Every electric or hybrid vehicle owner knows that, when he pushes his car’s brake, a function called “regenerative braking” kicks in and transforms mechanical energy into electricity, and this in turn slows down the vehicle. This is old news. What’s new is that Mazda has developed (and probably patented) a system that uses an electric double layer capacitor as the electric storage.
They’ll probably insert this type of technology in every vehicle they’ll make, not only in those whose traction depends on an electric motor. The system has been called “i-Eloop,” and is the first to use a double layer capacitor for this purpose. The electricity generated this way would then be used to power your A/C system and other gadgets you may have in your car, thus reducing the load on the alternator, which in turn saves gas.
The capacitor will have 25 volts between its electrodes, but the car’s functions only need 12 volts, so a DC/DC converter will be used to power them. No other details have been revealed by Mazda as of now, but we’ll see it in next year’s models. It remains to see which.