Valeo has released some details of its first two contracts to supply belt-driven combined starter-alternators on two future vehicles in volume production.

The contracts were recently signed with two major vehicle manufacturers and the patented belt-driven starter-alternator system will be specified on two mid-range vehicle models to be launched in two and three years time.

Valeo says that consumers will benefit from up to 10% fuel savings, reduced noise levels and zero emissions at standstill.

Commenting on the first customer contracts for this new technology, Thierry Morin, Chairman of Valeo's Management Board, said: "Valeo's organic growth prospects will greatly benefit from the introduction of such new functions in the years to come. These two contracts represent a recognition of the technology expertise which has made Valeo a leading player in 'Electrical Energy Management' - one of our strategic Domains. Consumer needs for significantly lower fuel consumption, lower noise levels and environmental protection have driven the development of combined starter-alternators which will soon be mass-produced on cars."

Valeo says that this development could be the first system on the market which is both compatible with current car architectures and power networks, and integrates the starter and alternator functions into a single unit while offering the fuel saving, comfort-enhancing and environmentally friendly "start-stop" feature.

The "start-stop" function is a fuel saving feature that automatically cuts off the engine when at standstill, such as at traffic light stops, and quietly and immediately restarts it. The total absence of engine noise at standstill and the quiet starting significantly enhance acoustic comfort for occupants. The environment is further protected because of zero emissions while at standstill. In congested urban traffic conditions this period can be greater than 30% of the driving time.

The belt-driven starter-alternator, through an interface to proprietary electronic control technology, not only generates electrical energy but is also capable of performing the function of a conventional starter motor. Using existing alternator engine mountings, the system is a flexible "bolt-on" solution that does not intrude on the powertrain design.

Preliminary evaluations have indicated that if the combined starter-alternator is specified on an increasing proportion of the vehicle parc, so the level of urban traffic noise will gradually subside with a subsequent benefit to the quality of life of city residents.

In addition, the high electrical output of the alternator function of the combined starter-alternator, up to 2.5 kW at 14 Volt and up to 4 kW under 42 Volt, will allow vehicle manufacturers to specify more electrically powered features to improve comfort, safety, emissions and economy.