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Mazda tests idle-stop in Oz

Green import: Mazda has imported an Axela (Mazda3) from Japan fitted with i-stop technology for testing in Australian conditions.

Idle-stop technology set for Australia from 2011

Mazda logo13 Dec 2010


MAZDA has begun testing its idle-stop technology in Australia with a view to introducing it here next year.

GoAuto expects the system will be introduced in the Mazda2 as part of the company’s ‘SkyActiv’ program, which includes an all-new direct-injection engine and automatic transmission aimed at improving economy by 30 per cent globally by 2015.

Idle-stop cuts the engine when the car comes to a stop, then restarts it automatically when the brake is released.

The first car equipped with the system – which Mazda calls i-stop – has arrived in Australia and is being tested to ensure it “delivers on its promise of fuel saving without sacrificing driving fun”.

Mazda Australia marketing manager Alastair Doak said an engineering team from Mazda’s head office in Hiroshima is working closely with Mazda Australia to ensure the technology is compatible with local fuel quality and climate conditions, and meets the high standards of Australian drivers.

 center imageFrom top: Mazda Demio (Mazda2), Mazda i-stop engine, Mazda i-stop dashboard display.

“The real-world fuel savings that i-stop brings has helped it to become firmly established in both Europe and Japan,” said Mr Doak. “And, with much of Australian driving taking place in suburban environments, i-stop will bring significant real-world fuel savings to Australian Mazda customers from next year.”

Mazda claims its system restarts the engine twice as fast as most other idle-stop systems at just 0.35 seconds because it has been designed for use with direct injection engines and uses combustion energy to restart.

When the vehicle first comes to a standstill, the engine’s control module does not cut off the engine until the pistons are in the optimum position for restart.

As the driver lifts the brake pedal to continue driving, fuel is injected directly into the cylinder, atomised, then ignited, forcing the piston down. At the same time, the starter motor applies a small amount of additional momentum to the crankshaft, which Mazda claims results in an extremely quick and refined restart of the engine.

Mazda will introduce SkyActiv in Japan in the first half of 2011 in the Mazda2 (Demio in Japan) with a high-compression 1.3-litre engine, but we expect the Australian model to come with a 1.5-litre version.

SkyActiv technology is also expected be applied to the upgraded Mazda3 range due here next year.

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