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April 6, 2020

How A 0.01 Second Difference Resulted in One of the Mazda CX-30's Little Known Trademark Features

One of the more intriguing, but often unmentioned detail in the Mazda CX-30’s design has to do with its turn signal lights. Just as Mazda focused their attention on something as small as car keys, wipers, and doors—starting with their newest model, they’ve done so as well with the blinkers.

LEDs are becoming the norm on modern cars, simply because of their visibility benefits. Unlike halogen bulbs that gradually increase in brightness when turned on and gradually lose brightness when turned off, LEDs instantly emit light when an electrical current is applied, and reach its peak brightness almost instantaneously. Furthermore, they instantly go out when turned off.

Unfortunately, Mazda sees this “0 or 1” operation as something cold—not fitting with their cars which are supposed to be emotional and evocative. With that, they decided early on in the CX-30’s development that they wanted signal lights that flashed and disappeared like a heartbeat—inspired largely by their very own instrument cluster. This gives it a sense of warm and a sense of life, according to the carmaker.

Working with all the necessary laws and regulations worldwide, their designers and engineers worked with supplier Stanley Electric to make this a reality. The resulting CX-30 signal lights turn on instantaneously like regular LEDs, but gradually dim 0.01 seconds after reaching peak brightness. This gives it a “lingering” effect, resulting in the heartbeat effect that Mazda wanted.

Aside from serving an aesthetic role in the CX-30, these dimming signal lights or heartbeat signal lights are also supposed to make it easier for people looking from the outside to understand the CX-30 driver’s intentions. This, in turn, eases the driver’s tension.

Have you noticed this remarkable little detail in the CX-30? You can see the difference for yourself in this short video below.

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