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More Hybrid Vehicle Technology on the Way
CNBC.com | January 06, 2012 | 03:32 PM EST

"I see the market moving quickly to 'microhybridization'" says David Vieau, CEO of battery makerA123 Systems, referring to the implementation of fuel-stretching hybrid components across all new vehicles, including gas-guzzling light trucks and SUVs.The main component of this microhybridization is the "start-stop" system, which shuts off an idling gas-powered engine when the vehicles comes to a stop, and then uses stored electricity rather than gasoline to get it moving again."That first burst of the gas combustion engine is very inefficient," says Vieau, pointing out that an electric start is quieter and more fuel efficient.Various industry studies have shown that vehicles that operate most often on congested city streets could see a 5-10 percent increase in fuel efficiency just with start-stop technology.John Gartner, transportation analyst at clean tech research firm Pike Research, thinks it could be up to 15 percent in savings — from a technology that he says could add as little as 10 percent of the hybrid premium onto the sticker price.With "full" hybrids like Volkswagen's new 2013 Jetta — to be unveiled at this year's North American International Auto Show in Detroit — commanding an average of $5,000 over the cost of a gas-powered comparable vehicles, these "micro hybrids" or "start-stop vehicles", SSVs, that could add as little as $500 onto the price of a car.Compare that to electric-only ve

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