Idle stop systems save fuel by shutting down a vehicle’s engine automatically when the car is stationary and restarting it when the driver resumes driving. Especially in urban areas, drivers often let their car’s engine idle at traffic lights or when stopped in traffic jams. Switching off the engine to stop it idling in these situations enhances fuel economy by about 10% under Japan’s 10-15 mode tests.
Conventional idling stop systems restart a vehicle’s engine with an electric motor using exactly the same process as when the engine is started normally. Mazda’s ”i-stop”, on the other hand, restarts the engine through combustion. Mazda’s system initiates engine restart by injecting fuel directly into a cylinder while the engine is stopped, and igniting it to generate downward piston force. This system not only saves fuel, but also restarts the engine more quickly and quietly than a conventional idle-stop system.
Piston stop position control and combustion restart technology
In order to restart the engine by combustion, it’s vital for the compression-stroke pistons and expansion-stroke pistons to be stopped at exactly the correct positions to create the right balance of air volumes. Consequently, Mazda’s ”i-stop” effects precise control over the piston positions during engine shutdown. With all the pistons stopped in their optimum position, the system restarts the engine by identifying the initial cylinder to fire, injecting fuel into it, and then igniting it. Even at extremely low rpm, cylinders are continuously selected for ignition, and the engine quickly picks up to idle speed.
Thanks to these technologies, the engine will restart with exactly the same timing every time and will return to idle speed in just 0.35 seconds, roughly half the time of a conventional electric motor idling stop system. As a result, drivers will feel no delay when resuming their drive. With the ”i-stop”, Mazda can offer a comfortable and stress-free ride as well as better fuel economy.