Suzuki debuts 2 fuel-saving technologies
TOKYO -- Suzuki Motor Corp. is rolling out two new fuel-saving technologies that will help it boost the fuel economy of one of Japan's smallest and best-selling passenger cars.
The improvements, which combine regenerative braking and a new air conditioning system, will boost fuel economy by up to 22 percent, the company said in a statement.
The technologies will debut next month in the next-generation Wagon R, a Japan-market minicar that is routinely among the country's 10 best-selling vehicles, sometimes in the No. 1 spot.
The introduction of these systems comes as Suzuki struggles to develop new environment-friendly technologies after the failure of technological tie-ups, first with General Motors and then with Volkswagen AG.
Executive Vice President Osamu Honda told Japanese reporters that Suzuki plans to use the technologies on other models, including some sold overseas, to deliver better fuel efficiency across the lineup. He did not give details.
Suzuki's Ene-Charge regenerative braking system converts kinetic energy during deceleration into electricity that is stored in a lithium ion battery. That electricity is then used to power the vehicle's electric components, relieving the engine of these duties.
Meanwhile, its Eco-Cool air conditioning system keeps cool air flowing even when the car's engine is turned off by the car's stop-start system. It relies on a fan that blows air over a cold sink in the air conditioner's evaporator and into the cabin.
By keeping the cabin cool without needing the engine to trigger the air conditioner, it allows the stop-start period to be twice as long as before, saving fuel.
Suzuki says the technologies will improve the next Wagon R's fuel economy to 28.8 kilometers per liter, or 68 mpg, under Japan's testing standards, which are not comparable to U.S. EPA tests, vs. 56 mpg for the current version.