The Fuel prices are reaching record levels. Every extra kilometer that you squeeze out from a liter of fuel can help you save a considerable amount of money. Mahindra has stepped in to do away with our everyday fuel woes by introducing the Micro-Hybrid technology. The technology was first incorporated in the legendary Bolero, and Mahindra’s first global SUV, the Scorpio. It identifies the idling time with the help of a computer, coupled to the ECU and automatically shuts off the engine while idling rather than wasting fuel.
An average Indian driver spends at least 20 minutes wasting precious fuel either at a signal or in a rush bumper-to-bumper traffic wherein the engine remains idle. This is where the Micro-Hybrid technology, popularly known as the Stop-Start in the west, helps us to save fuel and also the environment from the harmful effects of fuel being burnt without a purpose. This fuel-saving technology, first introduced by Mahindra in 2008 is being rapidly rolled out on most of the SUVs like XUV 500, TUV 300 etc., manufactured by the auto major. Micro-Hybrid technology will help you save over 7 percent of fuel money by stretching kilometers per liter by ideally using fuel.
What is micro-hybrid technology?
Mahindra is the first Indian automaker to offer micro-hybrid technology, developed in collaboration with Bosch to reduce running costs and emissions. Micro-Hybrid technology enables the SUVs engine to automatically switch off when idle, at signals, and even in neutral, and restart the engine when the driver depresses the clutch.
“This pioneering technology was specially created keeping in mind the heavy traffic congestion drivers have to face on our roads today,” said Dr. Pawan Goenka, president, automotive sector, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd.
Micro-Hybrid technology switches off the vehicle’s engine after it has come to a complete halt automatically after 2-3 seconds and jumps back to life once the clutch is depressed. Just before stopping, the indicator light located in the instrument cluster will blink.
How micro-hybrid system works?
Micro-hybrid technology is made available to everyone by insistent efforts from Mahindra to match global standards through less expensive in-house innovations. The term hybrid denotes that the vehicle uses a combination of internal combustion engine and an electric motor. Mahindra’s Micro-Hybrid is powered by a 14V deep cycle battery with an engine mounted electric motor called Belt Driven Starter Generator (BSG). The BSG replaces the conventional alternator and performs power assist function when the engine needs to restart auto after shut off.
The Mahindra FuelSmart system with Micro Hybrid technology switches off the vehicle’s engine after it has come to a complete halt. For example, if the vehicle comes to a halt at a traffic signal and is in neutral, the engine will shut down automatically after 10 seconds. Just before stopping, the indicator light located in the instrument cluster will blink, indicating that the engine is going to stop shortly. Once the signal turns green and the driver presses the clutch pedal, the engine starts immediately continuing the journey.
“In addition to fuel efficiency, the system also has other advantages. Since the engine is switched off during traffic signals/traffic jams, the release of a considerable amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere is avoided. This mitigates the adverse effects of global warming, thus helping to provide us with a cleaner environment to live in.” quotes Mahindra in its group site. This cycle helps save a considerable amount of fuel during stopovers.
Micro-Hybrid technology improves the fuel economy of the SUV by 7 percent and is linked to the basic functioning of the engine which makes it impossible to retrofit it on existing cars.
Why go for Micro-Hybrid?
A report states that over tens of lakhs of liters of fuel is wasted every year from idling which equals greenhouse gas emissions from 7,112 vehicles which total to about 612,180 tons of waste sent to landfills, and 40,000 tons of carbon dioxide per day. These figures suggest that Stop-Start technology could have a progressive effect on the quality of our air and help control global warming to a great extent.
Benefits of Micro-Hybrid technology are, Switches off the engine during idle periods exceeding 2 seconds, BSG turns the engine back on instantaneously as you engage the clutch. It reduces running costs by ideally burning fuel while reduces pollution and helps conserve the environment while improving mileage.
Can you turn it off
Unlike some car makers like Subaru and Mazda that don’t allow disabling the Stop-Start feature, Mahindra allows you to turn off the Micro-Hybrid technology. All you need to do is press and hold the button to temporarily disable it. But every time you start the car afresh, the Micro-Hybrid is active by default. Despite the addition of innovative technology, the price of the vehicles hasn’t been hiked.
Keep it cool
Ignore the honking and stand your ground to take advantage of the Micro-Hybrid technology. You need to resist the urge of inching forward in traffic or creeping up to the car ahead of you while the signal is still red. Once the car restarts, the engine won’t shut down again unless the recommended battery charge is reached, usually can’t achieve at inching speeds. Whenever possible, sit still with your foot on the brake until it’s really time to go.
Though Micro-Hybrid technology claims 7 percent fuel savings, there have been reports of an estimated 10 percent increase in extra-urban areas with heavy traffic and longer idling durations.
Getting used to this pocket and eco-friendly Micro-Hybrid technology doesn’t take too long. You could turn it off if you don’t like it or turns out it doesn’t suit your style. But how hard would it be to save a few hundred a day or a couple of thousands a month or with the soaring fuel prices you could even save close to a lakh over a year and save the environment by keeping Micro-hybrid technology on.
However, it may look like it can be achieved by manually turning your car off and on at the signal, but you may end up creating an adverse impact on the engine. Vehicles designed to shut off at idle do this with larger batteries, larger starters, and belt drive to eliminate the involvement of flywheel and ignition switch. If your car manufacturer hasn’t installed heavy duty equipment or the technology, don’t stop the engine at idle. The starter motor may be subject to abuse and break down sooner than it should. Same applies to your battery as well. You would end up shelling out a bomb to fix these vital components apart from burning more fuel.
Mahindra’s Micro-Hybrid technology also known as Stop/Start globally is an initiative taken by car makers to adhere to stricter emission regulations and reduce the carbon footprint. This technology implemented about a decade ago and made available in many cars like Bolero Power+, TUV300, Scorpio and XUV500 by Mahindra and expected to be incorporated in all upcoming models to be launched this year. With rising fuel costs and improved mileage, experts say, this technology will witness rapid growth globally by 2022. Stop-Start is already found on 45 percent of vehicles manufactured globally and is sure to become a norm in the days to come.