Vehicle Electronics & Architecture (VEA)

The Value of Anti-Idle and Start/Stop Technology to Military Vehicles

by Mike Marcel; Thomas Cook; Chris Cook; Rich Schroeder


The 2015 defense budget, announced in March, 2014 was requested to be $496 Billion, which is down from $553 Billion three years ago [1]. This means that existing equipment, which has been trained on for numerous years, and fought two major wars, will be required to last longer and be maintained at a high state of readiness for years to come. In addition to acquisition and maintenance costs, fuel that propels these vehicles continues to also be at a premium. According to Forbes magazine, the US Department of Defense is the single-largest consumer of fuel in the world [2]. With fuel costs as volatile as ever, and an aging military fleet, researchers need to bring technology to the table that extends the life cycle of our vehicles and reduces the US DoD’s dependence on fuel. Technology that addresses both life cycle cost and fuel savings of commercial vehicles has been used for almost 40 years. This technology is a game changer for specialty vehicles such as police cars, ambulances, utility vehicles, delivery trucks and Semi-trailers. This technology, often described as “anti-idle” or “start/stop” technology is also currently being applied to passenger vehicles. The technology is typically a small embedded computing device that runs a “rules based” fuel saving anti-idle and charge control algorithm that is designed to turn the engine off when it is not needed. Anti-idle technology has been widely adopted in commercial vehicles and has the potential for having a large impact on new and legacy military vehicles. Lithiumstart has developed an advanced fuel saving algorithm which dynamically manages the vehicle’s engine and electrical systems and can be implemented in a wide variety of military and commercial platforms. The hardware developed in a phase I SBIR program is implemented easily without changing how the soldier operates the vehicle or reducing mission readiness. Using a variety of innovative approaches, this functionality can be obtained quickly and cheaply using an adapted COTS bolt on embedded controller. This paper describes the commercial adoption of anti-idle technology and how it is ready to take the next step on the US military vehicle fleet.