Honda Increasing Insight Hybrid Availability By More Than 50 Percent

1/3/2001 6:17:31 AM

Honda will increase the availability of the Insight gasoline-electric hybrid car -- the first and only hybrid car sold in America -- by more than 50 percent to about 6,500 vehicles in the 2000 calendar year, American Honda Motor Company, Inc., announced today The Insight is the most fuel-efficient vehicle sold in America with EPA mileage ratings of 61 mpg city and 70 mpg highway. In addition to its world's best gasoline fuel economy ratings, the Insight also meets California's stringent Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV) standards. The Insight went on sale in late December with a sales target of 4,000 vehicles for the 2000 calendar year. Initial demand, sparked by interest in the advanced hybrid technology and the Insight's high fuel efficiency, has created waiting lists for the sleek two-seat coupe. "Consumer interest and demand has far exceeded our expectations," said Tom Elliott, American Honda executive vice president. "Some buyers want to be the first on their block with the new hybrid technology. Others are looking to improve their fuel economy and make an positive impact on environment." The Insight has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Sierra Club's first-ever award for Excellence in Environmental Engineering and Automobile Magazine's "Technology of the Year" award. "The Insight is an example of Honda's long-standing commitment to bringing advanced environmental technology to the marketplace," Elliott said. "Consumer reaction to the Insight and its hybrid powertrain is an indication of their acceptance of this technology." The heart of the Insight's technology showcase is the Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) system featuring a fuel-efficient 3-cylinder, 1-liter engine that combines with a powerful, ultra-thin electric motor for added performance when needed. The electric motor is powered by advanced nickel-metal hydride battery pack. The IMA system also automatically recharges the battery pack, using energy generated during braking. As a result, the Insight does not require an outside source for recharging and never needs to be plugged in.