2016 Cadillac Will Use Ultracapacitors to Augment Batteries in Start-Stop Systems


In the wake of being able to provide vehicles that produce a better fuel economy, engine start-stop systems are becoming the standard, implemented by more and more car manufacturers as fuel economy research continues. And, of course, Cadillac is no exception. However, in the face of a changing market, Cadillac is doing things a little bit differently, so to speak.

That is to say, Cadillac, alongside partners Maxwell Technologies, has developed a new start-stop system for their vehicles that augments battery power with ultracapacitors. This new system will be GM’s standard on their 2016 Cadillac ATS and CTS models (minus the ATS-V and STS-V performance vehicles).

Normally a ton lighter than batteries, ultracapacitors produce quick and assured burst of power for a brief period of time when the vehicle’s engine is turned off. Maxwell claims that adding such a thing to any start-stop system is a step in the right direction, seeing as such a thing can help stabilize the flow of electricity and also reduce high currents and repeated cycling, which, of course, can significantly shorten the battery life of any vehicle.

Maxwell explains that, in a start-stop system, the internal combustion engine is shut off when the driver stops “and the engine is seamlessly restarted when the driver accelerates, which lowers emissions and improves fuel economy.”  They continue, stating, “The voltage stabilization electronic control results in a smooth start, reduced engine vibration, and a superior driving experience.

General Motors showing interest in such a system is very much the latest example of the bigger trend that involves automakers showing an increased amount of interest in start-stop systems that are far more well rounded in order to improve fuel economy. There is also considerable—and well-founded—speculation that an investment in such a technology could also produce a new type of mid-hybrid powertrain that could be applied to future models. At the very least, however, such a thing points to the future of the auto industry. “GM’s selection of Continental’s Maxwell-powered VSS is a further affirmation of our ultracapacitor capability for varying applications as the automotive industry continues down its path of vehicle electrification,” said Franz Fink, Maxwell CEO.

And, too, not only is such an investment a saving when it comes to fuel economy, but it is simply an affordable option altogether. “Automotive manufacturers around the world are seeking new ways to improve the performance of their cars while satisfying consumer demands for fuel efficiency,” says Jon Buckles, program manager for hybrid electric vehicles at Continental. “Continental’s voltage stabilization system uses Maxwell’s ultracapacitors as an affordable option for automakers to create a more positive driving experience for customers.”

Keep checking in here with us at Arnie Bauer for more information with regard to Cadillac’s 2016 lineup.


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