Mazda has announced some changes for its 2020 Mazda MX-5, though for now these apply strictly to the European version of the roadster. We’ll learn later on if the North American edition gets the same updates.
For now, though, the most notable change involves the inclusion of an electronic generative braking system; it will be offered as standard equipment on all versions sold in Europe.
The system, known as i-ELOOP, is not new, but it’s the first it’s being used with this model. It works by converting the kinetic energy creating when braking into electricity, and it means that instead of losing the heat produced when the brakes are applied, the vehicle uses that heat to feed the vehicle’s electrical systems.
As a result the alternator doesn’t have to work as hard to supply enough energy to keep those systems going. According to Mazda, the system should produce a 5% improvement in efficiency. To be clear, this is not part of a hybrid-powertrain system; i-ELOOP has no bearing on power or output.
What’s also not known at this point is if the added weight of the system has any effect on the car’s on-road behaviour. Knowing the company’s philosophy in regards to the MX-5, we doubt Mazda would have allowed in any new entity that would be noticeable to those behind the wheel.
As mentioned, we’ll have to wait and see if the system will be included in North American editions of the model. The latest round of updates also includes the addition of a stop/start function.