The Mazda MX-5 Miata gets brake energy regeneration tech
No, Mazda is not turning the Miata into a hybrid yet, but as spotted by Road & Track, the little roadster is getting the same i-ELOOP brake energy regeneration system as the rest of Mazda’s lineup. This makes continuous kinetic energy recovery possible by adding a variable voltage alternator, a DC/DC converter, a capacitor, and some additional wiring to the powertrain so the energy produced during braking can be used to power the A/C, the headlights, and the rest of the electrical equipment.
Here’s how Mazda explains the i-ELOOP system:
Weighing just 20.5 pounds overall in other Mazdas, the i-ELOOP’s brilliance lies in that, by easing the load on the alternator and the battery, it allows the combustion engine to send all its power to the wheels instead of sacrificing a few horses to heat up our bottoms or bang out our favorite tunes.
Introduced as standard equipment in Europe at first, these new Miatas should be faster and just as fun to drive as before, since the weight penalty is negligible compared to the amount of conserved power. What’s more, unlike in lithium-ion batteries, the main component of Mazda’s double-layer capacitors is activated charcoal, making this a very green method for storing energy.
Mazda of America introduced the i-ELOOP in the Mazda6 in 2014 with the Grand Touring trim as part of the Technology Package. No word on the North American Miatas yet, but this feels like a global move towards reduced fuel consumption through smarter power management.