Even though Mazda is working on an electric vehicle a la Chevy's Volt, if the barrage of e-mails in our inbox is any indicator, its engineers have been hard at work developing other green tech,too. Green tech such as a spin on start-stop engine tech, a new clean diesel, and a new plastic-molding technology that will make the manufacturing of vehicles greener.
First up is Mazda's new Smart Idle Stop System (SISS), which at first seems like the same system everyone else is already using that stops the engine at idle. Looking deeper into Mazda's specs, we see that the SISS system uses direct injection and a system that stops the pistons in the exact right place to restart the engine using combustion, rather than the electric starter that most start-stop systems use. According to Mazda's engineers, this means faster, smoother restarts and a less intrusive system. If it works as advertised, the system should improve fuel economy by about 10 percent in urban areas with heavy traffic.
Mazda's new MZR-CD 2.2 clean diesel engine is essentially an update of its current MZR-CD 2.0-liter diesel. The claimed 182-horsepower output by the new turbo diesel engine isn't much to write home about, but the 295 pound-feet of torque and 42 mpg are pretty impressive. Incremental power gains with a boost in displacement are to be expected, but the most interesting feature about the new diesel engine is the newly developed diesel particulate filter (DPF) that uses a catalyst-activation mechanism to remove soot from the exhaust gases 60 percent faster than current systems. Faster scrubbing of the exhaust improves the overall fuel economy and CO2 emissions.
An improvement in plastic-molding techniques reduces the amount of resin needed to make parts by 30 percent, while maintaining strength and rigidity. This last tidbit from Mazda is a bit of a snore, until it was pointed out that less material means less weight. Less weight means lighter, faster, livelier cars. We just can't say no to faster cars.