Mazda's Smart Idle Stop System (SISS) astounds engineers by throwing out the starter motor. In concert with Mazda's Direct Injection Spark Ignition (DISI) technology, and some brainiac engine management and sensing technology, Mazda engineers seem to have rendereed Charles Kettering's solution to the hand-crank obsolete.
When the driver of a SISS-equipped Mazda comes to a halt, the engine shuts itself down while arranging pistons strategically within their four cycles. When said driver asks for acceleration again, direct injectors, spark plugs, and perfectly-placed-pistons (wow, this alliteration is fun) get things firing again, with no need for any of that annoying grinding away at the flywheel. Mazda claims the system is both quicker to react (starting in 0.35 seconds) than a traditional starter and improves fuel economy in urban stop-and-go driving by a significant 10 percent. Mazda plans to introduce this feature sometime in the 2009 model year. We're not sure which vehicle will get it first, but the 2009 Mazda6 shown here seems like a very likely candidate.
Like Apple stock shares, direction injection's dividends just keep rolling in. Budding car enthusiasts are already inquiring, "Daddy, what's a carburetor for?"--Colin Mathews