- By Anthony Blascara
- Published 04/24/2012
Mazda Motor Corporation has developed a regenerative braking system for passenger cars capable of improving fuel economy by approximately 10 per cent. The new i-ELOOP system, the first of its kind in the world to use a capacitor, will begin to appear in Mazda vehicles, such as the brilliant CX-5, from 2012.
i-ELOOP efficiently converts the vehicle’s kinetic energy into electricity as it decelerates, using the electricity to power the climate control, audio system and numerous other electricalcomponents. The unique capacitor technology in i-ELOOP can store large volumes of electricity and, unlike batteries, can be charged and discharged rapidly and isresistant to deterioration through prolonged use.
The name i-ELOOP is an adaptation of ’Intelligent Energy Loop’ and represents Mazda’s intention to efficiently recycle energy in an intelligent way.
Regenerative braking systems are growing in popularity as a means of saving fuel. They use an electric motor or alternator to generate electricity as the vehicle decelerates, thereby recovering a portion of the vehicle’s kinetic energy. Unlike the regenerative braking systems found in hybrid vehicles, Mazda’s highly efficient solution avoids the need for a dedicated electric motor and battery.
i-ELOOP features a new variable voltage(12-25V) alternator, a low-resistance Electric Double Layer Capacitor (EDLC) and a DC/DC converter. i-ELOOP starts to recover kinetic energy the moment the driver lifts off the accelerator pedal and the vehicle begins to decelerate. The variable voltage alternator generates electricity at up to 25V for maximum efficiency before sending it to the EDLC for storage. The capacitor, which has been specially developed for use in a vehicle, can be fully charged in seconds. TheDC/DC converter steps down the electricity from 25V to 12V before it is distributed directly to the vehicle’s electrical components.
Instop-start driving conditions, the use of i-ELOOP fuel economy improves by approximately 10 per cent. Working in conjunction with Mazda’s unique ‘i-stop’ idling stop technology, i-ELOOP can extend the period that the engine can be shut off.
Mazda is working to maximise the efficiency of internal combustion engine vehicles with its groundbreaking SKYACTIVTechnology. By combining this with i-stop, i-ELOOP and other electric devices that enhance fuel economy by eliminating unnecessary fuel consumption, Mazda is striving to deliver vehicles with excellent environmental performance, as well as a Zoom-Zoom driving experience for all its customers.
At the 42nd Tokyo Motor Show, Mazda will debut the i-ELOOP system in the TAKERI concept car, a next generation mid-sized saloon that features SKYACTIV Technology and the Japanese company’s ‘KODO – Soul of Motion’ design theme.
Mazda’s first vehicle for the UK and European market to have the full range of innovative SKYACTIV technologies will be the Mazda CX-5 compact SUV, set for launch in Spring 2012. This all-new vehicle will offer outstanding reductions in both fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, combined with the exhilarating driving experience – the Jinba Ittai, or ‘oneness’ between car and driver previously typified by the MX-5 sportscar – for which Mazda is so well known.
About the Author: Anthony Blascara is a writer and fan of the CX-5.