Mazda creates capacitor-based regenerative braking system

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Mazda has developed what is claimed to be the world’s first capacitor-based regenerative braking system.

The i-ELOOP (Intelligent Energy Loop) concept makes use of a capacitor to temporarily store energy captured from braking.

Mazda claims that the use of a capacitor for storing large volumes of electricity has advantages over batteries because the capacitors are charged and discharged in seconds and are less vulnerable to deterioration through prolonged use.

It is reported that the i-ELOOP starts to recover kinetic energy the moment the driver lifts off the accelerator pedal and the vehicle starts to decelerate.

The alternator generates electricity at up to 25V for maximum efficiency before sending it to the capacitor for storage. The DC/DC converter steps down the electricity from 25V to 12V before it is distributed directly to the vehicle’s electrical components.

Regenerative braking systems that store energy into batteries during braking are becoming a popular concept in new car designs as they help reduce fuel consumption.

The i-ELOOP is being positioned as a fuel saver for internal combustion engine vehicles. According to Mazda, the i-ELOOP system improves the fuel economy of a vehicle by around 10 per cent under the tougher, real-world driving conditions in city traffic.

The i-ELOOP is to make its debut in Mazda’s Takeri concept car at the 42nd Tokyo Motor Show and will then appear in production models in 2012.