Ford offers 4×4 fuel-saving gadget

Ford has developed the ultimate stress-saving device for the less adventurous jeep or four-wheel-drive owner, ideal for use when stuck in traffic during the school run.

Worrying about the environment — and your petrol bill —while your 4–litre engine guzzles away in traffic jams will be a thing of the past, thanks to the integrated starter-generator, which automatically cuts off the engine when it is idle, and restarts it again at a push of the accelerator pedal.

The device, which combines the function of the conventional starter motor and alternator in one electrical unit, will provide a seamless transition as the engine cuts and re-starts, the company claims.

Ford is fitting the device to its Explorer range in an effort to give the vehicle a greener image. Other Ford models such as the Mondeo, which are similar in price to the Explorer but a good deal more economical, will not be fitted with the device.The Explorer will also have a regenerative braking system and a more powerful electrical system, delivering 42 volts rather than the standard 12.

This will also provide the engine with an acceleration boost at start up.