Ford Motor Co. will begin rolling out its fuel-saving start-stop system, already in use on several models in Europe, on some 2012 North American cars and light trucks with four-cylinder engines.
Ford did not say which models will get the technology.
Based on the European rollout, the most likely initial vehicles include the 2012 Ford Fiesta and Focus cars, Escape crossover, C-Max minivan and Transit Connect delivery vehicle.
The technology, which will be showcased on a concept vehicle at the Detroit auto show, "eventually will be offered in all of Ford's global markets," the company said in a release.
By 2015, "it should be available on most nameplates" in North America, spokesman Richard Truett said. "That's the goal."
Truett said the technology will be available on both manual- and automatic-transmission vehicles in North America in 2012.
Ford has sold more than 170,000 gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles in North America with start-stop technology since 2004. The feature shuts down the internal combustion engine when the vehicle comes to a full stop, such as at a traffic light. Fuel is saved by reducing the amount of time the engine idles.
The technology can boost city fuel economy as much as 10 percent and boost overall fuel economy up to 5 percent.
A new system, which Ford calls Auto Start-Stop, is much simpler than the current one used by Ford in its hybrids, according to program manager Birgit Sorgenfrei. She said key components include a more robust starter motor and an enhanced 12-volt battery.
Auto Start-Stop, under the right conditions, enables the internal combustion engine to shut off when it would otherwise be idling. All electric accessories and safety systems remain functional, receiving uninterrupted power from the 12-volt battery.
As the driver's foot begins to release pressure on the brake pedal, a sensor signals the engine to restart, readying the powertrain to deliver power by the time the driver's foot moves to the accelerator.
The system includes a light on the instrument panel that alerts the driver when the engine is off. A special tachometer moves its needle to a green zone when the engine is not running.
Start-stop technology is standard on the 2011 Porsche Cayenne and Panamera, as well as on many nameplates sold in Asia and Europe.
Mazda Motor Corp. recently rolled out its iStop system in Europe, but Ford says that there was no collaboration with longtime partner Mazda on this technology.