Suzuki’s new Wagon R boasts better fuel-savings tech

Kyodo

Suzuki Motor Corp. said it has improved the fuel economy of its soon to be released Wagon R minivehicle by 22 percent with the aid of new technologies.

Combined with a lighter body and improved idle-stop functions, the new Wagon R achieves a fuel economy of 28.8 km per liter, up from the current model’s 23.6 km, Suzuki said Thursday. The new version will hit the market in September.

The Wagon R — the automaker’s best-selling model — comes equipped with the latest technologies, including the Ene-Charge system for charging batteries by harnessing power during deceleration and the Eco-Cool air conditioner, which can function even when the engine is in idle.

In addition to a conventional lead battery, the Ene-Charge system uses a compact lithium-ion cell to quickly store electricity generated by a new and powerful alternator that operates the vehicle’s electric components.

The Eco-Cool system keeps cool air flowing even when the car is idling by using a type of cooling storage device included in the air conditioner unit to chill air.

Both systems reduce the load on the engine and limit the vehicle’s fuel use, Suzuki said.

“We hope to use (the technologies) in compact cars and in overseas regions,” Executive Vice President Osamu Honda said.

MMC Gallant glitch

Mitsubishi Motors Corp. said Thursday it will recall a combined 11,692 Gallants, RVR sport utility vehicles and Delica minivans to fix the computer program that controls their braking.

The automaker said it will update the program governing the engine control unit to alleviate a problem in vehicles made between Oct. 3, 2011, and Monday.

The Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry said the brakes in the suspect models may stop working properly when drivers take their foot off the accelerator pedal while in forward or reverse while the air conditioner is on.

A total of 82 complaints about the braking problem have been received since June, including ones saying the accelerator pedal began to require greater force to push down, it said, adding no accidents have been reported.

Isuzu hybrid bus

Isuzu Motors Ltd. on Thursday released the Erga, a fixed-route bus with a hybrid propulsion system that combines a diesel engine and a motor to make fuel efficiency 16 percent better than existing diesel buses.

The bus, fitted with a 7,790cc engine and lithium-ion battery module, draws energy from the motor whenever it starts moving.

Isuzu said the technology is “suitable for fixed-route buses that have to start moving and come to a standstill repeatedly.”

Isuzu hopes to yearly sell 100 Erga units at ¥30,448,950 apiece.