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Mazda Harvest Auto Energy

Mazda Harvest Auto Energy

All cars produce energy which is wasted when the car is under braking or running on a trailing throttle. Once a bit of a Holy Grail, auto engineers are gradually cracking the problem and the results will benefit all of us. For example, it is now routine for Formula 1 racing cars to collect kinetic energy from the waste heat of braking (KERS) which is stored and converted into power when extra performance is needed. Similar technology is beginning to filter down to the sort of cars we buy. This is a good thing and most manufacturers are working towards it – including Mazda.

The successful Japanese company have come up with their own unique take on a solution to harvesting energy that would otherwise be wasted. Brake energy (as above) is the most common solution for capturing this extra power. It is commonly used to recharge the batteries on hybrids and EV’s or to power electrical systems like air-conditioning without the adverse effect on fuel consumption.

Mazda, in keeping with their ‘SKYACTIV’ technology, have taken route by using a capacitor to store the electricity. It will feature on the new Mazda 6 (pictured) when it appears and it is called I-ELOOP (Intelligent Energy Loop). It is unique in the way it harvests the precious juice and allows the company to gradually introduce auxiliary electrical systems to power future in-car technology.

Even just a few seconds of braking makes a difference. To explain the process we quote the Mazda blurb verbatim – “…an electric double-layer capacitor (EDLC), which recharges fully in only a few seconds. An efficient 12V-25V variable voltage alternator generates the electricity and charges the EDLC; a DC/DC converter then steps down the voltage to power electrical components such as the climate control air-conditioning and audio systems, with any surplus going to the starter battery.”

The I-ELOOP system will enhance Mazda’s I-STOP technology, their take on ‘stop-start’ which is featuring on many cars today. The beauty of systems such as this means that cars are becoming cleaner and ever more efficient and that will save us money in the long run. With the cost of fuel as it is both we and the environment should all be very grateful.

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- who has written 474 posts on Motor Blogger.

Geoff is a freelance writer and photographer.

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