PSA is targeting fitment of its new stop-start technology, officially launched at a press conference in Paris yesterday, of 50,000 units by 2006. However, remarks by Jean-Martin Folz, PSA Peugeot Citroën Chief Executive Officer, suggest that the company believes take-up could be a lot stronger than that.

The new technology is planned for introduction in a special series petrol-powered Citroën C3 1.4i 16V Stop & Start, which will be rolled out in early November.

The Stop & Start system turns the engine off automatically and remains in standby mode when the vehicle stops at traffic lights and traffic jams. The engine starts again instantly when the brake pedal is released, with the vehicle pulling away once the accelerator is pressed.
Citroen claims that repeated stopping and starting of the engine reduces fuel consumption and enhances driving pleasure rather than causing excessive petrol consumption.

It said the Stop & Start system reduces fuel consumption by 10% in city driving, by 6% in the standard EU combined cycle test, and by up to 15% in heavy traffic. CO2 emissions – used as the basis of vehicle taxation in some EU countries – are reduced by a similar proportion, the carmaker claims.

The initial C3 special series is planned at a few thousand units and will be priced so that the stop-start equipped model variant is actually cheaper than comparable non-start-stop C3 variants. Thereafter, PSA is planning higher volume production of the start-stop system including fitment to other PSA range models, beginning with the Citroën C2 and Peugeot 1007. The cost of the stop-start option to consumers will then become dependent on volume and unit cost considerations.

Jean-Martin Folz told the press conference that he believed that the 50,000 stop-start units figure by 2006 was ‘rather modest’ and that fitment could be ‘way above’ that level by then.

He also said that while petrol-electric hybrids made sense for markets with a low diesel element, such as the light vehicle markets of USA and Japan, diesel technology made sense for Europe and he did not rule out future PSA interest in developing a diesel hybrid ‘at the end of the decade’.

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