Mazda Shuns Batteries for Capacitors, Still Makes Zoom Noises

By Matthew Askari | November 29, 2011
Mazda has long history of doing things its own way, from its use of the rotary engine to augmenting traditional Japanese economy cars with a dose of fun and its trademark Zoom Zoom. No surprise then that Mazda is employing regenerative braking—one of the latest in a handful of fuel-saving measures—but it's doing so on its own terms. Regenerative braking is most often seen on hybrids, and harnesses the kinetic energy that would otherwise be lost during deceleration and other times when the car is in motion. Hybrids generally use a an electric motor connected to a battery that stores energy created during driving. However, Mazda favors capacitors. Not only do they offer 80s-era nostalgia—bringing to mind the DeLorean Time Machine Flux Capacitor from the Back to the Future films—but capacitors can charge, store energy, and use that energy more quickly than batteries. They also don't deteriorate over time like batteries do. This means less fuel is needed to create energy to power the electrical parts of cars. To fortify its image, Mazda has even created a name for this system called "Intelligent Energy Loop," or "i-ELOOP," managing to sound technical and futuristic all at once. The Japanese automaker says the new technology can improve fuel efficiency by 10 percent in stop and go city driving situations, all without compromising the the sporty driving dynamics coveted by Mazda drivers. Source: Mazda