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Friday, September 12, 2008

Mazda to be more Fuel Efficient using Light Weight Resins and Smart Idle


For those of you tired of chunky, plastic car interiors, Mazda has a solution: sleek plastic car interiors. As part of its Sustainable Zoom-Zoom campaign (they must not wear ties in Mazda's boardroom), Mazda's introduced three technologies aimed at boosting the fuel economy and easing the emissions of every car it builds by 2015. How will they do it? We want to say one word to you, just one word. Are you listening? Plastics. By increasing the expansion capabilities of liquid plastic resin, Mazda's new proprietary injection molding technology promises to use less material and cut interior weight 30 percent while providing a sturdier interior.

In addition to shedding weight, Mazda's engineers came up with two more fuel-saving tricks -- a high-torque, high-efficiency diesel for everyone but the United States and a direct-injection engine shutoff system known as Smart Idle Stop System (SISS) that reportedly boosts around-town fuel economy 10 percent. Of course, none of this will keep your car-clueless uncle from asking, "Oh, a Mazda! That thing has a rotary engine, right?" and giggling when he says "Wankel."

Mazda says the improvements are part of a long-term commitment to "growing the Zoom-Zoom tree" by "working toward a sustainable future with cars, people and a global society that brings continued happiness and excitement." Aside from the fact Rod McKuen is now writing Mazda's ad copy, it sounds like a laudable goal. The idea of a future filled with cars, people, happiness and excitement makes us all warm and fuzzy. That's why we also like any advance that makes a car more fun to drive while keeping all the other factors in balance.

The MZR-CD 2.2 turbodiesel promises 295 ft.-lbs. of torque while burning less fuel and removing 60 percent more particulate matter from the exhaust than previous Mazda diesels. It even qualifies for strict Euro-5 emissions standards. In addition to the performance and environmental upgrades, Mazda says changes to the engine design have resulted in less vibration and better balance.

For an upgrade we might actually see stateside, we turn to SISS. The engine management system was announced in 2007 but will be available on 2009 models like the Mazda3 shown above. Despite its name, SISS is pretty brawny tech. Instead of an electric motor restart, SISS-equipped engines indexes each cylinder during shutdown and begins fuel injection before the engine restarts. This allows the engine to restart using the exact air-fuel mix necessary for combustion, resulting in starts twice as fast as an electrically-assisted engine.

Images by Mazda.