Hiroshima, Japan – Mazda’s unique idling stop system, available on models in Europe and Japan, has won the 2009 Technology of the Year award from the Researchers’ and Journalists’ Conference of Japan.

The system, called i-stop, is fitted to direct-injection engines and uses combustion energy to restart the engine in 0.35 seconds, about half the time necessary for most other competing systems. The i-stop system also suppresses noise and vibration when the engine shuts down and restarts for added driver comfort.

Mazda introduced the i-stop on the all-new Mazda3, which was launched in Europe and Japan in June 2009. The new model offers approximately 15 per cent improved fuel economy when compared to the previous model under Japan’s test cycle. The models also qualify for Japan’s eco-car incentive program, as well as tax reductions of 75 per cent under the government’s eco-car tax reduction program. Almost half of the total Mazda3 sales volume in Japan to date has been i-stop models.

“Mazda’s i-stop system is one of the green technologies that form the base of our future product strategy,” said Seita Kanai, senior managing executive officer of Mazda R&D. “It improves fuel economy without adversely affecting driving performance. In this way, we believe i-stop perfectly reflects Mazda’s commitment to provide our customers with driving pleasure as well as superb environmental and safety performance. We are honoured to receive this award. In recognizing our environmental efforts, this prize holds a special significance for Mazda.”

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