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Affordable start-stop systems for ultra-compact cars

Jul 2, 2010

Continental helps to realize automatic start-stop systems in ultra-compact cars from 2010 on.

Regensburg/Shanghai. With affordable components for start-stop systems Continental makes savings possible even in ultra-compact cars. Cars in the lower price segment are in particularly great demand in booming developing countries such as India or China. Here, the particular challenge is to achieve quick and efficient reductions in consumption and therefore also pollution emissions. It is Continental's strategy to play an important role in shaping these global megatrends of environmental and low-cost vehicles. Consequently, the Interior division of Continental has developed a new control unit for this purpose. The control unit makes it possible for vehicle manufacturers to offer even models in the ultra-compact category with an automatic start-stop system within very short development time. When the vehicle is at a standstill, for example in a traffic jam or at traffic lights, the engine is automatically switched off and then restarted within a few fractions of a second when the driver wants to move off again. As a result, Continental expects everyday fuel consumption in major cities to be reduced by as much as 15 percent.

Continental electronics for low cost start-stop systems help to reduce emissions of ultra-compact cars in booming megacities.

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The components for start-stop systems for vehicles in the lower price segment represents Continental's response to the efforts being made in many developing countries to combine mass mobility with the most frugal possible use of natural resources. It is not for nothing that new pollution emissions limits are being discussed in many of these countries. For example, India is currently considering whether to launch a special vehicle registration as a means of promoting sales of particularly low-consumption cars from 2011 onwards.

The heart of the components from Continental is the new engine start-stop (ESS) control unit which groups together all the relevant functions. It is based on the Basic Function Controller presented in May 2008, and makes it possible to switch off the engine automatically even in cars that do not have elaborate engine control units or data networks. To do this, all that is needed is the start-stop control unit itself, an intelligent battery sensor (IBS) as well as a signal from the clutch and gearbox to ensure that the engine is only switched off when idling and is restarted in just a few fractions of a second when the clutch pedal is pressed. For vehicles with convenience electronics that draw power, Continental also offers a DC/DC converter in order to balancing voltage dips from occurring when the engine is started: infotainment systems such as the radio, satellite navigation or instrumentation can therefore continue to operate without disruptions.

Basis for the startstop systems especially designed for ultracompact cars is the Continental Basic Function Controller (BFC).

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One particular advantage of the Continental solution is its short development time. All relevant functions are combined in a single control unit, so there is no need to modify the engine ECU or gearbox ECU. This reduces complexity and makes it possible to start series production sooner. The new control unit is going to enter series production in 2010 at its first Asian vehicle manufacturer. As well as the speed and flexibility of adaptation, Continental can provide the expertise for corresponding display systems, because of its position as a leading company in automotive instrumentation. Practical experience has shown that start-stop systems can achieve their full savings potential especially when the driver is informed quickly and clearly about the operating phases that are involved.

Together with the Basic Function Controller and Advanced Function Controller, the Compact Function Controller covers all the requirements of modern car architectures in the body area.

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Despite the fact that the new ESS control unit can be adapted to different vehicle models at short notice, and has been designed above all for use in cars in the lower price segments, the driver will not notice any difference between it and comparable systems in higher category models: the levels of comfort, functional reliability and the potential for fuel savings are identical. Therefore, the engine start-stop control unit from Continental is not just for developing countries. After all, the new system from Continental can also be quickly and cost-effectively integrated into compact cars or low-cost, large volume models from vehicle manufacturers in Europe and the USA.

An automatic start-stop system offers vast savings potential. Using it, average consumption reductions of up to 10 percent have been measured in the various standard and test cycles used in Europe, the USA, China or India. Significantly greater consumption benefits can be achieved in everyday driving. After all, traffic jams and delays are part and parcel of urban life in continuously growing megacities such as Delhi, Shanghai or São Paulo.


Enno Pflug

External Communications

Interior Division

Continental Automotive GmbH

Sodener Straße 9

65824 Schwalbach am Taunus

Phone: 06196 87-2515

Fax: 06196 8779-2515

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