying one of those brand vehicles so didn’t effect me. However, now it seems all the auto manufacturers are copying this stupid, annoying “feature”! But I get it, just like everything else it boils down to money & greed. Most engineering on vehicles by engineers gets down engineered to lower cost materials and lower quality components as they don’t want the parts to last the life of the vehicle, just long enough to get past warranty. So by having this auto stop crap, they can tremendously increase the cycling on the starter motor which is an inrush if current each time and can prematurely lead to the starter motor failure Consumers lacking the skill to change their own starter will pay top dollar at a dealer or service shop for parts and labor! Good way for vehicle manufacturers, shops and auto parts stores to make more money!
    A better hack would be to disable this so called feature on the ECU or computer of the vehicle!

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