TOKYO -- Kia Motors Corp. will start offering in Europe this spring a stop-start feature that can improve fuel efficiency by up to 15 percent by turning off the engine at traffic lights.
The technology debuts in a new version of the Ceed, a lower-segment car sold only in Europe. But Kia will bring the stop-start feature to other models in other markets in 2010.
The South Korean carmakers idle stop and go system switches off the engine when the car stops in traffic and restarts it when the car moves on. In city driving, it can cut fuel consumption and emissions by up to 15 percent. Savings in mixed driving conditions average 6 percent.
Stop-start engine technology is being adopted by more automakers as a way to eke extra mileage from conventional gasoline engines. The fuel-saving feature is especially catching on in Europe, where stricter carbon emissions standards are sparking demand for cleaner cars.
In the Ceed, the engine stops at a standstill and is re-engaged automatically as soon as the driver depresses the clutch to find first gear, Kia said in a release today. To offset the additional weight of the stop-start system, the cars get a new-generation, lighter-weight gearbox.
Kia did not say which other models will be getting the technology.
But spokeswoman Pamela Munoz said it will be offered on the companys yet-to-be named YN model due in November. It also will be available as an option on several models worldwide in 2010. More details will be announced later this year, she said.
German parts maker Robert Bosch AG supplies the stop-start equipment to Kia, which makes the Ceed at its assembly plant in Zilina, Slovakia.