I’ve brought up the subject of idling cars a few times before on this blog. Ford says letting your car idle and warm up reduces emissions, while a county in England wants to make it illegal to leave a car idling (except in certain cases). It is a case for contention among environmentalists and automakers, though for sure idling in bumper-to-bumper traffic does nobody any good. Which makes one wonder why we don’t have more instances of stop-start engine technology here in the U.S.
Turns out we might have it fairly soon. Mazda is pledging to bring its stop-start anti-idling technology to all of its cars by 2015… despite EPA regulations that discourage such technology. Aren’t they supposed to be on our side?
As the EPA’s testing cycle involves only one stop, the benefits of stop-start technology are lost on the testing, despite delivering significant gains in the real world. This is why Europe has many models offered with stop-start technology, which is a $500 option on Mazdas. But the EPA testing procedure shows only a 0.1 to 0.2 improvement in mpg, though Mazda’s own tests show an improvement from 7% to 9%. Despite the EPA’s terrible testing, Mazda will bring the technology over as a standard feature in 2015, to help meet new CAFE fuel economy standards. Mazda’s clever system times the restart so that it takes about a third of a second… the only thing you’ll likely notice is the extra fuel in your tank!
Rather than concentrating on hybrids or electric vehicles, Mazda is betting a lot of money that the future is in hydrogen… but in the meantime, it’s improving the internal combustion engine. Direct injection, lighter weight, and improved gas efficiency is the name of Mazda’s game. But will it pay off?
Source: The Truth About Cars | Image: Mazda