i-ELOOP, or intelligent Energy Loop, is the name Mazda has given to its own brake energy regeneration. What it does, in general, is save the ‘free’ engine power under braking or when running on a trailing throttle, which is otherwise wasted. Here’s a brief explanation of i-ELOOP works in the new Mazda6, the first production model to equipped with this system.
What sets Mazda’s regenerative brakes system apart from others is that it uses a capacitor to store that captured kinetic energy in form of electricity. It is then used to recharge batteries in electric and hybrid cars, for example, or to power the on-board electrical network and save engine power and therefore save fuel.
Mazda has developed an electric double-layer capacitor (EDLC), which recharges fully in only a few seconds. An efficient 12V-25V variable voltage alternator generates the electricity and charges the EDLC; a DC/DC converter then steps down the voltage to power electrical components such as the climate control air-conditioning and audio systems, with any surplus going to the starter battery.
i-ELOOP works in tandem with the i-Stop. During stop-and-go city driving, charging often resumes before the capacitor is fully discharged. i-ELOOP can therefore produce most if not all of a vehicle’s electricity needs. More fuel is saved by freeing up the engine from powering the alternator.
“The i-ELOOP capacitor is a unique solution to the challenge of how to harvest free engine power,” explains Mazda Motors UK Managing Director Jeremy Thomson.
“One of the benefits of energy recovering systems is that they allow ancillary systems such as air-conditioning to be used without drivers having to worry about the detrimental effect on fuel consumption,” Thomson added. “i-ELOOP is launched as part of Mazda’s ‘building block’ strategy, a step-by-step introduction of auxiliary electrical systems to SKYACTIV technology, allowing new breakthrough initiatives to be added as and when they are ready.”