Mazda Testing SkyActiv in Australia

Mazda has commenced testing its idle-stop fuel saving technology in Australia, planning on introducing it there in 2011. The system could become part of the company's SkyActiv program, which includes a new direct injection engine and automatic transmission, intended to reduce fuel consumption by 30 percent globally by 2015.

Idle-stop automatically shuts down the engine when the car comes to a halt and restarts it when the brake is released. Mazda has just imported the Axela (Mazda3) from Japan, fitted with i-stop technology, for testing in Australian conditions to ensure it “delivers on its promise of fuel saving without sacrificing driving fun”. An engineering team from Mazda's headquarters in Hiroshima is working with Mazda Australia to make sure the technology is compatible with local fuel quality and climate conditions, while meeting the high standards of Australian drivers.

The real-world fuel savings that i-stop brings has helped it to become firmly established in both Europe and Japan,” said Alastair Doak, marketing manager, Mazda Australia.

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."

The Japanese manufacturer claims its start-stop technology restarts the engine in half the time needed by most other idle-stop systems at 0.35 seconds, because it doesn't cut off the engine until the pistons are in the optimum position for restart. As the brake pedal is released, fuel is injected directly into the cylinder, vaporized and then ignited, forcing the piston down. The starter motor applies additional torque to the crankshaft, resulting in a quick and refined restart.

Mazda will introduce SkyActiv on the Mazda2 (Demio) in Japan in 2011. The technology will probably find its way to the Mazda3 range later on.
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