In a couple of weeks, at the 2014 Washington Auto Show, Green Car Journal will announce the winner of the 2014 Green Car Technology of the Year Award, and we’ve been covering the ten technology nominees.
So far, we’ve seen some pretty good green car technology from Acura, Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Ford, and Honda. And now something else from the Japanese, a capacitor-based regenerative braking system, Mazda i-ELOOP. Actually, regenerative braking is nothing new, a major part of hybrid electric vehicle technology, but this could be the first time seeing regenerative braking on a conventional vehicle.
According to Mazda, i-ELOOP capacitor-based regenerative braking improves fuel economy by approximately 10% in a conventional vehicle, without resorting to a heavy hybrid electric vehicle powertrain. Unlike the typical rechargeable battery, nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) or lithium-ion (Li-Ion), the i-ELOOP double layer capacitor charges in seconds. Every time the car decelerates, the capacitor recharges, after which it can be used to reduce draw on the engine, improving idle fuel economy, especially at a stop.
Some green car technologies haven’t been about removing or sidelining the internal combustion engine, but simply using it more efficiently. It seems like the Mazda i-ELOOP system can be adapted to pretty much any conventional vehicle for a 10% fuel economy improvement. It also fits perfectly with Mazda’s engine start-stop system, i-stop, extending the amount of time that the engine can remain off while the vehicle is at a stop, further reducing fuel consumption.
Image © Mazda